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Translation of Ujazd chapter
from Pinkas Hakehillot Polin
Translation of Ujazd chapter
Published by Yad Vashem
Published in Jerusalem
Published in Jerusalem
Our sincere appreciation to Yad Vashem for permission
This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland,
Volume I, page 45, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of
the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material
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Translated by Amy Samin
Ujazd was given the status of a city in 1428. It is possible to approximate that the Jewish settlement was established there in the second half of the 17th century, or at the latest in the early 18th century, when a new suburb was created that included a market square which was called the Jewish Market. In 1764, fourteen Jewish families lived in Ujazd; five of the families lived in small houses which they owned. There were innkeepers, merchants, peddlers, and workshop owners.
Since the town and the surrounding area were the property of wealthy members of the nobility, who were not directly involved in their management, during the 18th century their clerks took as much of the Jews' property as they could. These assistants to the nobles would place orders for various products with the Jewish workshops but refuse to pay for them; they would even force the Jews to serve them beer or spirits from the estate's production, without recompense. The corruption of the clerks of the nobility reached such depths that the daughter of the innkeeper Shlomo Lipkeivitz was imprisoned as a hostage in the dungeon of the nobleman and released only after her father paid off his debts. The administrators coerced the Jewish peddlers and merchants to sell them their produce at price lower than the merchant's own cost. Because of such acts, several families of Jews left the town in the 1750s and 1760s.
The professional composition of the Jewish population in the 18th and 19th centuries was as follows:
With the passage of time, the Jewish artisans diversified. In 1856, there were the following craftsmen: 14 tailors, 6 tanners, 5 shoemakers, 4 bakers, a butcher, a watchmaker, a glazier, a carpenter and a carter. In the latter part of the 18th century, a lode of iron deposits was discovered in the area near Ujazd. A mine and iron furnace were established, and at the outset, those industries served the settlement of Tomaszów (at that time called Tomaszów Mazowiecki). At that time, iron warehouses were opened in the town of Ujazd, and in the 18th and 19th centuries Jews were also employed in them. The Jews of Ujazd also dealt in the sale of iron. Thanks to the ease in obtaining raw material, a few residents of Ujazd, including Jews, also began to deal in the metal trades. At the start of the 19th century, the town's owner brought in a group of weavers from outside of Ujazd, asking that they turn it into a center for
the weaving industry. Jews also began to deal in weaving, and continued in that trade in the second half of the century, as well. In 1868 there were in Ujazd 19 small weaving workshops; four of those were owned by local Jews and each one employed several workers.
In the 18th century, Jews from the nearby town of Inowłódz and the surrounding villages joined the community in Ujazd. In 1764, there were 19 Jews from this area in the community. In 1856, with the sponsorship of the community board in Ujazd there were 85 Jews from 8 villages. One of the first rabbis in Ujazd was Rabbi Yechezkel Kleinbaum (died in 1828), who served as the rabbi for 20 years. He was succeeded within two years by Rabbi David Yitzhak Brumberg (called Sharp), a student of the Magid [preacher] from Kozienice and the Jew from Przysucha, and of Rabbi Yeshiah from Przedbórz. Before that he served as the rabbinical judge in Piotrków and was also the head of the yeshiva. He crafted the books Hidushay HaRadah and Beit David [House of David] An Interpretation of the Tractate of Baba Kama, and prepared for printing the book by the preacher of Kozienice, Beit Yisrael (House of Israel). After his death, Rabbi Reuven Kusher, the son-in-law of Rabbi Fishel of Stryków, served as rabbi in Ujazd, after having served as a rabbinical judge in Dobrzyń (died in 1846). Two years later (in 1848) the rabbi who came after him died, Rabbi Avraham Yechiel Michael Hachohen, the son of Rabbi Alexander Ziskind of Płock. The brief tenures of so many of the rabbis of Ujazd instilled in the Jews there the belief that when a new rabbi took over in Ujazd, his days were numbered. The next rabbi of Ujazd (who started in 1848) was Rabbi Moshe Simcha Elfus, who had previously served as rabbinical judge in Opoczno, and as rabbi in Rave-Mazovitzska. He left Ujazd in 1856 to become the rabbi in Opoczno. His successor as rabbi of Ujazd was Rabbi Shmuel Lubliner, who before coming to the town had served as the rabbi of Sobota. He served as rabbi in Ujazd until the 1890s. In the period between the two world wars, the rabbi in Ujazd was Rabbi Baruch Laznovski.
In 1855 a new synagogue was built in Ujazd to replace the old synagogue. The old building had begun to crumble, and in 1858 it was dismantled. The situation of the Jews in Ujazd worsened in the period between the two world wars. The terrible fire of 1923, which left dozens of Jewish families homeless, was one of the factors that contributed to this situation.
In the 1930s the economic boycott of the Jews interfered with the livelihood of 130 Jewish families in the town, who in particular made their living from small shops and workshops. The anti-Semitic propaganda sometimes brought about acts of violence against Jews. In July of 1937 the Kobalk brothers murdered Shaina Gevirtz, who owned a large convenience store, and stole 800 zlotys. When the murderers were imprisoned, the threat of a pogrom hovered in the air of the town; the chairman of the Jewish community asked the government to intervene. On 22 July 1937 the situation worsened dramatically and there was nearly a pogrom. A large number of the city's residents and farmers from the surrounding area gathered in front of the police station, demanding the release of those found guilty of the murder. They threatened a pogrom if the Jews did not facilitate the release of the murderers.
In the first days of September 1939, the city was greatly damaged by the shelling. With the exodus of a great many refugees from the destroyed town, the number of the Jewish population was dramatically reduced. Some of the refugees went to Łódź, including Rabbi Laznovski. The number of Jews in Ujazd, which in May of 1941 was 351, began to increase with the influx of refugees and exiles from other places. In June of 1941 there were approximately 500 Jews; by October of 1942 there were 1,000. They were all crowded into three of the small houses that remained standing, and were give various jobs by the Germans, mainly removing rubble. That populace was destroyed in October 1942. Most of the Jews (approximately 800) were taken to the extermination camp in Treblinka. By order of the regime, as of 10 November 1942 the town of Ujazd was declared one of four central ghettos in the Radom district, despite the destruction that had taken place there. The intention was to concentrate all of the surviving Jews from the Tomaszów region there following the wave of destruction, and to tempt the Jews who had run away during the aktia to emerge from their hiding places. Thus about 2,000 Jews from the district were gathered together in Ujazd and placed in a kind of transit camp surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by German police. Jewish police guards patrolled inside the camp. This ghetto was destroyed on 6 January 1943. All of the Jews were taken to the train station and sent to the extermination camp at Treblinka. At the time of the destruction of the ghetto, the German policemen killed a number of Jews. They were buried in the nearby fields, near the main roads to Wolbórz and Będków. After the war (in the autumn of 1948), the Jewish committee of Tomaszów Mazowiecki took on the task of exhuming the bones of the victims and giving them a proper burial in the cemetery in Tomaszów.
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