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

52°10' / 17°42'

Translation of "Pyzdry" 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, pages 202-203, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

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{Page 202}

(Konin District)

Translated by Morris Gradel

Population numbers

1.9.1939(?)ca. 500

Pyzdry is one of the oldest towns in the District of Konin. In 1247 it was granted the status of a town, and was an important commercial centre. In the 15th and 16th centuries its position deteriorated. Pyzdry lost its urban status in 1870, but regained it in 1919.

The presence of Jews in Pyzdry is recorded as early as 1387. R. Israel Isserlin (1400-1470) refers to the community in his book “Trumot Deshen” . The leaders of the community played an important role in the Council of the Four Lands. In the 17th and 18th centuries the Jews lived in a special quarter with a number of streets. They were active in the economic life of the town and were among those establishing flour mills, leather processing plants, and weaving mills. In 1764 there were the following Jewish craftsmen in Pyzdry: 29 tailors, four furriers, five butchers, three barbers, and a baker. A number of Jews earned their living in this period as carters. In the 19th century Jewish commercial activity increased, but in the 20th the economic situation deteriorated and the Jewish population decreased.

Even before the middle of the 18th century the community ran its own institutions: a synagogue, a Bet Midrash, and a cemetery. In 1782 the rabbi of the community was R. Rafael, author of “Or Leyesharim” . In 1795 the post was occupied by R. Nachman of Amsterdam; in the beginning of the 1870s by R. Ber Leventhal; and he was followed in 1877 by R. Mordechai David. R. Chaim Zvi Kantor was appointed rabbi of Pyzdry in 1905 and continued to officiate in both world wars.

The economic regression of the Jewish community of Pyzdry continued between the two world wars. Among the reasons for this were the intrigues of the local anti-Semites, and the opening of a number of competing Polish-owned shops. These tendencies increased in the 1930s. In 1936 the Andaks murdered the owner (Marcus Nelken) of a Jewish farm near Pyzdry. In spite of the general situation, however, the public and political life of the Jews went on, with active groups of Zionists and Agudat Israel. In the community elections of 1931 the Zionists, Agudat Israel, and the Non-Party candidates each won two seats.

After the conquest of the town by the Germans in the first half of September 1939 the Jews were subjected to all the edicts then propagated by the Nazi authorities at the time: restriction of movement, confiscation of property, fines, and forced labour. The Judenrat, formed at the end of 1939, drew up, at the behest of the Germans, a list of all members of the community, and was ordered to supply labor quotas for road paving, bridge repairs, farmwork, etc. Until the middle of 1940 the Jews remained in the local ghetto, but on July 17th-18th they were deported to the villages of Rzgów and Grodziec and the town of Zagórów, and their fate was that of all the Jews in the Konin area.

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