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

52°04' / 18°10'

Translation of "Rychwał" chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Polin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem


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Morris Wirth


Corinne Appleton

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This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot Polin:
Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland, Volume I, page 262, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

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{Page 262}

Rychwał, Poland
(Konin District)

YearTotal populationJews
1764/65 102
1808477 82
1827 655138
1857 628 100
1897 920151

Rychwał (hereafter R), a small town in the province of Konin - the history of the Jewish congregation dates from the 18th century. In 1764, from among 24 heads of families are listed 1 tailor, 1 furrier, 1 educator, and a beadle. During the years 1823-1826 the Russians forbade the Jews to settle in R because of its proximity to the border. The main sources of income of the Jews of R were small-scale commerce and crafts. Jewish merchants sold woven cloth in the immediate area and bought grain, fruit, poultry and leather skins, which they supplied to local town centers. From the end of the 19th century to September 3, 1939, most Jewish craftsmen were tailors, cobblers and barbers. Between the two world wars the Jewish congregation supported a synagogue, a Beth Midrash (Jewish college), as well as many welfare institutions, such as "Charity for the Needy", and "Charity Beds", this charity mainly devoted to helping the poor sick.

With the occupation of the town on September 3,1939 the Jews were ordered to assemble in the town square where the Germans immediately set about cruelly mistreating them. They were forced to stand, their arms held high, without moving, for hours - anyone disobeying the command was badly beaten. They were also forced to pay "contributions", which included a certain amount of gold. On September 12, 1939, all the elderly Jews, tallith covering their shoulders, were gathered together and made to sit on the ground in one of the streets, whereupon the Germans began pulling out their beards. Groups of Jews were daily sent as forced laborers to work for the town, or sometimes taken to work in other, distant places. In the months of November and December 1939, most of the Jews of R were expelled to Grodziec. Groups of young Jews still remained in R, but in September 1940, the last 40 members of the community were sent to the nearby town of Kleczew. In Grodziec, a kind of country ghetto was set up where Jews of K, together with others from the vicinity who had been concentrated there, lived in wretched conditions in Polish farmers' barns. The Poles used them as slave field laborers and slave craftsmen. To overcome their hunger pains they would go out at night in search of food.

In October 1941, all the inmates of the "country ghetto", including those Jews from R, were taken to Grodziec, to the forests near Kazimierz Biskupi and shot to death. It is estimated that about 10 Jews survived the war.

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