“Chodecz” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Poland, Volume IV
(Poland)

52°24' / 19°02'

Translation of “Chodecz” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Polin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem


Acknowledgments

Project Coordinator

Leon Zamosc

 

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

This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot Polin:
Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland, Volume IV, pages 225-226, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem


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[Pages 225-226]

Chodecz

(Chodecz, Poland)

(District: Wloclawek; Province: Warsaw)

Translated by Leon Zamosc

 

Year Total
population
Jews
1808 282 33
1827 818 258
1857 938 450
1861 1,632 487
1897 (?) 435
1921 1,685 459

 

Chodecz was first mentioned in the 14th century. It was then owned by the nobles of the Kratkowski family. In 1442, King Wladyslaw Warnenczyk granted Chodecz city status. The settlement developed into a center of trade and crafts for the agricultural environment and held a weekly market day and two annual fairs. In 1512 and 1563, King Zygmunt August reaffirmed Chodecz' rights as an urban settlement. In 1807 the town was included in the Duchy of Warsaw and from 1815 until the First World War it was part of the Congress Kingdom of Poland. During World War I, Chodecz was occupied by German army units, which held it from 1915 until their withdrawal in 1918.

We do not have accurate information about the beginnings of the Jewish settlement in Chodecz. The first Jews settled there probably in the first half of the 19th century. They made a living from petty trade and handicrafts. The craftsmen were mostly engaged in tailoring and shoemaking. In the middle of the 19th century, a wooden synagogue was built in the town. Traditional societies operated in the community, including the Chevra Kadisha and the Hospitality House for visitors.

In the period between the two world wars, the Jews of Chodecz continued to make a living from petty trade and handicrafts. In 1928, a Gemilat Hesed fund was established to provide small interest-free loans to shopkeepers and needy craftsmen. The fund's basic capital in that year was 1,600 zlotys. In 1929 the fund awarded 193 loans for a total of 16,500 zlotys.

Chodecz had active branches of the Zionist organizations Hitachdut, General Zionists and Mizrachi. Among the non-Zionist parties, there was a branch of Agudat Israel. In the municipal council elections held in 1928, one Jew was elected. The elections to the Jewish Community Council, held in 1936, counted with the participation of 110 voters out of 118 eligible voters. The Zionist list won 4 seats and Agudat Israel also got 4 seats. Between the two world wars, Rabbi Poznanski served as a rabbi of the community.

The Jewish children attended the traditional Heders and the municipal Polish school. At the initiative of the youth, a library was established in Chodecz with several hundred books. The library, which was used as a meeting place for the youth, offered courses in literature and drama and evening classes in Hebrew.

 

During World War II

The German army occupied Chodecz in early September 1939. As in other towns, the Germans press-ganged the Jews for forced labor, plundered their property and set the synagogue on fire. Some youngsters left their homes and fled east to the area of Poland controlled by the Soviet Union, but many of them were killed on the roads. The Jews of Chodecz were required to wear the yellow badge and report for forced labor every day. In 1940, almost all the men were sent to forced labor camps in the Poznan area. Most of them perished there from starvation and disease. At the end of September 1941, the Germans deported the remaining women, children and the elderly to Lodz, where most of them also succumbed to starvation and disease.

 


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