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KRYNKI (also Krinki ), town in the province of Bialystok, N.E. Poland. Jews settled in the town during the first half of the 17th century, and by the middle of the century there was already an organized community in Krynki, subordinate to that of Grodno. The royal charter granted to the Jews of Krynki in 1662 authorized them to erect a synagogue, maintain a bathhouse and cemetery, and gave them the right to purchase municipal building plots, houses, and to plow land, own inns, and distill brandy. Such a liberal charter aroused the opposition of the townspeople, but by a compromise of 1669, they agreed to recognize the status of the local Jews, and these documents were confirmed by King Augustus iii in 1745. In order to encourage Jewish commerce, the king ordered the market day to be changed from Saturday to Thursday. In 1680 the Jews paid 150 zlotys in poll tax. The Council of the Land of Lithuania convened in Krynki in 1687. The 1765 census recorded 1,285 poll-tax paying Jews in the town and the surrounding villages.

In 1827 Jewish contractors opened a heavy-wool textile factory, which gave employment to many Jewish workers. There were 1,846 Jews living in the town in 1847. As a result of a succession of fires in 1879, 1882, and 1887, many Jews were ruined and compelled to emigrate. In 1864 Jewish contractors opened tanning workshops and in the 1890s expanded their trade to markets in central Russia (also supplying for the army), Poland, and Germany. About 400 tannery workers founded the Po'alei Ẓedek Union, one of the first Jewish labor unions in Russia, in 1894. In 1897 the Jewish population numbered 3,542 (71% of the total). Just before and during the 1905 Revolution, several political parties were active in the town: the *Bund (c. 250 members), the Social Revolutionaries, and the Anarchists, and from 1905 the *Po'alei Zion. A Jewish worker from Krynki, Sikorski, took part in the attempt on the life of the Russian minister of the interior, V.K. von *Plehve. When the disorders of the 1905 Revolution subsided, the Jewish factory owners and merchants of Krynki organized the Aguddat Aḥim, which led the struggle against the local labor movement. From 1903 an Aguddat Zion group was active in the town, and in 1908 a Ẓe'irei Zion circle was established. During the intermediary period which followed the departure of the German military authorities (autumn 1918), a Jewish revolutionary workers' council seized power in the town. In 1921, the Jewish population of Krynki numbered 3,495 (67% of the total population), of whom about 800 workers were employed in local tanning factories. Jewish delegates constituted a majority in the municipal council, one holding the office of deputy mayor. From 1919 a Hebrew *Tarbut school and a cysho school functioned in the town, and from 1923 a private Hebrew secondary school, and there were also *Maccabi and *Bar Kochba sports clubs. Between the two world wars, branches of all the Jewish parties were to be found in the town; the most powerful were the Bundist circles, the Po'alei Zion, the *Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir, and the *Agudat Israel.

[Arthur Cygielman]

Holocaust Period

There were around 4,000 Jews in Krynki in 1939. During the period of Soviet rule (1939–41), Jewish life changed considerably: the community institutions were dispersed and petty trade was severely restricted, although the Jews continued to play an important role in the leather factory that supplied the whole of Soviet Belorussia. Jewish refugees from German-occupied western Poland found refuge in the city, but most of them were deported to the Soviet interior in the summer of 1940. Krynki was captured by the Germans on June 28, 1941, and on the same day about 30 Jews were shot outside the city. On July 1, 1941, the synagogues were set aflame and burned down with the Torah scrolls still inside. A ghetto was established in December, and disease and starvation claimed many lives. In the spring 1,200 Jews arrived from Brzostowica Wielka, causing a second outbreak of typhoid in the overcrowded ghetto. On November 2, 1942, the Jews were transferred to the Kelbasin transit camp and from there to Treblinka. A group of craftsmen was concentrated in a work camp and was deported to *Auschwitz in June 1943. The last rabbi of Krynki, Hezekiah Joseph Myszkinski, who was elected in 1922, perished in the Holocaust.

[Aharon Weiss]


D. Rabin (ed.), Pinkas Krinki (1970); S. Dubnow (ed.), Pinkas ha-Medinah (1925), index; A. Margolis, Geshikhte fun Yidn in Rusland 17721861 (1930), 280; E. Ringelblum, Di Poylishe Yidn in Oyfshtand fun Kaściuszko 1794 (1937), 198; H. Katz-Blum, Zikhroynes fun a Bundist (1940), 148–50; B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wiekach xix i xx (1930), 83; Ha-Ẓefirah (April 16, 1912); Lite, 1 (1951), 181; Regesty i nadpisi, 3 (1913); Yu. Hessen, in: Yevreyskaya Letopis, 4 (1926), 46; Kh. Korobkov, in: Yevreyskaya Starina, 4 (1911), 555.