“Suchedniow” - Encyclopedia of Jewish
Communities in Poland, Volume VII

51°04' / 20°50'

Translation of “Suchedniow” chapter from

Pinkas Hakehillot Polin

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem

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to put this material on the JewishGen web site.

This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland, Volume VII,
pages 325-326, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

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[Page 325]

(Kielce District, Kielce Region)

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Donated by Paul Reisman

1887Approximately 400

Suchedniow was founded in 1227/8 by German settlers. Throughout the centuries, it was under the ownership of the church, and Jews were forbidden to settle there. Small scale manufacturing developed there during the 1820s. There were nine enterprises and workshops for the working and smelting of metal; factories that produced oil, work implements and pipes; a meat preparation enterprise and several sawmills. During the second half of the 19th century, there were 50 workshops and small enterprises in Suchedniow, employing most of the town.

Jews settled in Suchedniow during the second half of the 19th century, at the time of the annulment of the restriction of their settlement in ecclesiastical settlements in Poland. Most of them earned their livelihood from small scale commerce and trades, either as independent tradesmen or employees. In 1911, the Polish merchants in the city attempted to restrict the employment of the Jews in commerce by claiming that their settlement in Suchedniow was not in accordance of the law. A delegation of five Jewish merchants traveled to Warsaw and presented the claims of the Jews before the general ruler. Among other things, the Jews claimed that there had been no restriction on their livelihood imposed since they had settled in Suchedniow.

The first rabbi of the community was Rabbi Simcha Teitelbaum. Following him, from 1872-1912, was Rabbi Elimelech Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowicz, a descendent of the “Holy Jew” of Przysucha, who later became the Admor of Kielce (see entry).

Commerce and trades remained the primary sources of livelihood of the Jews even between the wars, but their economic situation worsened. In 1921, there were 230 Jewish families in Suchedniow who required assistance from the Jewish charitable and benevolent organizations. A charitable fund, a Linat Tzedek (providing lodging for those in need) and an old age home operated in the community during that period. The communal leadership was in the hands of the Orthodox, who also founded a girls' school in the city that was part of the Beis Yaakov network.

Vibrant Zionist activity took place in the town during the 1920s and 1930s. A chapter of Young Zion was already founded there in 1919, and a Mizrachi chapter followed. There was also an active chapter of the Hechalutz movement in Suchedniow during the 1930s. 542 Zloty for Keren Hayesod was collected in Suchedniow from the years 1920-1930. 163 shekalim (tokens of membership of the Zionist organization) were sold in Suchedniow in 1930. Members of the Zionist factions and movements were very active in cultural and social activities. Among everything else, they opened a communal library and conducted a drama circle.

The final rabbi of the community was Rabbi Yisrael David Lajnman. The rabbinical judge was Rabbi Avraham Shraga Guterman. A manuscript of his book “Nehora DeAvraham” (“Light of Avraham”) was found after the Holocaust and published by his descendents in 5736 (1973).

In June 1929, a fire broke out in Suchedniow that destroyed 12 Jewish houses and left 20 families without a roof over their heads. The communal leadership collected donations to support them.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, many local Jews attempted to flee eastward. Rabbi Lajnman was among those who fled. He was captured by the Germans, and perished in the Holocaust under unknown circumstances.

Suchedniow fell to the Germans on September 7, 1939, and the persecution of the Jews began. The Germans burst into the synagogue on the Sabbath during the services, removed all the Torah scrolls and forced the Jews

[Page 326]

to set them on fire. Many of the worshippers were taken on that Sabbath for forced labor in the outskirts of the town.

A Judenrat was established in Suchedniow in November 1939, headed by Zelig Warszawsky, one of the communal administrators. In December, a fine of 500,000 Zloty was imposed upon the Jews. In order to assure the payment, the Germans imprisoned 15 members of the community, including the Judenrat members Chaim Reizman and Chaim Rozenberg. The guarantors were freed after the payment. In January 1940, a command was issued ordering the Jews to wear armbands with the Magen David. In April 1940, a group of young Jews from Suchedniow was sent to forced labor in the armaments factory of the Sag Company in Skarzysko Kamienna (see entry).

In February 1941, 2,000 Jews who were deported from Plock were brought to Suchedniow. In June of that year, a ghetto was set up in Suchedniow which included three streets in the center of town. Even though the ghetto was not fenced in, exiting it was forbidden, except for workers who were permitted to leave for work. A Jewish merchant, Yisrael Szapira, who violated this ban, was captured and taken to be killed. A unit for preserving order (ordiensdiesnt), consisting of 40 policeman, was established in the ghetto. After some time, the Germans transferred another 500 Jews from the settlements around Blizin, Samsonow and Bodzentyn to the Suchedniow Ghetto (see entries). The number of residents of the ghetto exceeded 3,000 souls. The crowding, poor living conditions, lack and hunger caused diseases to spread through the ghetto. The Judenrat, assisted by the J.S.S. (Jewish independent assistance) organization in Krakow, opened a public kitchen, an infirmary, and a children's' home.

In June 1942, the Germans enlisted more people to forced labor. Many were sent to new camps in the region of Kielce. A new camp was also set up near Suchedniow, in which hundreds of Jews worked. The commander of this camp was the S.S. man Engelbert Kirschner. The Judenrat had difficulty enlisting the full quota of Jews, 400-500 people, and the Germans went through the houses in the ghetto and snatched anyone whom they saw fit. Only after this incident did the heads of the Judenrat succeed in convincing the residents of the ghetto to present themselves for the requested work in an orderly fashion. In August, hundreds more Jews were brought to the Suchedniow Ghetto from Blizin, Zagnansk, Ustanow and Samsonow, and the number of Jews exceeded 4,000.

On the morning of September 22, 1942, the eve of Yom Kippur, the German and Polish guards surrounded the ghetto. The members of the Jewish police were commanded to take the Jews from their homes and transport them to the market square. The concentration of the deportees and the searching of the houses began at dawn and lasted until the late afternoon. A selection too place in the market square, and the Jews who were fit for work were sent to Skarzysko Kamienna. The rest, some 3,000 people, were forced onto cramped transport trains and transported to the Treblinka death camp.

Following this action, there were still approximately 30 Jews left in Suchedniow who were hidden with the help of forged documents and Polish neighbors. After the crushing of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in September 1944[1], Jews from the I.Y.L underground fighters who had participated in the revolt hid in Suchedniow, through the help of a Polish woman who was a member of the underground, Marja Swicka.


Translator's Footnote

  1. This would not be the major Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which took place in the first half of 1943. It refers to the later Warsaw uprising, which took place in August 1944. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Uprising Return

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