« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »

[Page 26]

A History of the City and the Region (cont.)

The Participation of Jews in the City Council during the Past Hundred Years

YearsNumber of
Jewish Members
of the
City Council
YearsNumber of
Jewish Members
of the
City Council
1900-190218193118 (The city council was disbanded)
1910-19115 (provisional council)19394

san026.jpg [36 KB] - Members of the City Council of Sanok in 1907
Members of the City Council of Sanok in 1907

[Page 27]

Unfortunately, we did not obtain information on the total number of members of the city council during those years from the museum director in Sanok. However, the number of Jews indicates that our role in the city council was quite large, and that it went into decline during the 1930s when anti-Semitic politics began to strengthen in the entire country, reaching even cities such as Sanok with a large Jewish population[26].


The Jewish Community During the Final Two Centuries

We already mentioned that Jewish life in Sanok during the Middle Ages is enveloped in a fog, as we lack access to documents. We will rely here on the books of Professor R. Mahler “Hassidism and Haskalah in Galicia and Congress Poland”, and Dr. N. M. Gelber: “The History of the Zionist Movement in Galicia during the period of 1875-1918”.

The Hassidic movement swept up Galician and Polish Jewry in its stormy waves after the tribulations of Tach ve Tat (1648-1649)[*6]. After the death of the Besht (Baal Shem Tov) and the many divisions among the various streams of the movement, the large waves of the Hassidic movement reached Sanok as well, which became one of the Hassidic centers of Galicia. From the time of the final partition of Poland when virtually all of Galicia was annexed to Austria, the Austrian government expressed simultaneous attitudes of tolerance and Germanization. There was no heavy-handed involvement with the internal life of the Jewish community. However they preferred German over all other languages and looked favorably upon German culture, despite the absence of outside pressure.

During the first half of the 19th century, the Hassidic movement ruled over most of the communities of Galicia, however their Maskilim opponents did not sit with folded arms. On the one hand, they turned to the Jewish youth and the intelligentsia to set up a dam in the wake of the spreading of Hassidism in the Jewish street. On the other hand, they set up a partition against the assimilationists who at the time were only interested in personal objectives and did not give any thought to the needs of the nation. From here we can see that the influence of the assimilationists was not particularly strong. On the other hand, the conflict between the two main streams, Hassidism and the Haskalah, was very bitter with respect to hegemony over the Jewish street.

From a police account signed by the police inspector general Sacher, written in Tarnopol on 13 1838[27] [*7], we learn that “Srulche”, the nickname for Reb Yisrael Szolimowicz Freidman, the father of the Ruzhin Hasidic dynasty who was considered to be a Rebbe with particularly great influence in Russia during the first half of the 19th century, broadened his influence from time to time in Galicia as well. As a result of pressure from the Maskilim, the Russian government forbade the Tzadik of Ruzhin to travel among cities with Jewish communities to raise money. He registered in the Merchants' Guild, and therefore it was impossible to prevent him from traveling. He arrived in the outlying cities in Russia and Galicia and collected money for the benefit of the Hassidic movement. The Rebbe “Hirsch Mesharet” the Tzadik of Rymanow, also benefited from a great deal of financial support from Sanok. Sacher, the police inspector of Tarnopol, turned the attention of the regional governors to the dangerous phenomenon of significant sums of money leaving the borders of Austria (Galicia) and transferring to a foreign country (Russia). From here we learn that the influence of Hassidism (in our case, the influence of the court of the Rebbe of Ruzhin) was deeply rooted in Sanok and its region. Not only did Hassidism imprint its stamp on the city of Sanok but new winds began to blow in Jewish Galicia with the influence of the Haskalah conquering the hearts of Jews in capitals and metropolises like Vienna,

[Page 28]

as well as in large cities of Galicia itself such as Krakow, Lwow, Brody and others. Sanok was one of the cities that received its strong influence.

From their side, the Maskilim prepared the ground for the spreading of the Zionist idea in practical ways even before the appearance of Dr. Herzl. They preached to Jews to revive the Hebrew language, to abandon the “livelihood built on air” and to begin working the land in their own locales.

Dr. Gelber points out that the Zionists demanded appropriate representation in the federal parliament in Vienna based on the strength of the fact that they were the majority or close to the majority in most of their areas of residence. Sanok is mentioned in the Zionist annals from 1893 as a city where the Jews make up 41% of the population[28]. In his letter to Dr. Ehrenpreis in Berlin, Avraham Kurkis, one of the leaders of the Zionists in Lwow, notes that in 1893-1894, 41 Zionist organizations exist in 34 settlements in Vienna, including in Sanok where the Yeshurun Zionist organization exists[29].

In the Przyszlosc Zionist newspaper published in Lwow, issue number 2 from 1894, page 259, it is stated that: “Through the efforts of the student Shlomo Romer and Berel Fink, the Yeshurun Zionist organization was founded in 1894. It has 110 members. In the general meeting held on December 12, 1894, Dr. P. Herzig was elected as president, Dr. Yaakov Enderman as vice president, Dr. Sh. Oberlander as the Polish secretary, Berl Fink as the Hebrew secretary, Leib Kolber as treasurer, and Melech Rozenblit as librarian. Members of the committee are: Naftali Romer, Emanuel Herzig, and Alter Amnet. The Yehudit Women's Zionist organization was also founded.”[30].

san028.jpg [32 KB] - The city council building (Magistrat) in the Rynek Square
The city council building (Magistrat) in the Rynek Square

In 1905, during a consultation of the Zionist union in Lwow, it was decided to establish a separate national Zionist organization independent of Vienna. There were 32 Zionist organizations in 18 cities of western Galicia, including

[Page 29]

Sanok, with its Mizrachi Zion organization. In 1909, the Safa Berura Jewish School was founded, with the teacher Tzvi Abt serving as principal. 77 students studied there in 1911. In 1911, Dr. Goldberg, the Zionist candidate from Sanok during the elections to the parliament of Vienna, won 1,721 votes[31]. He also represented Galicia at the fourth and sixth Zionist congresses.

san029.jpg [35 KB] - The Zionist Organization of Sanok, 5685, 1925
The Zionist Organization of Sanok, 5685, 1925

Standing (right to left): Yitzchok Hirschfeld, Shalom Sprung, Avraham Feibusch, Menachem
Wenig, Chaim Hirsch Wenig, Y. Fritsch, Y. Zilpin, Chaim Mendel (Plontzer), Y. Oling.
Seated in the middle row: ?, Dr. Mattisyahu Weinryb, Dr. Shmuel Ohrenstein, Dr. Yitzchok
Nehmer, L. Kolber, Y. Steinbrecher, Chaim Weiner.
Seated in the front row: Zosia Steinbrecher, Moshe Messer, Isaak Wenig, Yosef
Holloschuetz, Taubenfeld

During this period (1910), the Volksfreund Zionist newspaper was published in Sanok. It was one of the 11 Zionist newspapers published at that time in all of Galicia[32]].

In 1910, the Mizrachi religious Zionist organization was founded in Sanok. In 1912 a Poale Zion organization was founded, and the central party activists visited the city for a publicity gathering[33].

There were 63 delegates from Galicia at the thirteenth Zionist Congress (1913), including one from Sanok. The central electoral committee recommended annulling the results of the elections in Sanok and Skula. The recommendation of the committee was overturned after the speech of Dr. Reich, and the delegates remained in place[34].

[Page 30]

From the aforementioned, it seems that communal life in Sanok was vibrant in almost all of the social streams of the 19th century.

It is therefore no wonder that between the two world wars, the Jews in the city had status in the realms of economic and social development as well as in culture. The nationalist and social idea penetrated deeply into all streams of the city, influenced the communal organizations, and the cultural activities increased and swept up the best of the youth.

The Satanic arm of the Second World War and the Holocaust destroyed, in our city as in all the cities of Poland, the masters of the splendid tradition and the strong edifice that was built layer by layer through the arduous toil of the generations of our fathers and grandparents. The brutal destruction was unmatched in human history.

Jewish Sanok was an unofficial center that imbued the region with its variegated activities. The Jewish community, particularly the youth, had a fine influence as they added a valuable link to the chain of social and national culture of Jewish Galicia.



Dr. N. M. Gelber: The History of the Zionist Movement in Galicia. Published by Hasifria Hatzionit, Reuven Mass, Jerusalem, 1958
Professor R. Mahler: Hassidism and Haskalah. Sifriat Hapoalim, 1961.
Yidishe Schriften: Monthly. Number 11/12. Warsaw, 1961.
Maria I Kazimierz Piecholkowie; Boznice drewniane w Polsce
Biblioteca zakladu im. Ossolinskich we Wroclawin.
Protokol magistratu Sanockiego z lat 1791-1800.
Actum in Contubermo Sanocensis, Feria 5-ta post Dominican Miesercordie Vid. 7 mai 1789.
Nazwiska wypisane z Ksiegi cechu Kusnierskiego w Sanoku z lat 1557-1798.
Wykaz majstrow w Sanoku od r. 1873-1939.
Borzemscki: Archiwa w Sanoku, Jasliskach, Kroliku Worowskim, Htomczy. Tadzinie i Maria i Kazimierz Piechotwie: Boznice drewniae w Polsce Warszawa 1957.
Klinkowle Sanok 1905.
Dr. A Fastnacht: Zarys dziejow Sanoka. Ksiega Pamiatkowa Gimnazjum Meskiego w Sanoku 1888-1958.
Rocznik Sanocki 1963 wyd. Literackie, Krakow 1963.
Wojewodzkie Archiwum w Krakowie Varia t. 82. st 408.
Nazwiska wypisane z ksiegi Cechu Kusnierskiego w Sanoku z lat 1557-1798.
Wykaz Majstrow w Sanoku od r. 1873.
Rekopis 5691/111 Biblioteki Zaktadu Narodowego im. Ossolinskich we Wroctawiu, zawierajacy Protokol Magistratu Sanockiego z 1791-1800.
Wykaz radnych miasta Sanoka obywateli zydowskich z lat 1868-1939 na podstawie zapiskow w 64 ksiegach miejskich znajdujacych sie w Muzeum w Sanoku.
Zydowski Instytut Historyczny – Warszawa


Text Footnotes
  1. Wykas radnych Zydow miasta Sanoka z ksiag protokolow Posiedzen rady miejskiej znajdujacyhch sie w muzeum w Sanoku. return
  2. Professor R. Mahler. Hassidism and Haskalah. Pages 433-435. return
  3. Dr. N. M. Gelber. The History of the Zionist Movement in Galicia. Page 201. return
  4. Ibid. Page 205. return
  5. Ibid. page 268. return
  6. 31. Ibid. Page 774. return
  7. Ibid. Page 514. return
  8. Ibid. Page 596. return
  9. Ibid. Pages 598, 624 return


Translator's Footnotes *6.  The Hebrew acronym for the year of the Chmielnitzki massacres. return
*7.   There is evidently a typographical error in the text here, with the month missing in the date. return

[Page 31]

A Quick Look at the Town

Yisrael Lembach

A wide dirt road from Dombrowska Polska runs through the city to the suburb of Poszdmieszca on the west. The Christian cemetery is on the left side of this road, containing tall trees and surrounded by a wall. On the evening of the Polish-Catholic Memorial day, the area of the cemetery is lit up with thousands of candles, reminiscent of Rome burning during the time of Nero. There are extensive pastures on the right side. Close to them are the large wooden warehouse of Gozyk and the furniture warehouse of Bart. Further on, to the left and the right, on Rymanowska Street, there are large and small residential dwellings, as well as small stores, kiosks and taverns. The continuation of Rymanowska Street is Koszioszki Street.

Opposite stands a one story building which contained the Hebrew school. The street ends with the large Beskid building. In its front were Jewish businesses. To its right are Koszioszki Street and Slowcki Street on which the treasury office and the small Przystank Train Station are located. As we pass the main route, we arrive on May 3rd Street. The central building on that street is Kowski's Pharmacy. Next to it is the stage upon which the representatives of the army and the citizens greet the procession that takes place on the national holidays of Poland on May 3rd and Nov 11th. A short distance from there are Hasenlauf's fine store and a textile business. Next to it is a printing press and the writing implements and paper store of Mr. Menachem Moshel. There are also several stores for iron and metal implements, delicatessens, and lawyer's offices in those houses.

In the center of Jagiellonska Street stands the largest and tallest building in the city, the Weiner Building, which contained the Pasosj Spring. The broad area in front of it was called Weinerowka. This place served as a meeting point for the entire city, sort of a bourse. All sorts of financial transactions between estate owners, Polish landowners and Jewish merchants, meetings between agents, and other such meetings took place there.

From Jagiellonska Street you reach the large square of the Rynek, shaped like a geometrical square, graced on three sides with Jewish houses and stores. The Franciscan Church is on the eastern corner of the Rynek. Next to it is the monastery and behind it is the Magistrate (the city hall).

Next to the city hall building is a small decorative garden, surrounded by an iron fence. A stone statue of Tadeusz Koœciuszkostands stands in its center. From that place, it was possible to get a fine view of the entire surounding area, even out to a distance: the San River, the Olchowka suburb, and the forests that adorn the city. The synagogue and Beis Midrash stood on neighboring Zamkowa Street. There were always Jews sitting and studying Torah in the Beis Midrash. The old building called the fortress stands in this neighborhood, a short distance to the side and on a tall rock the access to which is difficult. In ancient times, this served as a defense point of the city from enemies. This last time this place filled such a task was during the repulsion of the offensive during the time of Napoleon. On one of the ridges of rocks,

[Page 32]

there is a stone upon which several lines are engraved that are dedicated to the last fighter of the year 1809, Ksobri Kosicki and his friends. There is also a museum in the fort building. Cierkiewna and Rybacka Streets continue until the San and the municipal slaughterhouse.

The small market square is located next to the Parafial Church. Cottages, bunks and stalls are located in that square, as well as large stores and businesses owned by Jews and Christians: Schiff, Ginzberg, and others. The Street of the Jews with its dilapidated houses is located in the area behind the square. The bathhouse with its steam vapor is located on the side of this street. The splendid houses of Hauptman, the gymnasium and the post office are located on the left side of the small market square. Opposite this is Adam Mickiewicza Street, with the “Sokol” building that excelled in its anti-Semitic spirit, as well as the splendid municipal gardens named after him. This garden was also called “Opetkorka”, (the Polish word for “of the pharmacy”), named for the pharmacist Zarwic who donated the area of the garden to the city.

Through winding trails one could reach the top of the mountain in the garden, named after Kosciuszko as well as the Chopin well. There is a tablet dedicated to the “centenary” within the walls of the well. From there, the splendid panorama of the San and the northern forests spreads out. When you finally decend to the end of Mickiewicza Street, you pass by the barracks of the Second Brigade of the “Saczelczow Podholnskich” and the “Solidier's House” building. You then arrive at the Wytostowa, and from there, you go to the San. From atop the Kopiec Peak named for Kosciuszko it is possible to see the row of mountains that we used to call Glinici, the brick kiln, and the Jewish cemetery.

Photo page 32: The Kopiec, the summit of the hill in the municipal garden

[Page 33]

The Weiner Building (“Weinerowka”) and its Founders

Zev Tal (Wachtel)

From the landscape of our city, with its main streets, businesses, large fine residential dwellings, wide-branched families intertwined with Jewish communal life, Jewish and Zionist business and social life – it would not be possible to leave out the Weiner house, with all the many and variegated meanings of the word “house”. For we are not speaking here of the Weiner house in its patriarchal sense, as a wide-branched family in Sanok whose influence was noticeable in all areas of Jewish life in the city, but also of this splendid, beautiful large building in the heart of the city that served as the primary artery of life for the Jewish population of Sanok in many significant ways.

A three story house was erected in the main street of Sanok already at the beginning of the 20th century. It was the first in height, beauty and architectural form in the city. This was the Weiner House which entered into the daily language as the Weinerowka throughout the years. The house still stands today on May 3rd Street, named in memory of the constitution which was given to Poland on that day. It is at the corner of Jagiellownska and Koskiusko Streets (see the addendum).

This house and its surrounding area was always bustling with life – business, work and social life.

The builder of this house, Rabbi Mendel Weiner of blessed memory and his wife Gittel were veteran residents of Sanok. He was a successful merchant who earned a good livelihood and established a large family.

Mendel's son Avraham Weiner built his own two story house next to this house. His second son Hirsch Weiner built another large house on Jagiellonska Street. The Cooperative of Ukrainian Farmers was located in that building. Later, the Porec moviehouse and Herzog's store were located in that house, among other things.

Aside from descendents of the Weiner families,, who lived in many of the fine dwellings of that variegated building, other private families whose economic situation allowed them to rent such fine and expensive dwellings also lived there. Private offices of lawyers, doctors, merchants, tradesmen, a wholesale business, a restaurant, and other businesses found their appropriate place there.

On the left side of the main entrace in the broad yard of the house, there was the hall which we used to call the Zion Hall, named for the muncipal chapter of the Zionist organization which was headquartered there. In the last decade before the Holocaust, the Mizrachi, Young Mizrachi, Hashomer Hadati, Bruria, and other organizations were housed there. The large hall served as a synagogue, prayer hall and study place for dozens of residents of the city who lived near this house, as well as a gathering hall for public Zionist meetings and other such activities. Aside from the synagogue in which a large congregation worshiped each morning and evening, there was a lending library for members. The hall was also used for various lectures and festive performances. In the latter years, with the increase in activity of the Zionist organization and the various Zionist factions

[Page 34]

this place became an organizational hub for the activities and organization of the entire Jewish community.

The “Cultura” lending library was located in the yard. It had many borrowers, and contained thousands of books.

Inside the gate of the bulding, in the anteroom of the large courtyard, Mordechai Birnbaum stood with his merchandise. He sold homemade cigarettes, candies and baked goods that were baked by his wife Sima of blessed memory. This place also served as a constant gathering point for no small number of people, including Birnbaum's regular customers who lived in the house or who wished to purchase a snack as they were passing through the Weinerowka. They would eat their snacks while standing there until they finished. In the front area of the large building, there were stores with large windows, just as in big cities.

In the final years prior to the Holocasut, the Weiner house was the center of social activity. Meetings that were called in the city generally took place near the Weinerowka. The Zion hall and the social hall were filled with visitors throughout most of the hours of the afternoon and evening.

Photo page 34: Reb Yitzchok Weiner and his daughter Sara Wachtel

My maternal grandfather Reb Yitzhak Weiner of blessed memory was a wealthy Jew, a quiet philanthropist who supported poor familes with money and advice. Yeshiva students, needy students of the Talmud Torah, and others would eat at his table regularly. In 1934, Reb Yitzchok Weiner of blessed memory donated a Torah to the Great synagogue in memory of his father Reb Mendel. I recall the festive procession as the Torah was being installed in the synagogue. Many familes who had become impoverished due to the general depression received significant loans from him so that they could renew their economic endeavors. My grandfather Reb Yitzhak Weiner would donate generously to the Passover charity fund. On the festival days and Chol Hamoed, his home would be filled with needy people who were invited to the Seder and festive meals.

Reb Yitzhak Weiner's son-in-law, the husband of his daughter Sara of blessed memory, Reb Anschel Wachtel, was my father of blessed memory. He got along well with people and dedicated his free time to communal activities and Zionism. He was active on the Keren HaYesod and Keren Kayemet committee. My father of blessed memory helped anyone who requested assistance in matters between the government authorities and a Jewish citizen. He utilized his acquaintances that he had with Polish officials from his work on the Jewish communal council in order to help those who needed to make requests, appeals, or obtain business permits or other such things.

Arthur (Avraham) Weiner, the son of Reb Yitzchok, was a known personality among the Jewish families in Sanok. He was a dynamic man with great energy, a merchant (the owner of the first benzene pump in Sanok), and a Zionist activist. He was prominent in his activities in the Social Hall, of which he was one of the founders.

Karl Weiner, the son of Reb Hirsch Weiner of blessed memory, was also active in Zionist commitees, the Keren Kayemet, and Keren HaYesod, and was a known personality in the landscape of our city. As was told to me, he was also very active during the time of the German occupation. Before the onset of the Holocaust and the Nazi Amalek, the Weiner family consisted of dozens of souls. From these dozens, only two people people survived aside from those who emigrated prior to 1939 and made aliya to the Land.

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »

This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.

JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.

  Sanok, Poland     Yizkor Book Project     JewishGen Home Page

Yizkor Book Director, Lance Ackerfeld
This web page created by Lance Ackerfeld

Copyright © 1999-2024 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 16 Sep 2009 by MGH