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Wengrow, one of the most ancient communities in the country of Poland, was, according to the story, about 800 years old at its destruction. As in each community, [1] it had both periods of prosperity, and times of hardship. The dynastic history is one of the most honorable in greater Poland: in her Rabbis, her Judges, her participation in the committee of 4 countries, her Chassidim, Parties, important people and the plain inhabitants which were most of her people.  Legend states, that Reb Yehuda Ha'Chassid and his followers were there, before they went up to Eretz-Yisrael, they learned in its ancient Beis-Midrash and went to the Mikvah in its basement. There were many other Betei-Midrash, and Synagogues, built with thick walls, and seen in the distance were the Ten Commandments on the front of the building; on the internal walls were pictures which were the work of much thought, and rare sculptures.  The Admor of Kaloshin put into it his soul, and many Chassidim came from the local area, and from far away.

The Historians claim that Wengrow was founded in 1414, and what was before its foundation is hidden in fog. In the 15th century, people arrived from Western Poland, looking for a place to live in the East; in those days it was a point of Eastern light on a border of silence, bordering Lithuania.  Afterwards the city was attached to the Duchy of Mazovia. Through the market place there were two main roads, one from Lithuania to Warsaw, and the other, from Dagnansak to Lokov. On the roads there were still wild animals, and they were considered unsafe, and having Wengrow on the main roadway, and the river route, on the right bank of the river Livietz  was very good.  In the middle of the 16th century there was a published document connected to the Religious Reformation which was then sweeping Poland; in 1570 a printing house was established (which didn't exist for very long) and a school which was famous throughout Poland.

It is accepted among the natives of the city, that close to the holocaust there were 8000 people living there, and at the height of the German conquest the population doubled (as full as  it was, it was warmly hospitable to refugees from Wishfkov, Poltosek, Tishnitz, Makov, and others who were forced into Wengrow) According to the older books that we have, there were some 1430-1580 residents (approx. 286 families) in 1840 - 3902 residents (of them 2130 Jews)  in 1921 9416 residents, (of them 5100 Jews)

As far as the socio-economic status, the city had a working class, people who lived by the sweat of their brows,  and only a few merchants.  In general, it was known for its knitting, (done at home by women and girls) and its Torah Scroll writers (sofrei-stam) and those who made boxes for Tefillin. The political activities of all the parties (each party that existed in the Jewish world was represented there, in large or small numbers) and Zionist youth movements put their stamp on the residents, in addition to  activists who worked for labor unions and all the political arguments found their way into the clubs of the Chassidim, and the  Jewish "hat" wearers. The public struggle  was active and temperamental, in internal elections for the city and the community, and in elections for the Zionist Conference, Activities in Eretz Yisrael and so forth. The town's character  as though it belonged to an earlier generation, and the Jewish charm were found on Shabbatot and Jewish holidays, which were accepted while it was still daytime, and the religious flavor predominated. The Shabbat candles gave light and happiness and the songs of Shabbat gave a sweetness to the heart. In fact, from the holiness of the day they drew the strength and faith to survive the difficulties of the gray and depressing everyday life.

Wengrow was one of the last cities in Poland to fall to the Nazi beast. While it was still sitting calmly, before the first world war and after it, many of its children left, some to Eretz Yisrael as Chalutzim, some to Argentina and the US, and other places. These small groups kept their love for their old home, and remained in contact with its residents, and in the terrible time they were the core which accepted the survivors, who arrived by way of Siberia, Persia, the Camps, freed Poland.  The refugees found help and assistance, they told the story of the horrors they'd survived, and gave testimony, and remained a living warning: Never to forget what the Germans and their helpers did to us.

As in other communities, here also the idea came up, to create a memorial to the city and its residents this book of remembrance. In 1940, Mr. Efraim Przepiurka, who visited Wengrow in its last days before World War II, collected information and documents. He saw the people of his city in their fear, and their hope, and their illusions, stayed with them, talked to them,  and took pictures which were saved in this way.  In the end of December 1945, a general meeting of the Wengrow Association in Tel Aviv met, and decided to put out a book of remembrance. The collection of material (testimony, lists, documents and pictures) continued for years. The sources, a rare collection from "Yad Ve'Shem"; collecting testimony by volunteers for years;  German posters, and letters of the aid society of the Yudenrat in Wengrow, and the  Social help of the Chassidic organization of Krakow; an article  from the "Jewish Newspaper" in Krakow in 1941; memories and testimony of survivors; the collection of pictures from the time of the holocaust and the years previous to it.

With the intention of knowing the depths of the city the Archivists of the community itself, the "Book Society" spoke to Mr. Nissan Slotzky, a young researcher from Jerusalem, who worked for some years and found the history of the city and the community, based on historical and bibliographical sources from their time, from the beginning of the 15th century.  To this he added a collection of documents, from the "Jewish Court Records" ("Pinkas Hadayanim") a rare and valuable resource- pictures of about a dozen documents from 150-175 years ago and managed to decode them.  The results of this research is given in the book in its original Hebrew and also translated into Yiddish.

In 1954 it was decided to complete the publication of the book.  The author Moshe Tamari was contacted, and he took on this project.  Since in his youth, in 1930, Mr. Tamari was in our town for close to a year, as a representative of a Zionist Youth Group, his memories of that time left their stamp on him and this book.

With the completion of this project we see the fulfillment of a Holy requirement to memorialize our loved ones, and a privilege to us, the "book committee" who worked day and night, in hundreds of meetings, in collection of data, and checking it, in collating facts and documents, collecting money and using it efficiently, and all that is connected to publishing. Maybe we didn't reach perfection, there are some names and dates missing, perhaps some facts, but we did all in our power to do the maximum.

Our thanks to our organizations in Israel and in other countries,  and to all of the children of our city, in Argentina, in the USA, in France, and it's survivors wherever they are, that thanks to their help and financial aid this book was made possible. Especially to Mr. Shlomo Zvolodovitz, a son of our city who lives in Venezuela, who gave a lot of himself to this book and even worked to get information in  universities and libraries, which helped us in collecting historical material and documentation. To Mr. Nissan Slotzky, on his scientific contributions. To Mr. M. Tamari, who sifted the material, edited it, and prepared it for printing, arranged its format and its content and thanks to him our desire was fulfilled. To the printing company "Achdut"' and its workers  who created this book with love and dedication, and to Mr. Moshe Vizlberg,  who helped us with advice from his experience.  To the members of the committee in Argentina, D. Eizenberg, Z. Glicksberg; . To the printing company "Achdut"' and its workers  who created this book with love and dedication, and to Mr. Moshe Vizlberg,  who helped us with advice from his experience.  To the members of the committee in Argentina, D. Eizenberg, Z. Glicksberg, Y. Holland, Y. Varnick, M. Zivnitz, A. Zilbershtein, P. Tashpov, Y. Nivisky, Y. Friedman, H. Przepiurka, A. Kochan, V. Shdlinsky, - who worked very hard for this book, in both spiritual and physical ways, and accompanied its labor pains for a distance with great interest and dedication.  To our comrades H. Brener and D. Recanat, from the USA, may all of them be blessed.

While the destroyer cut off millions of souls from Israel not only those alone he wanted to destroy -  but the generations that could have come after them with the help of G-d and the hand of fate, some were left, a few remnants of the ancient and glorious tree of Polish Jewry, that the destroyer tried to finish.

Full of awe of this holy work, to write down all memories, we are left without speech. Let the pages of this book, full of blood and tears, be a remembrance for our loved ones, whose blood  was spilled on the stones of their city, who died of torture, who went up in smoke in the crematoria of Treblinka, and may this book be in the homes of all of the children of our city, as a sign of what was destroyed, as a testimony to the peoples who stood in our blood, and a tombstone on graves whose places are unknown, and on the mass graves, in remembrance to them and to those who come after them.          The name of the community of Wengrow, hundreds of years old, will never leave our hearts, and the hearts of our children, forever.

The Book Committee


1. In the context of this introduction, the word Community implies Jewish Community as opposed to any other meaning. Back

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