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[Page 9]

From the Publishers

Translated from Yiddish by Gooter Goldberg (Melbourne, Australia)

Eighteen years after the total destruction of Jewish Kałuszyn we present Sefer Kaluszyn as an Eternal Light.

For many years have the survivors everywhere yearned to publish this Memorial Book, seeing it as a sacred duty to the memory of our tormented and martyred who went on their final way without leaving a trace or a memorial.

The holy task united all; it has brought closer all the scattered remnants of the annihilated Kałuszyn - this book then is the result of a common endeavour, of a sense of duty that binds Kałuszyn Jews everywhere, of the grief and the determination to remember all and forget nothing.

Sefer Kaluszyn was brought about to remember an old Jewish community in Poland, which has over many generations, surrounded by Gentile settlements and Jew hatred, struggled for its existence and distinctiveness. Times did change; regimes succeeded one another - each time with new prohibitions and persecutions – yet the community persevered thanks to its beliefs and cohesion.

Thus – the previous generations, over centuries relying on Faith, Fear of Heaven and Chassidic exultation, and so, in modern times, in the 20th century - a new generation with a new mode of thinking, prepared to struggle for national and universal ideals.

One glorious road travelled by a community of Jews with each generation in its own way hoping for and believing in a better future – until the fateful hour when everything was cut down.

Sefer Kaluszyn reminds us of pain and destruction at the hands of all the Hitlers and Eichmanns, reminds us not to forget, reminds us to demand of the future generations to be for ever vigilant against the dangers of fascism and hatred, to resist the kind of evil that burned Jewish flesh and scattered the ashes.

Grief alone will not do. Let us forever remember and rage against the unforgivable wrong committed by man against Man, by peoples against the Jewish people.

We should also learn from the temptations and failures during that tragic time; how to overcome the urge, prompted by weakness, to collaborate with tyrannical power ostensibly in the interest of survival; and how to be prepared for the only honourable option: fortitude and resistance.

Let it be recorded as a role model and to the glory of the Jews of Kałuszyn that up to the hour of total annihilation they maintained Jewish solidarity, and acting in accordance with the adage, as “responsible for one another”, continued the struggle for their survival; and that those who in those tragic circumstances were placed in charge of the Jewish community – Moyshe Kishelnitzky and Avrohom Gamzo, z”l – were put to death by the Nazi authorities because they refused to obey the decree to deliver fellow Jews for slave labour and extermination.

With pain and profound respect we open the Book of our sorrow. They come to life, all those splendid individuals, the pious Torah Jews, the toilers and workers and seekers of Justice, the dreamers, the fighters for Socialism and the inspired Zionists and chalutzim –homage to their memory for generations!

The tears of our town are embedded in the pages of this book – to remember, to warn, to comfort and to bind the grieving survivors of our destroyed Community of Kałuszyn.

Israel, Kislev, 5721 (1961)

[Page 15]

The History of the Jews in Kałuszyn

by Dr. N. M. Gelber

Translated by William Leibner

The small township of Kałuszyn is located along the road between Warsaw and Brisk and between Minsk Mazowiecki and Siedlice. Even the great author of the old historical book on Poland Balinski merely devotes a few lines to the place. He states that the only think one can say about Kałuszyn is that it is a small wooden township full of Jews and it passed from the hands of the Opacki feudal family to the one of the Rodzienskich.(1) This is all the author of the great classic Polish book has to say about the place.

It is not easy to find information about such small locality especially information pertaining to Jews or Jewish life in Kałuszyn.

We are certain that the leaders of the community and the beadles in the synagogues had and kept records but all of this is gone due to fires, misplacements, destruction as in other communities. The times were stormy starting with the “black years”[1] and through all the wars until the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Following a great deal of research we can establish that Kałuszyn was to the 18th century a big village that belonged to the old feudal family Opacki.

The church in the village was built in 1472. One of the Opackis managed to receive in 1718 a grant from the Polish King Augustus the II to the effect that the village can be expanded to a small town. Several years later when Kałuszyn began to take on the shape of a small town, namely there was a market place and specific fair days, did the Opacki family decide to sell Kałuszyn and all the surrounding villages to the Rodzienskich feudal family.

In the 19th century, the place belonged to general Ruzieniecki and the baroness Josepha Zamoiska.

In the 19th century Kałuszyn was rebuilt and in 1827 it had 145 wooden homes and a population of 1826 people. In 1861 there were already 228 homes amongst them 5 brick houses. The population consisted of 4566 people but only 608 Christians lived in the hamlet. In 1877 there were

[Page 16]

already 319 homes including 9 brick houses and a population of 7532 people namely 3628 men and 3904 women. The income of the city in that year was 3819 rubles and the expenses were 2920. The city capital budget was 2175 rubles. The hamlet had three factories, a post office and was located about three miles from the railroad station of Mrozy along the railway line Warsaw –Tiraspol.

In 1897 the hamlet had 8428people and in 1921 it had 6122 people.

A Jewish population already existed in the village of Kałuszyn.

In the year 1714 prior to the place receiving the status of a city, the Jews already paid to the Jewish community of Wegrow the sum of 500 zlotys as poll tax for the Jewish residents in Kałuszyn.. The Jewish community of Kałuszyn continued to pay this tax in 1717,1718,and 1719 for it was attached to the Jewish community of Wegrow.

According to the records, the community of Wegrow had to pay in 1717 the sum of 3914 zlotys and 29 groshen to the tax authorities. The sum represents several communal payments namely; Kałuszyn had to pay 736 zlotys and 18 groshen, Mokobody 320 zlotys, Mordi 160 zlotys, the land administrators in the area or arrendars like Nachman from the village of Okini had to pay 80 zlotys, Lewke from Ulszowica 40 zlotys, Chaim from Merzeszlin 60 zlotys, Dawid from Zalew 30 zlotys ( According to the original records in Lemberg, Ossolineum, 279 II-'89)

In the year 1787, the community of Kałuszyn has to pay 600 zlotys as head tax for the Jewish residents. According to the various tax lists, the Jewish community of Kałuszyn still belonged to the Jewish community of Wegrow in the first half of the 18th century. The Wegrow Jewish community had attached to it many smaller Jewish communities that it provided them with the necessary religious services, for this city was an important Jewish center.

In the second half of the 18th century namely at the census of 1764, the Jewish community of Kałuszyn is already independent and self sufficient. Furthermore, it too has some small communities and farms that are under its administration or supervision. The Jewish community of Kałuszyn and the attached villages and farms represent a total Jewish population of 566 people in 1764. The city of Kałuszyn however belongs to the district of Zemia Liwska that is part of the Mazowiecki region.[2]

In the year 1764, a head count was conducted amongst the Jewish population of Kałuszyn. The survey was conducted by a commission of four people namely a Polish nobleman and three Jews community leaders. The Jews signed a document to the effect that they witnessed and counted the people in question. The number of Jews in Kałuszyn above the age of one year was 346 in addition there were 33 villages attached to the Jewish community of Kałuszyn where Jews lived.

[Page 17]

According to the records there were 220 Jews above the age of one year in rural areas attached to Kałuszyn. This population consisted of 94 married people (including 10 grandfathers, 78 fathers,6 married sons and one san in law), 1 widower, and 83 singles ( 73 sons, 10 servants, apprentices and orphans), together the male population amounted to 178 men.

There were 134 women of whom 64 were married (2 great grand mothers, 9 grand mothers, 72 mothers, and 11 married daughters and daughters in law)

Widows, divorcees and abandoned women reached the number of 18 ( 1 great grand mother, 5 grand mothers, and 6 unknown.)

Unmarried 52( 46 daughters, 6 servants and orphans).

The total Jewish population above the age of one year was listed as 272 people.

Amongst the village Jews there were 127 men of which 54 were married ( 1 great grand father,8 grandfathers36 fathers, 9 sons and son in laws), 1 widower ( a great grand father) and 72 single men (62 sons, 10 servants and orphans)

The number of women is listed as 93 of which 54 are married ( 1 great grand mother, 8 grand mothers, 36 mothers, 9 daughters and daughters in laws). Widows, divorcees and abandoned women are listed as one mother. Single woman 38 ( 33 daughters and 5 servants)

The total Jewish population of men and women consisted of 220 people above the age of one year. Unfortunately we do not have a record of the jobs that these people performed or the occupations that they had. We know that Kałuszyn had one rabbi, one cantor, 3 beadles and the number of household heads were 96 but again we don not know their occupations.[3]

The standard of Jewish life in Kałuszyn was no different from any other Jewish community at the time in Poland. It consisted of trade, leasing, workshops and artisans. This was the base of Jewish social-economic life in Poland.

We observe an interesting factor of information about Kałuszyn namely that the place was an important metal trading center and provided armaments and ammunitions to the defense department at Warsaw in the 18th century.[4]

During the rule of the Princes in Poland, Jews did not purchase too many homes or land in the area of Warsaw with the exception of Kałuszyn where 101 homes were owned by Jews.. According to the research, the

[Page 18]

Jewish ancestors bought the land and houses that were later inherited by the descendants.[5]

The owners of the houses could not prove their ownership since the papers were lost in the process of moving or burned during the frequent fires.

In the 19th century, the Jews of Kałuszyn have unlimited living rights in the place and this enables Jews in the area to move to the place and settle. Kałuszyn becomes for all practical purposes a Jewish city with about 80% Jewish residents.

In the first half of the 19th century, many Kałuszyner Jews have already large workshops especially tailors, shoemakers, furriers, and various wood owners. The artisans used to bring their goods to the various fairs namely Dobri, Stanislawow, Szenice, Minsk Mazowiecki and sell their products to the farmers.

The area in question had few Christian workshops thus there was no competition to speak of between the various populations. This was contrary to other areas where the competition between Jewish and non-Jewish artisans reached pitched battles. The non Jewish artisans used every means to keep the Jewish products out of their areas and fairs.

A special Jewish occupation was represented by the prayer shawl weaver industry. These workers acquired such high degree of dexterity in the production of the prayer shawl that they became even famous outside the city of Kałuszyn. In the 19th century Kałuszyn became identified with the prayer shawl. The publicity traveled far and wide.

The industry expanded and became very proficient to the extend that at the end of the 19th century, there were about 400 people working in the prayer shawl industry scattered throughout tens of workshops.

The prayer shawl workers had their own association that was religious in character. They had their own synagogue where they prayed and heard lectures on Saturday and Holidays and frequently listened to a visiting preacher.

Besides the shawl weavers, the other workers also had their own study centers namely the tailors, shoemakers, hatmakers, sockweavers, and quilt makers etc

With the help of military buyers, the Jews provide a great deal of military material to the Polish Army until 1830 and then to the Russian Army after 1830. This industry provided a great deal of labor for the men and women and even children. There are also Jewish artisans that go about peddling their wares amongst the peasants in the villages in the area.

Besides the city merchants and the village peddlers, there are also large Jewish timber merchants and lease holders of large estates such as the famous Motel Michaelson.

[Page 19]

With the growth of the Hassidic movement amongst Polish Jews, their influences and trends also penetrate the community of Kałuszyn. In the early 19th century, the followers of the Rabbi of Warki predominate in the city but with time other Hassidic followers make their appearance namely Ger, Karzenitz, Kock and Strikow.

One of the Warkower Hassidim is Motel Michaelson the large lease holder in the area.. He played a leading role in the first half of the 19th century in the community of Kałuszyn. He also acquired the entire city of Kałuszyn and all its revenues where he collected all the taxes for the state. He also owned the “Togtzetl” that was published in Warsaw.

It seems that he was a tight fisted person that created many disputes within the community of Kałuszyn between the community leaders and Motel Michaelson. The dispute reached such intensity that he wrote in his will addressed to the children the following instructions:

“Do not look for fights, run from disputes, be on the side of the aggrieved. When I was managing the community of Kałuszyn, the entire community became involved in a dispute between me and the leaders of the community that caused me a great deal of grief. The Rabbi Itzhak of Warki advised me to be patient and not to respond to everything. Furthermore he told me to calm the atmosphere and let the fires die down. He guided me and strengthen my resolution to bring the matter to an end and indeed the matter ended for all the opponents were eventually silenced.”.[6]
In general we can say that there were other fights and rivalries in the Kałuszyn community. We know that In 1842, a large number of Jews revolted against the local rabbi,. These Jews were Hassidim On the 19th of August 1842, they surrounded the synagogue and began to shout and to fight. The report of the mayor of Kałuszyn dated the 21 August 1842 and addressed to the Warsaw commission for internal affairs states the following information:
“A large number of religious Jews that do not work and rebel constantly, surrounded the synagogue. There were fights and screams in the synagogue and outside. The police has not yet discovered the reason for the incident, something that is very rare amongst the Jews. I have also the privilege to inform your excellence of the information that was presented to me by Shlomo Michaelson to the effect that the leaders of the incident were Zalman Peszennani, Tovia Poizman and Itzik Bludtsein. They were the ones to extinguish the lights in the synagogue and they did not behave respectfully towards the rabbi of the community.”[7]
It appears that the rabbi was not a Hassidic rabbi and this caused the whole fight on the part of the Hassidim.

In those days, the Rabbi of Warki had many followers in Kałuszyn including his devoted follower Motel Michaelson, the author of the book

[Page 20]

“Maamar Mordechai” or Mordechai's work, a grandson of the Rabbi Yehiel Michael. The opposition to Motel came primarily from the non Hassidic elements in the city.

It is interesting to note that in the year 1844 Motel Michaelson supported the plan to settle Jews on the land so that they could cultivate it.

As a matter of fact, a city ordinance was published as early as 1823 that Jews can settle on government land or noble land if they intend to cultivate it. They even promised the Jewish settlers certain benefits namely the cancellation of taxes from 3 -12 years, free wood to build their homes and other concessions and easements.

The ordinance caused a certain interest in Jewish quarters who saw an opportunity to improve Jewish economic life as well as as means to strengthen the Jewish social political situation through the increase of Jewish agriculture.

The person that assumed a leading position in the spreading of the above idea was the known benefactor and industrialist Shlomo Zalman Poizner. He himself initiated the concept by establishing in 1823 the agricultural and industrial Jewish settlement of Kochari near Plonsk.

In 1841, there was a big community conference amongst the Jewish leaders in Warsaw regarding the plan to transfer Jews to agriculture and to ask Shlomo Zalman Poizner and Yaakow Epstein to launch an appeal to that effect. The Appeal written in Hebrew by Poizner and Rabbi Chaim Dawidson of Warsaw was translated to Polish by Yaakow Tugendholtz, the famous man of letters. The appeal was also signed by the Rabbis Itzhak Kalish of Warki , Rabbi Itzhak Meir Alter of Ger, the leaders of the Warsaw Jewish community and assimilated influential Jews namely Tugendholtz, Yaakow Epstein, Matithyahu Rozehand Chaim Yona Jonasz.

The appeal was sent to all Jewish communities in Poland. A drive was started to collect money for the project and to collect more statements on behalf of the idea. The object of these activities was the hope to create a large number of settlements of Jewish farmers. Many of these community leaders hoped that the plan will engulf large numbers of Jews prior to the introduction of the new military draft law that would exempt the new farmers from military service as essential people to the economy.

Meanwhile the appropriate office was petitioned for a permit to start things moving and this permit was only granted on February 2nd 1843. The permit only gave permission to create a committee that will deal with settling Jews on the land.

Finally after meetings and discussions with Jewish communities and Jewish landholders. A delegation was received by the appropriate office on December 30th 1843. The delegation consisted of nine members that represented the 8 districts of Poland. The delegation was headed by Rabbi Itzhak Kalish of Warki. Another member of the delegation was Rabbi Yehuda Bachrach of Sejni, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lipmanowitch of Zdonska Wola, Rabbi Raphael Lewenthal of Zakroczyn, Moshe Teitelbaum, Shlomo Shabtai Ehrlich , Moshe Eliyahu Morgenstern of Lublin, Yossef Saphir and Motel Michaelson of Kałuszyn

At the reception of the delegation, Count Paskewitch in charge of the office of internal matters stated harsh words aimed at the Jews to the

[Page 21]

effect that Jews are bad people and have no mercy in their hearts even for their own brethren. Masses of Jews in Poland are starving because they have no occupations and they can be saved by settling them on the land. But the wealthy Jews do not want to help built settlements for the poor Jews that the government and private donors want to give them land and provide them with work..

The delegates were thunder struck by the words of the official and three days later on January 2nd 1844 they published in Hebrew and Polish an appeal to the wealthy Jewish people to help the project.

They later published another appeal but these appeals were not terribly successful

The first forty years of the 19th century were terrible years for Polish Jewry Following the anti Jewish laws promulgated by Tsar Nicholas the first regarding the limitation of commerce, industry and workshops for Jews, followed by the famous anti human draft laws that cancelled the possibility of exchanging the draft for a fee. Every draftee had to report personally for the draft as of January 1844.

With the aim of reforming Jewish life came also the order to change the way the Jews dress. Enlightened Jews and even some Rabbis were of the opinion that Jewish dress had little to do with the Jewish religion. The question regarding the cancellation of the Jewish dress was already discussed in the Polish Parliament that lasted four years namely 1788-1792. Then Polish and Jewish authors like Mendel Lepin, Dr. Kalmanson, Dr. Shlomo Palanos suggested the need to abolish the traditional Jewish dress. The question however remained a purely academic topic of discussion.

Following the introduction of the law that Jews are forbidden to wear the traditional Jewish dress in Russia and those that persisted in wearing them will have to pay a special tax.. The law was soon also introduced to Poland. The enlightened Jews and to a ceratin extend religious Jews favored the law while Hassidic Jewry and its Rabbis bitterly opposed the law.

In May of 1846, Moses Montefiore visited Warsaw and received a delegation of Jews headed by Shlomo Zalman Poizner and the Rabbis of Warki and Ger. Poizner stated officially that he will accept the law and abandon his Jewish dress.

As soon as the law was published, the Kałuszyn Jewish community on July 27th 1846 officially sent a petition to the government commission to cancel the law that permits the collection of taxes for wearing special clothing. They also pointed out that the Jews of Kałuszyn are small merchants that do not have the necessary capital to buy new clothing. Furthermore, the rest of the Jewish population is too poor to think of buying new clothing

[Page 22]

kal022.jpg Appeal letter to the wealthy
Appeal letter to the wealthy

The document is written in Rabbinical Hebrew and Polish. It is dated December 14th, 1843. It is an appeal to the wealthy Jewish elements in society to help the poor Jews by buying land and settling them on it in order to prevent the starvation of the Jewish masses. The appeal furthermore thanks the general administration for taking an interest in the plight of the poor Jews. The appeal is phrased in the usual rabbinical phraseology for help and assistance. To reinforce the appeal several holy quotes are inserted. The appeal was also addressed to all the Jewish communities in Poland and urged its publication to the public. The appeal also thanked count Namiastnik for taking such interest in the plight of the Jewish masses. The appeal is signed by;

Rabbi Itzhak Kalish of Warki.
Rabbi Yehuda Bachrach of Sajni
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lipmanowitch of Zdanskiej Woli
Rabbi Raphael Lewenthal of Zakroczyn
Moshe Teitelbaum
Shlomo Shabtai Ehrlich ,
Moshe Eliyahu Morgenstern of Lublin
Yossef Saphir

Freedom Press printing in Warsaw, January 30th, 1844
Head censor and official Niezabitowski

(The document was loosely translated by the translator). The document in question is part of the archive collection of Mr. Tugenholtz number 5 and is located in the General Jewish archives in Jerusalem

[Page 23]

The appeal on behalf of the Jewish community of Kałuszyn against the change of clothing is signed by Baruch Rubinstein and Shlomo Michaelson. The commission paid little heed to the appeal. Many such letters reached the office with similar demands.

The ordinance remained on the books and the Jews that refused to change their clothing had to pay a penalty tax. Seeing that the commission for internal affairs ignored the appeal of the Kałuszyn community. The latter decided to write an other appeal to the effect that the Jews of Kałuszyn have difficulties meeting the clothing tax and therefore they are urging the authorities to divide the payment of the tax into four quarterly installments instead of one annual payment. The letter was sent on October 28th 1846.

The Jewish community expanded rapidly its economic base In the second half of the 19th century. The workshops, especially, the tailor, shoemaker and furrier workshops worked almost exclusively for the army. The workshops use d a great deal of assistants and helpers thus providing jobs. Part of the production of these workshops reached the civilian fairs and markets.

In the seventies, Kałuszyn had three factories that produced praying shawls in the amount of 5340 rubles, a soap and candle factory that produced merchandise valued at 6800 rubles, a vinegar and two oil factories that produced merchandise valued at 23800 rubles. Kałuszyn also had a tannery that delivered leather to the army. Several years later, another tannery was opened since there was a great demand for the product. Both tanneries employed between 40-50 qualified workers.

The majority of the Jewish population worked in these establishments. By the nineties, almost one thousand workers worked for military contractors.

The growth of employment also produced the appearance of associations to defend the particular working interests.

The prayer shawl industry really expanded, besides small workshops , we also have factories that produce these items and employ a large size number of workers.. The prayer shawl of Kałuszyn becomes a well known product in Poland.

The economic expansion continued into the twentieth century. A large flour mill was established in the city and many small new workshops and factories made their appearance. The city becomes a typical working town with a bit of a religious character. In the 20th century, the city of Kałuszyn became one of the first Jewish towns in Poland to have an organized union movement.

[Page 24]

According to a precise statically survey conducted following WWI. in Kałuszyn[8] within the Jewish sector, the following information was found. There were 231 enterprises but only 225 were active. 106 enterprises used hired labor while 119 were self employed. The 225 enterprises employed 225 owners ( 15.9%), 14 assisting member families ( 3.4.%) and 178 wage earners ( 42.7%)

12 wager earners (6.6.%) were non Jews and 116 were Jews ( 93.3%).

The 225 enterprises comprised the following industrial branches of production;

  Wage earners Jews Family
Owner Worker Active No. Enterprise
              1 Stone
  Men 4*   9 13 9 10 Metal
        2 2 2 2 Machines
  7 men,1 woman 8   11 19 11 11 Wood
        2 2 2 2 Rubber
7 15 men, 3 women* 19 2 16 44 16 16 Leather
  15 men, 3 women, 2 children 19   13 32 13 14 Textile **
  66 men, 8 women, 7 children 81 2 124 207 124 126 Clothing and furs ***
5 19 men, 2 women 21 8 30 64 301 31 Food and eating items
  3 men, 2 women, 1 child 6   1 7 1 1 Paper
    3   1 4 1 1 Chemical
    3   9 12 9 9 Construc.
    7 2 7 11 7 7 Cleaning industry

The table is organized as follows:
From left to right:

The type of enterprise
How many enterprises
How many enterprises are active
People employed
Family Helpers
Number of Jewish wage earners
Number of men, women and children
Number of non Jewish wage earners
* Number of men, women and children
** Here are included hundreds of workers in the prayer shawl industry that worked in small shops
*** Outside these figures, there were still many tailors, furriers and shoemakers that worked with their helpers outside this list.

In the community, the Hassidic elements gained constantly strength. The Hassidic court in the city of Kałuszyn was led by Rabbi Elhanan and when he died, his son Zelig assumed the post of Rabbi. Then the line goes to the son in law Rabbi Naphtali. These rabbis are not only visited by their followers in the city but also by followers from other areas.

[Page 25]

In the city proper there are many small Hassidic congregations; namely the Gerer, Kocker, Strikower,Korzenitzer, Porissower, Radziminer Skerniewitzer prayer rooms. All these small Hassidic congregations gave the impression that the city was a typical Hassidic Jewish shtetl. The impression however is not correct, for the city also had a large following of “Mitnagdim”- or religious Jews that opposed Hassidut and stressed scholarship. The Mitnagdim fellowship concentrated amongst the artisans especially the prayer shawl weavers that established already at the beginning of the twentieth century a society that followed the traditional patterns of Mitnagdim.

Prior to WWI. a host of social Jewish societies were created in Kałuszyn; “Hevrah Bachurim”- or group of young fellows, “Bikur Cholim” society- to help the sick, “Linat Hatzedek” or a place to sleep the night, “Hachnassat Kalah” society to help girls get married, “Hachnassat Orchim” group to provide for the poor people, ”Hevrah Mishnayot” group to read the pages of Mishnayot, “Gmilat Hassadim” society to provide emergency cash credit, “Hevrah Achim” group to help out people in need and other societies.

When the big synagogue near the river burned down, a group of initiators; Reuven Michaelson, Itzhak Munk and Yaakow Stein began to plan to rebuild the synagogue.

In the 18th century Kałuszyn still had a small Jewish community that could not support financially a rabbi. One of the first well known rabbis in the city was Rabbi Yehiel Michal[9] who was also Rabbi of two other nearby communities; Siennica and Minsk-Mazowiecki. All three communities shared equally in paying him his salary but according to the contract he had to reside in Kałuszyn. Rabbi Yehiel Michal was also popularly known as the Minsker Rabbi although he resided in Kałuszyn.

Rabbi Yehiel Michal is a descendant of a very influential family namely the saintly Rabbi Yoel Sirkis, better known by the Hebrew initials of “HB”H”. Rabbi Yehiel Michal was the founder of the well known Michaelson family that run the Jewish community of Kałuszyn until a few years prior to WWI.[10]

The city still maintained its traditional religious character with the beginning of the twentieth century but changes and even radical changes were under way.

The Jewish youth of Kałuszyn actively participated in the revolution of 1905. Between 1905 and 1914, a host of libraries and educational societies were established. The political parties appeared on the scene and began an active social life.

The old Jewish town slowly shed the traditional outlook during the years of WWI and the establishment of the renewed Polish Independent State.

[Page 26]

is the statistical sketch of the growth of the Jewish population in Kałuszyn:

In the
In the
Jews Population Year
220 346 566   1764
  80% 1455 1819 1827
  86.6% 3667 4234 1857
  87% 3958 4566 1861
  76.2% 6419 8428 1897
  82.2% 5033 6122 1921

We notice that between 1827 and 1897, the Jewish population increased fivefold while in the year 1921 the Jewish population declined due to the havocs of WWI.

In 1921 the Polish government decided to annex administratively all the villages around Kałuszyn to the administration of the city in order to decrease the percentage of the Jewish population in Kałuszyn.. Indeed the population of the city increased to 7816 people of which 5295 were Jews, thus the Jewish population in the city declined to a mere 67.7%.

Translator's Footnotes

  1. Kałuszyn, “All one can say about the place is that it is a small wooden place full of Jews. It passed from the Opacki family to the Rudzienski family” Warsaw 1843, t.1 p.549 Return
  2. Jozef Kleczynski I Franczisek Kluczycki; head count of Jews in Kossow, Krakow 1898 p.20 Polish Return
  3. Dr. Raphael Mahler , Jews in Ancient Poland in light of the numbers, Warsaw 1958. Tables 9,25,26,35 and 41 Return
  4. Dr. J. Ringelbaum , Projects and experiments of Jewish workshops during the period of King Stanislawski, Warsaw 1939, str 55 Return
  5. E. N. Frenk The History of the Jews in the Duchy of Warsaw , “The Period” vol.15-14, p 382 Return
  6. Written by his grand son in the book “The tent of Itzhak to Moshe ben Aaaron Walden, Piotrokow 1913. p13. section 25 Return
  7. I thank my friend Dr. Mahler for the document that he permitted to use from his book “The fight between Hassidim and Enlightened Jews” in Galicia, Poland Return
  8. Jewish industrial enterprises in Poland , a survey conducted by engineer Heller, Warsaw 1922, 1st and 2nd parts, Warsaw region Return
  9. Moshe Pinhas Walden “Yechabed Aw” Piotrokow, 1923, p 16. sec 101 Return
  10. Yoel Sirkis (1640-1561) Shmuel Tzwi of Pintcherwer, Tzwi Hersh of Tchortkow, Arieh Yehuda Leib of Krakow, all religious judges in the places mentioned. Return
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