“Odrzywól” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Poland, Volume I
(Odrzywół, Poland)

51°32' / 20°33'

Translation of
“Odrzywól” chapter
from Pinkas Hakehillot Polin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem


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This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland,
Volume I, page 41, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem


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[Page 41]

Odrzywól

(District of Opoczno)

Translated by Jerrold Landau

 

Population

Year General
population
Jews
1827 402 20
1857 628 88
1897 1,033 342
1921 1,336 389
Sep 1 1939 (?) 321

The private town of Odrzywól was called “Isukin” until the middle of the 16th century. It gained the status of a city in 1418. At the end of the 18th century, it was granted the rights to hold nine fairs a year instead of the usual two. This shows that the town developed into a commercial center with an agricultural basis. However, the city declined economically during the 19th century. The fire of 1858 was one of the causes of this decline.

For hundreds of years, nobody prevented the settlement of Jews there. Their primary source of livelihood was small-scale commerce and trades. The market days and fairs were especially important for their livelihood. Several small factories were in Jewish hands in the period between the two world wars, including an oil factory and a dyeing workshop. Most of the shops were in Jewish hands.

This small settlement had an independent community that employed a rabbi. It also had a cemetery. The rabbis of Odrzywól during the 19th and 20th centuries included for some time some of the most famous Torah giants of Poland. Rabbi Yehuda Leibush Licht (born in 1839) began his career as a rabbinical judge in Kozienice, and later served as a rabbi in Dzibice, Odrzywól, Żółkiewka, Przysucha, Piaski, and, starting from 1995, in Przedbórz. Everyone referred to him as a genius. His composition on Torah translations in comparison to Talmudic passages and Midrashim was called “HaBeer.” Rabbi Tzvi Rinkowicz, who was appointed as rabbi of Odrzywól at a young age, quickly won the heart of the community. He moved to Piotrków Trybunalski in 1920 to serve as the head of the Bnei Torah Yeshiva. He was known as a superb preacher. He was the author of “Chelkat Tzvi,” a commentary on Agadot [Lore} of Tractate Megilla.

The economic situation of the Jews of Odrzywól was apparently quite bad during the interwar period, for the Jewish population declined from 389 in 1920 to 321 at the time of the outbreak of the Second World War. Considering the natural increase during those years, the actual Jewish population decline was even greater. It seems that during that period, Jews, primarily young ones, moved to larger cities to seek sources of livelihood. The anti-Semitism that increased especially during the 1930s made the situation of the Jews of Odrzywól even more serious. On November 27-18, 1935, the Endekes incited the masses of farmers to beat the Jews and attack their shops and stalls during the fair in Odrzywól (as they had done in nearby Przysucha and the district city of Opoczno). The next day, November 29, the situation developed into a bloody confrontation on the Opoczno-Klubow road between the infantry police marching to Odrzywól to put down the disturbance and the farmers who were pillaging the nearby villages. Four farmers were killed, several were wounded, and more than ten were imprisoned. In a trial after these disturbances, 20 Endekes also sat in the accused dock.

The number of Jews in Odrzywól grew during the time of the Second World War because the influx of Jewish refugees, reaching from between 539 to 716 individuals. In the autumn of 1941, the German authorities set up a ghetto in a very restricted area at the edge of the city. More than 700 Jews were crowded into it. The overcrowding was great, with 12-13 people in one room.

The Jewish community of Odrzywól was liquidated on August 20, 1942. The Jews were sent to Nowe Miasto near Pilica. The ghetto there was liquidated about two months later, and all the Jews were deported to the Treblinka Death Camp. It is assumed that some Jews of Odrzywól were sent to labor camps or left Odrzywól on their own even before August 20, 1942. It is also possible that a small group of Jews who were needed by the Germans for work remained in Odrzywól for some time after the liquidation.


Sources

Yad Vashem Archives E 87-2.
Piotrków Trybunalski and its area, Tel Aviv, 1965, p. 270.
Nasz Przegląd June 7, 1936.


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