“Borowa” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Poland, Volume III

50°23' / 21°22'

Translation of “Borowa” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Polin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem


Project Coordinator

Lancy Spalter

Translated and submitted to the Yizkor Book Project by Lancy Spalter
for the Kolbuszowa Region Research Group (KRRG)

Our sincere appreciation to Yad Vashem for permission
to put this material on the JewishGen web site.

This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland,
Volume III, page 71, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

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(page 71)


(Powiat of Mielec, province Krakow)

Translated by Larry Spalter

Borowa was a village with the status of urban center (gmina) between the two world wars. A document dating back to 1404 gives evidence of the existence of Borowa. In 1921 it had a total of 1,256 inhabitants, 186 of whom were Jews. The Christian population dealt in farming, whereas the local Jews made a living from small trade and peddling in the area villages. Some Jewish families owned farming lands or orchards.

The Jews of Borowa were subject to the community of Radomysl Wielki, to which they paid taxes. In Radomysl Wielki they registered their vital records (marriages, births, etc.) and in its cemetery they buried their dead. But in religious and ritual matters, and rabbinical sentences, the Jews of Borowa were subject to the Rabbi who sat in Mielec. During the inter-war period, the Jews of Borowa had their own Rabbi, but he resided in Mielec. The name of the Rabbi was Rabbi Elazar ben Rabbi Naftali Rufshitz (he perished in the Holocaust). There were two prayer houses in Borowa, a ritual bath and a Shochet Uvodek [1] , who also decided matters of Kashrut [2] . This official also served the surrounding villages, among them Czermin, in which 80 Jews lived. In November of 1918, the peasants of the area tried to persecute the Jews of Borowa, but the self-defense force organized by the Jews succeeded in  holding  them back. No harm to people or property was registered.

After the wave of violence inflicted on the Jews of Western Galicia at the end of 1918, a Zionist organization was created in Borowa together with a library that bore the name “Tikvat Israel”. This library served as a small cultural center for the Jewish youth of Borowa and of nearby towns, mainly the youth of Czermin. Next to the library, evening Hebrew classes and a drama circle were held. The library hall housed lectures and parties. The “Akiva” youth movement was established in Borowa in 1932, and was the only Zionist movement in Borowa until the outbreak of WWII. The Zionists of Borowa collected dues for the Zionist Federation, also from the Jews of the other villages, and the latter voted in Borowa to the elections of the Zionist congresses.

There were 90 voters for the 1923 Zionist Congress elections; and only 28 in 1935 – 25 voted for the Zionim Klali'im and 3 for the Working Eretz Israel party.

The German occupation brought immediate restrictions of movement outside town, which impeded the communication between the Borowa Jews and the larger communities of Mielec and Radomysl Wielki, with which the Borowa Jews had trade connections, and in which their relatives lived. Disconnected, the sources of income – trade and peddling – suffered.

In October of 1939 the Jews were ordered to wear a white band with a Star of David on their sleeves, and to do forced labor. The families that lived from agriculture continued to to run their farms but the Germans imposed quotas of agricultural produce that had to be submitted to them. In 1941, the tools and animals of the Borowa Jews were taken from them, and in early 1942 they were evicted from their lands. With the worsening of their situation, several families moved to live with relatives in the larger neighboring towns.

In early July 1942, all the Borowa Jews were expelled to Radomysl Wielki and were victims of the aktsia that took place there on July 19, 1942. The Jews that survived the aktsia were deported, together with the Jews of Radomysl Wielki, to Dembica and shared the same fate.

Translator's footnotes

1. Ritual slaughterer and overseer of compliance with precepts, who served as religious leader in small communities, in the absence of a Rabbi. Back

2. Religious code of food precepts. Back

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