"Zagórów" - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Poland, Volume I

52°10' / 17°54'

Translation of "Zagórów" chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Polin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem


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Morris Wirth

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This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot Polin:
Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland, Volume I, page 103, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

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{Page 103}

Zagórów (Zagorow)
(Konin District)

Translated by Morris Gradel

Population numbers

1808827 21
1.9.1939(?)ca. 630

Town status was granted to Zagórów(Z) in 1368. Jews began to settle there towards the end of the 18th or the beginning of the 19th century. In this latter century they owned a number of flour mills. Jews were also engaged in leather processing and in trading in agricultural produce, which they bought from the local farmers. Prominent among Jewish craftsmen were hatters, tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, and tinsmiths. In the second half of the 19th century Jews also began to manufacture blanket cloth.

A new synagogue was built in 1882. In 1889 a provident fund was established. Other charity institutions of the period were those of the hostel for the poor, dowry collections for poor brides, and for the upkeep of the eternal lamp in the synagogue.

Before the First World War Zionist groups appeared in Z. A Jewish library was opened in 1915; and in 1917 a local branch of the Zionist federation was established.

Between the two world wars the economic situation of the Jews of Z deteriorated, amongst other factors because of growing competition from the Polish merchants. In the 1920s an association was established to defend the interests of the Jewish craftsmen. Present in Z at the time were the following Zionist factions: General Zionists - (Al Hamishmar), Hamizrachi, organizations of the League for the Workers of the Land of Israel, and the Revisionists. The rabbi of the town in the 1930s was R. Shalom Grodzinski. On February 4th and 5th, 1936, acts of violence against the Jews erupted, and quickly assumed the character of a pogrom. This took place during the annual fair, when some 3,000 local peasants fell upon the Jewish merchants, beat them, and injured six of them. Stalls in the market were overturned, shops burst into, and goods to the value of thousands of zloty were looted or destroyed. In the trial that followed 55 persons were indicted, among them leaders of the local Andaks. The Jews of Z and of Poland as a whole appealed to public opinion, and protest meetings were held in the town and its environs. 1937, however, brought with it further anti-Jewish decrees in Z. The economic boycott instigated by anti-Semitic factions resulted in 15 Jewish businesses closing in that year. Jewish peddlers and merchants, whose main earnings were on market days, were denied permission to erect stalls in the market place.

On September 6th,1939, the town was occupied by the Germans and at once measures against the Jews were instigated: forced labour, confiscation of flats and property, compulsory contributions - and, a few weeks later, orders to wear white armbands. In February 1940 a group of Jews from Z were sent to forced labour in Bochnia. In the spring of that year the Jews were herded into a ghetto, and in June and July were joined by Jews from Konin, Słupca, Ślesin and Golina. At the beginning of 1941 there were some 2,000 Jews in the ghetto, consisting of about 500 from Z, and the rest from the towns mentioned above.

At the end of the summer of 1941 some 450 men were sent to forced labour in the saltmines of Inowrocław, and the despatch of Jews to the labour camps continued until October 1941, when the remaining Jews in the ghetto were taken to the forests near Kazimierz Biskupi and there murdered. Z was then declared “Judenrein” (“Jew-free”).

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