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KALUSZYN , town in Warszawa province, E. central Poland. Jews lived there almost from the date of its foundation and always formed the majority of the population. There was an organized Jewish community from the beginning of the 17th century which established educational and cultural institutions. The most notable rabbi of the community was Meir Shalom Rabinowicz (1896–1902). Mordecai Mottel Mikhelson, one of the wealthiest merchants of the town during the 19th century, assumed the role of shtadlan. The community numbered 1,455 (80% of the total population) in 1827; 6,419 (76%) in 1897; 5,033 (82%) in 1921; 7,256 (82%) in 1931; and approximately 6,500 on the eve of the Holocaust. Jewish economic activity included industrial enterprises, such as pottery, flour mills, the weaving of prayer shawls, the fur trade which employed many Jewish workers, and crafts, notably tailoring and carpentry. The community administration elected in 1924 was composed of six members for *Agudat Israel, five for *Mizrachi, and one Zionist.

[Shimshon Leib Kirshenboim]

Holocaust Period

The German Army entered Kaluszyn on Sept. 11, 1939, after a heavy bombardment and conflagrations that killed around 1,000 Jews. Some 4,000 Jews were then confined 15–20 to a room in the part of the town still standing. In summer 1940 a ghetto was established, including also 1,000 Jewish refugees. On November 25, 1942, around 3,000 were deported to the *Treblinka death camp where they were exterminated. Another group of Jews from Minsk Mazowiecki was then deported to the Kaluszyn ghetto and in December 1942 also sent to Treblinka. The Jewish community was not reconstituted after the war.

[Stefan Krakowski]


T. Brustin-Berenstein, in: bŻih, no. 1 (1952), 83–125, passim.