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Stopnica

STOPNICA

STOPNICA , small town near Busko, in Kielce province, central Poland. Jews settled there in the 17th century. They owned 12 houses in the town in 1663. The Jews of Stopnica had certain trading rights in this period and were exempt from services to the governor (starosta). They were granted a royal privilege in 1752 authorizing their communal autonomy and rights to engage in trade and crafts, the latter being regulated by an agreement concluded in 1773 between the leaders of the community and the municipal authorities. The representatives of the province (galil) of *Sandomierz, within the framework of the *Councils of Lands, convened in Stopnica in 1754 and 1759. There were 375 Jews paying the poll tax in Stopnica and 188 in the surrounding villages in 1765. Between 1823 and 1862 the authorities of Congress Poland placed difficulties in the way of Jewish settlement in Stopnica because of its proximity to the Austrian border. In 1869 Stopnica lost its status as a city. During the 19th century *Ḥasidism gained influence within the community.

The Jewish population numbered 1,014 (49% of the total) in 1827; 1,461 (69%) in 1857; 3,134 (71%) in 1897; and 3,328 (76%) in 1921. They were mainly occupied in small-scale trade and crafts, including tailoring, shoemaking, and carpentry, and in carting.

[Shimshon Leib Kirshenboim]

Holocaust Period

During the German occupation Stopnica belonged to the General Government, *Radom District, in Busko County. At the outbreak of World War ii there were about 2,600 Jews in Stopnica. In the course of the fighting the town center – mainly inhabited by Jews – was burnt down. After the Germans entered, shooting Jews on the streets became a common phenomenon. The Jews were compelled to pay a high "contribution" (fine) and in order to ensure payment the Germans took as hostage leading Jewish personalities, some of whom were killed. On the eve of Passover 1940, 13 Jews were dragged from their homes and shot. An "open" ghetto was set up but the Jews were forbidden under penalty of death to leave it. Tailoring workshops were established, providing the craftsmen with some employment and small wages. The number of Jews grew gradually with the influx of deportees and refugees from *Plock, *Gabin, Radom, *Lodz, and *Cracow, and in 1942 from the surrounding villages. By November 1940 there were 3,200 Jews in Stopnica; in May 1941, 4,600; in April 1942, 5,300; and in June 1942, 4,990. On the eve of Passover 1942, the police shot the president of the Judenrat and his son.

On Nov. 5–6, 1942, the liquidation of the ghetto took place. The German police and Ukrainian formations, with the help of the Polish police and the fire-brigade, shot 400 elderly and children at the Jewish cemetery, sent 1,500 young men to labor camps in *Skarzysko-Kamienna, and drove the remainder, about 3,000, on foot to the train station in Szczuczyn (Shchuchin). On the way many were killed. Jews caught in hiding in the ghetto were shot or included in the transport. The victims were sent by train to *Treblinka. In Stopnica itself about 200 young Jewish men and women remained alive, employed in workshops and on road building. This group was sent in January 1943 to labor camps in Sandomierz and Poniatow.

[Danuta Dombrowska]

bibliography:

Halpern, Pinkas, 389, 394, 399, 528; Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego, 11 (1890), 374; R. Mahler, Yidn in Amolikn Poyln in Likht fun Tsifern (1958), index; B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wiekach xix i xx (1930), 54, 71, 76, 78; A. Rutkowski, in: bŻih, no. 15–16 (1955), 148, 174; no. 17–18 (1956), 106–28, passim.

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