Minsk Mazowiecki

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MINSK MAZOWIECKI (Pol. Mińsk Mazowiecki ), town in E. central Poland. Minsk Mazowiecki received urban status in the first half of the 15th century, but Jewish settlement did not develop there until the close of the 18th century. From the beginning, and particularly during the second half, of the 19th century, the number of Jews increased until they were the majority in the town. In 1827 there were 260 Jews in a general population of 770, while by 1864 they numbered 620 (46.3% of the total population). In 1897 there were 3,445 Jews (55.6%). During World War i the number of Jews decreased as a result of migration to Warsaw and other large centers. In 1921 the Jewish population numbered 4,130 (39.3%). During the period between the two world wars the Polish population increased considerably, while the Jewish population grew at a slower rate. On the eve of World War ii, 5,845 Jews lived there.

The Jewish community was not at first independent; at the close of the 18th century the rabbi also served the Kaluszyn community. During the 19th century hasidic groups such as those of Gur (*Gora Kalwaria) and Parysow gained in strength, and the court of the ẓaddik of Minsk Mazowiecki was established by R. Jacob Perlov at the close of the 19th century. After World War i his successor, the ẓaddik Alter Israel Simeon, removed his seat to Warsaw. There were eight Jews among the 24 members of the municipal council elected in 1927. The Jewish population's political affiliations may be deduced from the 1931 elections to the community council, which included seven members of *Agudat Israel, four craftsmen, and one member of right *Po'alei Zion. The Jews of Minsk Mazowiecki earned their livelihood principally from small trade and crafts. During the 1930s they aroused the jealousy of the Polish tradesmen and craftsmen, who declared an economic war on them. As a result of this struggle, severe anti-Jewish riots broke out in May 1936, which were fomented by the antisemitic *Endecja party and destroyed the means of livelihood of the Jews. Antisemitic agitation was particularly violent in the town on the eve of World War ii.

[Shimshon Leib Kirshenboim]

Holocaust Period

In 1940 about 2,000 Jews from Pabianice, Kalisz, and Lipno were forced to settle in Minsk Mazowiecki. In August 1940 a ghetto was established and on Aug. 21, 1942, the great aktion in Minsk Mazowiecki took place when about 1,000 were shot on the spot. Almost all of the rest of the Jewish population was transferred to the *Treblinka death camp and exterminated there. Only two groups of workers in the town were left: one, with about 150 men, was transferred to a camp in the Rudzki factory; and the second, with over 500 men, was placed in a camp in the Kopernik school building. Another several hundred succeeded in fleeing the town. Some of them organized small partisan units which became mixed Jewish-Russian units and operated for some time in the region. On Dec. 24, 1942, the Germans shot 218 workers from the Kopernik camp. On Jan. 10, 1943, this camp was liquidated. On the same day the Jewish prisoners offered armed resistance, during which a few Germans were killed or wounded. On June 5, 1943, the camp in the Rudzki factory was liquidated and all its inmates were shot. No Jewish community in Minsk Mazowiecki was reconstituted.

[Stefan Krakowski]


T. Brustin-Berenstein, in: bŻih, 1 (1952), 83–125, passim. add. bibliography: Sefer Minsk Mazowiecki (1977).