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Translation of Dubiecko chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Polin
Translation of Dubiecko chapter from
Published by Yad Vashem
Published in Jerusalem
Published in Jerusalem
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This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland,
Volume III, pages 103-105, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
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(Powiat of Przemysl, Province of Lwow)
Comments in brackets  are those of Mr. Korn.
Up to the year 1389 Dubiecko had been a royal village, at which time its ownership was transferred to the nobleman, Piotr Kmito, the king’s governor of the city of Przemysl. In 1407 Dubiecko received official city status, remaining the private property of the descendents of this nobleman. In 1503 the Tatars invaded Dubiecko and completely destroyed it. Its reconstruction began a year later, and, for six continuous years, the king freed the city from its tax obligations. In the sixteenth century [the year 1580] the city came under the ownership of the Stadnicki noble family. One of the members of this family, Stanislaw Mateusz Stanicki, converted from Roman Catholicism to Protestantism. He turned the local church into a Protestant house of worship and established a school there, which promoted Reformation theology. A publishing house was built there (1621) which printed the writings that were inspired by the new religion. Thus, in that period Dubiecko became a center of the Reformation. One of the female descendents of the Stadnicki family, which had owned the city from the end of the sixteenth century until the beginning of the seventeenth, returned to the Catholic faith; and, under her influence, an end was made to the “heresy” in Dubiecko and to its being a Reformation center. From the eighteenth century up to the forties of the nineteenth century Dubiecko was under the proprietorship of the noble family of Krasicki. A son was born to this family in 1738. He became one of the greatest Polish poets of the eighteenth century: Iganacy Krasicki. The chateau and the estate remained in the possession of the descendents of the Krasicki family until the eve of the First World War.
The city lies near the banks of the River San, on the road between Przemysl and Kosice, Slovakia. It was this geographic positioning that determined the basis of its economy during the first centuries subsequent to the city’s founding: it was one of the stations for the transport of merchandise to Slovakia, Hungary and from there back to Poland.
In the nineteenth century Dubiecko was known for its manufacturing of leather footwear, porcelain ware and barrels. Because the railway tracks did not pass by the town, a profound stagnation in Dubiecko’s development took hold at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and its status as a municipality was taken away from her after the First World War. Subsequent to the destruction wreaked upon her by the Russian army in 1914 and 1915 she remained immersed in her economic depression up to the period between the two world wars.
The Jews of Dubiecko are mentioned for the first time in a document dating from 1622. It seems that the early Jews of the city also suffered during those chaotic times of the Reformation period. It is not known what their fate was subsequent to the decrees of 5408 and 5409 [1648-1650], nor during the first half of the eighteenth century which subjected the entire area to a violent period of wars. Toward the end of the century there is indication of the existence of a Jewish settlement in Dubiecko that was under the control of the Jewish community council in Przemysl. Also, it seems that oftentimes the houses were owned by Jews. In 1781 it was recorded that the Jews of Dubiecko were tardy in their payment of the municipal tax in the amount of 4,712 gulden – a considerable amount for those days. In 1808 sixty-nine Jewish families resided in Dubiecko (about 279 souls). The Jewish settlement continued to develop, and arrived at its maximum size at the beginning of the twentieth century. Since then it did not increase any more and even failed to maintain its natural rate of increase. Complete families moved away to live in the region’s larger cities, which were not cut off, as Dubiecko was, from the network of railway lines. Some of Dubiecko’s young people emigrated to other countries and even across the sea. In 1927 a fire broke out in Dubiecko, and in its wake about thirty Jewish families were left homeless and without sources of income. Many of these left Dubiecko.
The early Jews of Dubiecko, and particularly those living when the city was owned by the Krasicki family, earned their livelihoods from innkeeping, as taverners and as lessees of the nobleman’s estate. In the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth all the commerce (especially in processed leather, produce and porcelain ware) was in the hands of Jews. The homes of the Jewish residents of Dubiecko were concentrated in the market square. On market days and during the fairs, which had been taking place in the city since ancient times, or when the peasants of the region came to the courthouse which was situated in Dubiecko, the merchants sold their wares and sometimes even bartered for their farm produce or their handicrafts. Not a few of Dubiecko’s Jews went out into the surrounding villages to peddle goods. The local affluent, however, continued to stay close to the economic center of the noble’s estate and holding (these individuals were the lessees of the propinacja [i.e. the license to produce and sell grain liquors to the peasants]) and of the dairy, the nobleman’s agents [“factors”] and also Jewish craftsmen who served in the lord’s court).
On Rosh Hashanah of 5665 (1915) the Russian army entered Dubiecko. Looting occurred during the first days of the occupation, and there were even several mortalities among the local Jews. At the end of the war not all of the mobilized Jews returned to their city; some of them went to live in Austria or Germany and some emigrated to the United States. In November 1918 the peasants from the region went on a rampage against the Jews. Their property was plundered, and those who were caught in the streets during the pogrom were beaten and some injured.
The Jews of Dubiecko were known for their zealous adherence to the pious Chassidic traditions. Most of them counted themselves among the Chassidim of the Blazow-Dynow dynasty, and, until the First World War, no “enlightened” nor Zionist Jew ever left his footprints in the soil of Dubiecko. Their sons avoided having to go to the compulsory general school, and only a few of their daughters took lessons there. After receiving their basic education in the private “Cheders,” the young graduates continued their education on the benches of the Yeshivah or the Bet Medrash. Those who became enamored by secularism left the city.
The Jewish community’s council was in the hands of the bourgeoisie and the Chassidim. It was not until 1928 that real elections for the council were carried out. At that time four representatives from the merchant sector were elected, two nationalists (apparently those who tended toward the “Mizrachi” movement), one Zionist and one representative for the Jews of the neighboring villages were voted to the council. The “Agudat Yisrael” party did not win even one seat. Of the city’s residents we know only of Rabbi Menashe Merils, who served as chief of the rabbinic court in the years prior to the outbreak of the First World War, and of the religious judge and teacher, Rabbi Shalom Ber, who also served in those years but became the rabbi of the Jewish community of Szczilki [sp?] after the war.
Zionist organizations arose in Dubiecko only during the period between the two world wars. In 1927 there is evidence for the establishment of a branch of “HeChalutz” [= “The Young Guard”]. (In 1934-1936 there were only twelve members). The local Zionist organization was part of the local council in the city of Jaroslav. In those same years the Zionist organization included many more members, and for the elections for the Zionist Congress of 1935 about one hundred Shekels were sold in Dubiecko. [The purchase of a “Shekel” gave the holder the right to attend a Zionist congress.] The voting distribution of representatives was as follows: sixty-four for the General Zionists, eight for Mizrachi, and sixteen for “Eretz Yisrael HaOveddet” [= “The Working Land of Israel”].
At the end of June 1940 many were in exile, having been scattered across the Soviet Union. The fate of those that remained in the territory of eastern Galicia after the German invasion of the summer of 1941 was similar to the fate of the Jews of the general region. In Dubiecko itself no Jews were left after the expulsion of the fall of 1939.
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