History of the Jewish Community The Jewish kehilla in Jodłowa [1.1]was established in the 19th century, although the first Jews had been reported in the village already in the 18th century. The first mention of a Jewish family living in Jodłowa comes from 1765. A research concerning the oldest traces of Jews leads us to the two court inns leased by Jews in the 17th century. Most probably one of them was located in the western part of the village and the second one in the southern, closer to the church and the hospital for the poor. It was in the second inn that an anonymous author, nicknamed Januarius Sowizdralius, set the action of his work, which belongs to the ‘sowizdrzał’ (Till Eulenspiegel) trend in Polish literature.[1.2] However, Jews began to settle down regularly in Jodłowa in the second half of the 19th century and it was a result of social and economic changes in Galicia. To begin with 1846 when serfdom was abolished, Jews had the opportunity to buy land from the impoverished gentry and to sell it to peasants. In 1867, on the other hand, when the emperor’s ukase, allowing Jews to live Galician towns was abolished, Jews could move freely within the boundaries of Galicia. Jews were never the dominating population in the village. In 1781 the Jewish population amounted to 60 people, whereas in 1799 to 99. In 1882 the total number of inhabitants in Jodłowa was 3,282, and 280 of them were Jewish[1.3].There was a Jewish cemetery within the municipality’s boundaries, located in a village named Wisiowa. Besides, a wooden synagogue was situated in the village center. Jakub Rotenberg was rabbi there. The following villages belonged to the registry district of Jodłowa: Demborzyn, Dembowa, Dzwonowa, Jodłowa, Lubcza, Przeczyca, Wola Lubecka and Zagórze whereas Skurowa belonged to the Jodłowa district until 1876, and it was subsequently attached to the registry district in Brzostek, County of Pilzno .[1.4]

In 1900 the kehilla numbered 382 members.[1.1.4] Data from a census carried on in 1921 mention 306 people of Jewish origin, which constituted about 8 % of the total population .[1.5] In time the Jewish population gradually decreased, mainly of the due to economic reasons – Jews emigrated to larger towns. Before World War II the number of Jewish residents amounted to approximately 200 people[1.6] , while in 1939 only to 195.

Jews from Jodłowa dealt mainly with trade - there were several greengrocer’s shops and a department store located in the village center. Jews called: Uszer, Ferlag and Hyl ran inns. According to Ms. Irena from Przeczyca - who was interviewed by Ms. Agnieszka Kaczka[1.7] only one Jewish family in Jodłowa took farming and animal farming for a living. Jews dealing with trade often sold goods on credit to local residents and then claimed their rights in court. In the opinion of Ms. Irena many Polish peasants lost the remains of their belongings first buying flour and corn on credit from Jews and then spending time in the Jewish inn - also on credit. According to Ms.Irena „the whole trade was in Jewish hands. There were no jobs for goys. Jews divided the village into sectors, where they traded, and no Catholic merchant could sneak in there”. [1.1.7] The more affluent Jews made „business” [1.8]also with the landlord – they lent him money for investments and the current expenses of the court. The relations between Christians and Jews were correct as far as religion was concerned. „Catholics did not interfere with Jews ...I had myself a Jewish friend and we exchanged bread at school. I remember that she had liked my whole meal bread and I liked her white bread. Jews ate matzoth and sour beetroot soup”[1.9]

According to data from June 20, 1924, in the interwar period the Jewish kehilla was represented by: Kalb Majer - president and the following members: Spett Aszer, Lehrhaupt Ohiel, Schenker Leib, Teitenbaum Iszel, Bochner Samuel – all the members of the board came from Orthodox groups.

Shortly before the war, already in 1938 the new building of the elementary school in Wisiowa, with three classrooms, was constructed. The wood for that building was taken from a Jewish inn which had been previously pulled down. The school was preserved until the mid 1920s.

During the war the Nazis destroyed and profaned the synagogue, they ordered to burn the Holy Books .[1.10] Jewish residents of Jodłowa were used as forced laborers for the Third Reich. In 1941 a ghetto was established in the village for Jewish residents. „They were taken for forced labor to Pustkowie - they were driven in cars and ordered to sing on their way....When the weather was frosty they were forced to bathe in the pond....trade ended, many Jews closed their businesses. ” The ghetto was inhabited mainly by local Jews from Jodłowa – as there were ghettos in Jasło, Brzostek, Kołaczyce, Żmigród, Osiek and Ołpiny in the neighborhood. In summer 1942, mass extermination of Jews started in most ghettos. Jews were taken to mass extermination camps or they were murdered on spot.

During the memorable Day of August 12,1942 farmers were finishing their delayed harvests. All Jews were dragged out of their houses – also one professor from Łódź - and a column was formed which then marched through Jodłowa Dolna to the boundary of the wood in Przeczyce – the weak, the handicapped and children were carried by two carts. One carter recalled: when they arrived there they were ordered to take off their clothes while standing by a pit dug in the ground. The Germans shot them one after the other and pushed into the pit.[1.11] Other people said that they had to take off their clothes and stand by the pit which they had previously dug by themselves. The Nazis took gold rings off their fingers and they extracted gold teeth from their mouths. It was a terrifying view. At the end they were shot.”[1.12] The extermination of Jews from Jodłowa was carried on in the woods in Przeczyce in August 1942 when 165 people of Jewish origin from the nearby ghetto in Jodłowa were shot (or 167 according to A. Potocki). To commemorate the spot of their burial a monument was erected in the execution place in the 1950s. It was financed by z ZBOWiD (Union of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy) from Jodłowa. According to Andrzej Potocki the date on the monument is not correct, because it was Jews from Brzostek that were shot on August 12, 1942, but it took place in the Podzamcze wood near Kołaczyce. In the same period over 1,200 people from the ghetto in Nowy Żmigród were executed in the wood near Hałbów.

On their way, in the Przyczyce wood, German soldiers killed 21 people. Two Jews escaped from the execution place: Hersz Gelb and Josek Lazur, who survived the occupation thanks to the help of local people. According to the report of local people Herszko, before his escape shouted: Madonna from Przeczyce save my life – after the war he expressed his gratitude in the church in Jodłowa . In August 1942 the Germans murdered the next 22 people, who had been hiding in different places. Several Polish families were also killed for helping Jews. Some Jews were hiding in the church’s bell tower, which was known and approved by the parish priest Jan Starzak and Jan Karaś, others were hiding in barns and woods.[1.1.1] Part of the Jews from Jodłowa (27 people) were hidden by local farmers during the war period. One year in the Christmas period a local Jew called Herszko, who was in hiding, knocked at farm doors disguised as a Christmas carol singer and asked for food.

Agnieszka Kaczka mentions the names of Jews hidden by Polish farmers in her book: Wojciech hid Chaim Abramek and Rózia Szpett Stanisława, maiden name Burza, Nawracaj kept: Heszek Gimplonk and Maszelajda (a Jewish woman with a child) Zofia Studmarz - kept Maria Berger and Mojżesz Maria Teresa - Pacana, Matysiki, Helena Lerman, Jakub Wurcel Zając – kept Salcia Wolf, Lejb, Makies [1.13]

Several Polish families were killed for helping Jews, in it the whole Filipiak family.

Finally Leon Świerczak needs to be mentioned - his family was granted the medal Righteous among the Nations. In 1990 the title was granted to Leon Świerczek (born on 05.04.1897, died 12.01.1977) whereas on March16,1992 the title Righteous among the Nations was granted to Leon Świerczk’s children:

  • Kazimierz Świerczek (born on 01.12.1920)
  • Czesława Laska maiden name Świerczek (born on 26.01.1922)
  • Stanisław Świerczek (born 24.06.1924)
  • Maria Świerczek (born 10.02.1928)

The family of Mr. Leon Świerczyk hid on his farm the following people during the war: Abraham Pariser (born 10.12.1898 in Jodłowa – died 11.11.1989 in California), Sara Pariser, (maiden name Gittle, born 11.03.1903 in Jodłowa – died 19.04.1990 in California), Jan Pariser (born on 14.12.1929 in Jodłowa), Róża Pariser (her husband’s name: Czacki Schwartz, born on 28.12.1925 in Jodłowa) and Hesiek / Heszko (no other data).[1.14]

After the war Jews did not recreate their kehilla in Jodłowa- even if they came they stayed several days in the neighborhood and then their fate took them further west, to the USA or Israel.

Nowadays the only trace of the presence of Jews in Jodłowa is the historical Jewish cemetery and the monument dedicated to the tragic events that had taken place in the Przeczyce wood.

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Footnotes
  • [1.1] Description from Agnieszka Kaczka – description of Jews based on the memories of the residents of Przeczyca and Jodłowa and historical sources. Edited in February II/2004 document’s reference no. 12
  • [1.2] Definition of sowizdrzał – a joker, embodying common wisdom and sense of humor,
  • [1.3]  http://dir.icm.edu.pl/pl/Slownik_geograficzny/Tom_III/595 (December 15, 2009) Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich, Vol. III, p. 595
  • [1.4] Michalewicz Jerzy, Żydowskie okręgi metrykalne i żydowskie gminy wyznaniowe w Galicji doby autonomicznej, Kraków 1995, p. 93
  • [1.1.4] Michalewicz Jerzy, Żydowskie okręgi metrykalne i żydowskie gminy wyznaniowe w Galicji doby autonomicznej, Kraków 1995, p. 93
  • [1.5] http://data.jewishgen.org/wconnect/wc.dll?jg~jgsys~shtetm~-505957
  • [1.6] http://www.ziemia-jasielska.gal.pl/18.html, (December 15 2009) http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:UU1kKCGm0g8J:www.muzeum.tarnow.pl/artykul.php%3Fid%3D36%26typ%3D5+jod%C5%82owa+dolna+%C5%BCydzi&cd=4&hl=pl&ct=clnk&gl=pl&client=firefox-a (December 15, 2009)
  • [1.7] Interview with Ms. Irena from Przeczyce conducted by Agnieszka Kaczka – description of Jews based on the memories of the residents of Przeczyca and Jodłowa and historical sources. Edited in February II/2004, document’s reference no. 12
  • [1.1.7] Interview with Ms. Irena from Przeczyce conducted by Agnieszka Kaczka – description of Jews based on the memories of the residents of Przeczyca and Jodłowa and historical sources. Edited in February II/2004, document’s reference no. 12
  • [1.8] Interview with Ms. Franciszka Zając from Jodłowa granted to Agnieszka Kaczka – description of Jews based on the memories of the residents of Przeczyca and Jodłowa and historical sources. Edited in February II/2004 document’s reference no. 12
  • [1.9] Interview with Ms. Irena from Przeczyce conducted by Agnieszka Kaczka – description of Jews based on the memories of the residents of Przeczyca and Jodłowa and historical sources. Edited in February II/2004 document’s reference no. 12
  • [1.10] Holy books were burnt in the square and a Jew called Luzer Mied mixed it with a stick to make them burn thoroughly –interview with Ms. Franciszka Zając from Jodłowa granted to Agnieszka Kaczka – description of Jews based on the memories of the residents of Przeczyca and Jodłowa and historical sources. Edited in February II/2004 document’s reference no. 12
  • [1.11] Description based on the interview conductyed by Agnieszka Kaczka –description of Jews based on the memories of the residents of Przeczyca and Jodłowa and historical sources. Edited in February II/2004 document’s reference no. 12
  • [1.12] Interview with Irena from Przeczyce granted to Agnieszka Kaczka – description of Jews based on the memories of the residents of Przeczyca and Jodłowa and historical sources. Edited in February 2004, document’s reference no. 12
  • [1.1.1] Description from Agnieszka Kaczka – description of Jews based on the memories of the residents of Przeczyca and Jodłowa and historical sources. Edited in February II/2004 document’s reference no. 12
  • [1.13] Interview with Irena from Przeczyce conducted by Agnieszka Kaczka – description of Jews based on the memories of the residents of Przeczyca and Jodłowa and historical sources. Edited in February 2004 document’s reference no. 12
  • [1.14] http://www.sprawiedliwi.org.pl/?id=126&a=osobalist&akc=OPRACOWANIE&cid=4 , A detailed report was based on: interview with Marią Świerczek conducted by Magdalena Maślak in March 2009, report no. YV 349/1660 and YV 349/ 1148 deposited in the archive of the Jewish Historical Institute, autobiography of Jan Pariser written in 2006 and given to the Museum of History of Polish Jews by Maria Świerczek