The Kalish Book

(Kalisz, Poland)

Originally published by the Israel-American Book Committee; Tel Aviv 1968

Published by the JewishGen Press

Project Coordinator: Judy Wolkovitch
Layout and Name Indexing: Jonathan Wind
Cover Design: Rachel Kolokoff-Hoper
Hard Cover, 8.5” by 11”, 444 pages with original photographs.

Available from for $37.00



Kalish was the first city in Poland to have an established Jewish community and its roots run deep. The Jews were inhabitants of that city as early as 1139 and the first synagogue was permitted by King Casimir III in 1358. Over the centuries life was very turbulent. There were fires, epidemics, wars and invasions but until the Second World War the community always managed to rebound.

In the early days the Jews worked in the crafts and became tailors and butchers and when the Church forbade its members to loan money for interest the Jews became bankers and creditors. Between 1655 and 1660 the Swedes invaded Poland and in 1706 the Swedes captured Kalish burning a large portion of the city.

Between 1793 and 1806 Kalish was under the rule of Prussia. The Jewish population numbered about 2100 and by 1857 the number grew to 4,300. Kalish became known for its textile and lace industries and in 1908 thirty-two factories were owned by Jews. Kalish had a very active rabbinical life and the Hasidim of Gur and Kotsk established themselves there.

In 1939 the Judenrat (Jewish council) conducted a census and there were about 18,000 Jews in Kalish. The Jews were moved to a Ghetto and by the end of the year only 600 remained alive there. After the Second World War the few survivors who returned were harassed and murdered by the Poles and gradually all the Jews left mainly for Israel and the United States.

This Yizkor Book serves as a memorial to all the victims of the Shoah from Kalish.


Kalish (Kalisz), Poland is located at 51°45' N 18°05' E and 129 miles WSW of Warszawa

Alternate names: Kalisz [Pol], Kalish [Rus, Yid], Kalisch [Ger], Calisia [Lat], Kolish


Nearby Jewish Communities:

Koźminek 11 miles ENE Warta 24 miles E
Stawiszyn 12 miles N Tuliszków 25 miles NNE
Ostrów Wielkopolski 13 miles WSW Dobra 26 miles ENE
Raszków 15 miles W Turek 26 miles NE
Mikstat 16 miles SSW Krotoszyn 27 miles W
Pleszew 16 miles NW Koźmin 27 miles W
Grabów nad Prosną 16 miles S Kobyla Góra 28 miles SSW
Błaszki 17 miles ESE Jarocin 28 miles WNW
Odolanów 21 miles SW Russocice 30 miles NE
Rychwał 22 miles N Zagórów 30 miles NNW
Kowale Pańskie 24 miles ENE Sieradz 30 miles ESE
Ostrzeszów 24 miles SSW Lututów 30 miles SSE

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