views updated


WODZISLAW (Pol. Wodzisław Ślawski ), town in Katowice province, southern Poland. Jewish settlement in Wodzislaw dates from the 17th century. The Jews there mainly engaged in commerce, and a number of wealthy merchants used to do business at the great fairs of Leipzig and Breslau. The community numbered 200 Jewish householders in 1655–56, at the time of the Polish war with Sweden. Toward the end of the 17th and during the 18th centuries, the Wodzislaw community attained considerable influence. It ranked as a principal kehillah within the communal framework (see *Councils of the Lands), and its leaders also took an active part in the affairs of Polish and Lithuanian Jewry as a whole. Rabbis of Wodzislaw include Menahem b. Zalman Gabais, author of Neḥamat Ẓiyyon (Frankfurt, 1677), Joseph Joske b. Herz of Lvov, and Samuel b. Uri Shraga *Phoebus, author of Beit Shemu'el. The Jewish population in Wodzislaw numbered 1,002 in 1765, 1,563 (72.5% of the total) in 1857, 2,667 (73.6%) in 1897, and 2,839 (73.2%) in 1921.

[Nathan Michael Gelber]

Holocaust Period

On the outbreak of World War ii there were about 2,400 Jews in Wodzislaw. In September 1942, 300 Jews from Wodzislaw and its vicinity were deported to the *Treblinka death camp. The Jewish community was liquidated in November 1942 when the remaining 300 Jews were deported to *Sandomierz and shared the fate of that community. After the war the Jewish community of Wodzislaw was not reconstituted.


B. Friedberg, Luḥot Zikkaron (19042); I. Schiper, in: yivo Historishe Shriftn, 1 (1929), 85–114; I. Halpern, Pinkas, index.