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PARCZEW , district capital in the province of Lublin, E. Poland. Since it lay on the border of the kingdom of Poland and the Duchy of Lithuania, it served as the seat of the sessions of the Sejm until 1564, a fact which greatly affected the sources of livelihood of the Jews living there. An organized Jewish community existed from the beginning of the 16th century. In 1564, 11 houses were owned by Jews. Between 1563 and 1570 a violent struggle was waged between the Jewish community and the municipal council, which sought to move Jewish merchants and craftsmen from the center of the town to its suburbs. In 1591 a compromise was reached: The Jews were to remain in their former places of residence in exchange for their consent to bear an equal share of obligations imposed on the town, an arrangement ratified by the king in 1623. In 1654 King John ii Casimir authorized the Jews to build houses, to engage in commerce within the boundaries of the town, and to manufacture alcoholic liquor for their own needs. In 1674 among the 331 townsmen who paid the poll tax, 84 were Jews. The town was severely damaged in the Northern War (1700–21), and by 1718 only four Jews remained in Parczew. In the course of time Jews made an important contribution to the development of the town and its economy. In 1762 Jews owned 47 houses. In 1765 there were 303 Jews who paid the poll tax, including nine bakers, six tailors, six hatters, and one locksmith. In the 29 villages in the vicinity 151 Jews paid the poll tax. Between 1790 and 1795 Jews established tanneries in the town. Under Russian rule there were no restrictions against the residence of Jews in Parczew. In 1827 the community numbered 1,079 (37% of the total population), and by 1857 had increased to 1,692 (about 50% of the total). During the second half of the 19th century, Jews earned their livelihood mainly from tailoring, weaving, and carpentry, as well as from the retail trade in agricultural produce. During this period the influence of *Ḥasidism intensified. In 1921 there were 4,005 Jews (51% of the population) in the town. Between the two world wars, branches of the Zionist parties and youth organizations as well as the *Agudat Israel were active in Parczew.

[Arthur Cygielman]

Holocaust Period

On the outbreak of World War ii there were 5,000 Jews in Parczew. On Sept. 19, 1942, the Germans began to deport the town's Jewish population to the *Treblinka death camp. During this deportation, as well as those from a number of places in the vicinity, several thousand people fled to the Parczew forest (Lasy Parczewskie). Most of them were shot by German armed units, which searched the woods frequently, but a few hundred managed to establish themselves within the forest in a family camp called Altana. A guerrilla battalion under the command of a Jewish officer, Alexander Skotnicki, operated in the Parczew forest. Its largest detachment was a Jewish guerrilla company commanded by Jechiel Grynszpan. When the Parczew region was liberated (at the end of July 1944), about 150 Jewish partisans and about 200 survivors of the Jewish family camp, which existed thanks to the defense provided by the Jewish partisans, left the forest.

[Stefan Krakowski]


R. Mahler, Yidn in Amolikn Poyln in Likht fun Tsifern (1958), index; Warsaw, Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych, Lustracje woj. lubelskiego (1660), pp. 49, 58; ibid. for. (1762), p. 40; Lodz, Archiwum Państwowe, Archiwum Kossowskich z Glogowy, no. V-29/1; W.A.P. Lublin, Kzięgi gródzkie lubelskie księgi miasta Parczewa (= cahjp, Ḥm 7049, 6706); B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wiekach xiv i xx (1930), 34; I. Schiper (ed.), Dzieje handlu żydowskiego na ziemiach polskich (1937), index; M. Zakrzewska-Dubasowa, Parczew w xvxviii wieku (1962), 26, 27, 28, 40, 46–48; T. Brustin-Bernstein, in: Bleter far Geshikhte, 3, no. 1–2 (1950), 51–78.