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ZYCHLIN (Pol. Ẓychlin ), town in Lodz province, near *Kutno, central Poland. A Jewish community existed in Zychlin from the 18th century and in 1765 there were 311 Jews paying the poll tax. In 1780 a synagogue was erected, following a special permit from the archbishop of Gniezno. In 1880 it was replaced by a stone building. There were no restrictions on Jewish settlement in Zychlin. The community numbered 457 (57% of the total population) in 1808; 782 (61%) in 1827; 1,062 (66%) in 1857; 2,268 (47%) in 1897; and 2,701 (40%) in 1921.

[Shimshon Leib Kirshenboim]

Holocaust Period

About 3,500 Jews lived in Zychlin in 1939, forming approximately 50% of the total population. The town fell to the German forces on Sept. 17, 1939, and on the following day all the Jewish men were driven to a village 15 miles away, but after detention in a church for three days were released. In April 1940 the Polish and Jewish intellectuals, especially teachers, were arrested and deported to German concentration camps. The number of Jews was reduced to 2,800 by April 1940. A ghetto was established in July 1940 on a swampy area on the outskirts of the town. The ghetto population increased to 3,500, when a group of Jews deported from a nearby town arrived in Zychlin. The ghetto was not fenced in, so that there was some contact with the outside world. The German police could easily be bribed to facilitate some trade. Members of the *Judenrat and certain other Jews were allowed to leave the ghetto during the day. Labor detachments had to be supplied by the Judenrat almost daily. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee supplied relief to the poor and the refugees, but no public kitchen could be organized, and as a result of malnutrition a typhoid epidemic broke out in the ghetto. The regime in the ghetto became more severe in 1942 and those who tried to leave the confines of the ghetto were killed. In February 1942 the German police surrounded and broke into the ghetto, killing hundreds of Jews in the streets, among them most of the Judenrat members and their families. The Jewish police were also liquidated in this Aktion. On Purim (March 3) 1942, the Jewish population was assembled in the market place and 3,200 persons were loaded on carts; anyone too weak to climb up on the carts was shot on the spot. The entire Jewish population of Zychlin was thus dispatched to the *Chelmno death camp and murdered.

[Danuta Dombrowska]


Halpern, Pinkas, index; B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wiekach xix i xx (1930), 21; Y. Trunk, in: Bleter far Geshikhte, 2:1–4 (1949), 64–166; D. Dabrowska, in: bŻih, 13–14 (1955).

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