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DZIALOSZYCE , town in S. central Poland; passed into Austria in 1795 after the third partition of Poland, and to Russia after 1915; from 1919 in Poland. From 1765 it had a considerable Jewish majority. The community numbered 651 in 1765; 2,514 (83% of the total population) in 1856; 3,526 (76.5%) in 1897; 5,618 (83.3%) in 1921; and about 7,000 (80%) in 1939. Tanning, brickmaking, and tailoring were the principal occupations of the community. After World War i Jews in Dzialoszyce owned about 78 clothing stores, six tanneries, and brick kilns. In 1930 the artisans established an authorized union to protect their status and assist their members in obtaining recognized technical diplomas. Although efforts were made to reconstruct life in 1937, it had not returned to normal before the German occupation in World War ii.

[Shimshon Leib Kirshenboim]

Holocaust Period

The German army entered on September 7–8, 1939, and the anti-Jewish terror began. In 1941 about 5,000 Jews from *Cracow, *Warsaw, *Lodz, *Poznan, and Lask were deported to Dzialoszyce, swelling the population to 12,000. In June 1941 Jews were forbidden to leave the town, but no closed ghetto was established. On September 2, 1942, the Germans carried out the first Aktion against the Jews. At least several hundred succeeded in fleeing to the surrounding forests and 800 were selected for the labor camps, but up to 2,000 unfit to travel were murdered in the local cemetery and about 15,000 were sent to Michow en route to Belzec. Several hundred Jews were allowed to remain in Dzialoszyce.


Those Jews from Dzialoszyce who fled into the woods joined other Jewish runaways from Pinczow and other places in the vicinity. A number of Jewish partisan groups were formed to resist actively the German police search units and Polish antisemitic gangs. The biggest partisan units were those organized by Zalman Fajnsztat and Michael Majtek. They united to form the guerrilla unit "Zygmunt," which was recognized by the Polish People's Guard. This unit fought the Nazis and provided armed cover for hundreds of Jews hiding in the forest until February 1944, when it suffered great losses in a battle near the village of Pawlowice. The surviving Jewish partisans joined different Polish guerrilla units, but only a few of them were still alive by the time of the liberation of Dzialoszyce region from the Germans (January 1945). The Jewish community in Dzialoszyce was not reconstituted after the war. The town retains a 19th-century synagogue built in the classic style.

[Stefan Krakowski]


Yad Vashem Archives; Sefer Yizkor shel kehilath Dzialoszyc ve-ha-Seviva (1977).