“Janow Podlaski ” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Poland, Volume VII

52°12' / 23°13'

Written by Abraham Kleban

Translation of “Janow Podlaski ” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Polin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem


Project Coordinator

Ada Holtzman z”l


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This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot Polin:
Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland, Volume VII, pages 265 - 266, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

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[Pages 265-266]

Janow Podlaski

(Biala Podlaska District, Lublin Region)

Translated by Adv. Meir Garbarz Gover, Savyon Israel

No. of

The village of Janow is first mentioned in the first half of the 15th century, as the property of the bishops of Luck. It begun as a religious center and became a commerce and small industry center for the local villages. In the 1450's Janow received the status of township and the privilege of weekly market days.

There is no information about the origin of Jewish settlement in Janow. In 1704 Bishop Wjkowski demanded local Jews to pay tax and to furnish candles wax.

At that period there were no restrictions on Jews settling in Janow and Jews played an important role in Janow's economic development. Jews could be merchants, could sell liquors, and lease orchards and land.

In the beginning of the 18th century there existed already a synagogue, and Beit Midrash – Jewish Study (it was burned by fire in 1937). In the middle of the 19th century, the community had benevolent associations for mutual aid and welfare. Such was “Bikur Holim” association to visit the sick.

The community kept its traditional religious nature but the young generation developed Zionist secular activity as well.

In 1920 a branch of “Hashomer Hatzair” – (Young Guard) youth movement was established which included around 100 members. In 1927 local branches of “Poaley Zion Smol” – (Workers of Zion Left) and “Poalei Zion Z”S” were erected. In 1933 Poalei Zion Z”S” had 200 local members and Poalei Zion Smol 50 members only.

In 1929 “Hechalutz” – The Pioneer branch was established. In the 30s also branches of “Hamizrachi” and the revisionists were established.

A branch of the non Zionist “Agudath Israel” operated in Janow and in 1932 a branch of “Tzeirei Agudath Israel” (the Young) was established as well. There was an illegal Communist group of youngsters who operated in the underground.

Most of the children studied the traditional Cheder – kindergarten and afterwards studied in Talmud Torah. Evening classes were opened in 1925 by “Hashomer Hatzair”. Some of the Jewish children studied in the General Polish Elementary School. A “Poaley Zion” library operated, containing hundreds of books in Yiddish, Hebrew and Polish.

The 1931 Jewish Committee election results were 8 mandates distributed as follows: 5 mandates of “Agudath Israel”, 3 mandates of the Artisans Workers Union.

The 1934 town's Committee election results were 12 mandates, four of which were Jews, out of which, 3 were “Poaley Zion Left”.

Among the rabbis known to us who served in Janow Podlaski were: R' Aharon Feldman (1892-1919); R' Pinkas Koifman (died in 1933) and his son, Gershon Chanoch Koifman, who was the last rabbi of the community.

Between the two World Wars, the Jews maintained traditional Jewish professions: commerce and artisanship. Up to 1933 Janow was a district town and this strengthened the economic status of the residents. Afterwards its government institutions moved to another place and thus the economic opportunities declined significantly. The situation of the Jews deteriorated like the other residents and they suffered of prolonged economic crises. In view of the economic distress, many Jews, most of them youngsters chose to leave the town.

During World War II

In the middle of September 1939, Janow was occupied by the German Army. Abuse and vandalism to Jewish lives and property started. Many escaped east secretly to Soviet occupied Poland[1]

Very little is known on the situation of the Jews during the Nazi oppression. On 29 August 1942 there were 1,883 Jews in Janow. On 19 September 1942, SD Commandant Glatt ordered the evacuation of the Janow Jews to Biala Podlaska. Before leaving Janow, all the remaining personal valuables were confiscated by Glatt's order. On 23-24 September 1942, the community of Janow Podlaski was liquidated except a small group stayed behind in the slave labor camp in the Wygoda[2] Horse Farm.

In Biala Podlaska the Germans murdered the elderly first, and then the Janow Podlaski Jews were deported together with Biala Podlaska and other small Jewish communities around Biala to the Miedzyrzec Podlaski Ghetto. There, they, together with all other refugees, shared the same fate which befell on that ghetto; almost all of them were exterminated in the Death Camp Treblinka[3].


Translator's footnotes

  1. Most of the escapees crossed the Bug river, which is merely 4 KM NE of Janow. Return
  2. Wygoda, coordinates are 5212 2314, 2 KM NE of Janow Podlaski. Return
  3. More information about the Holocaust in Janow Podlaski is available from the translator, Adv. Meir Garbarz Gover. Return

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