Very little information about the Jewish community in Lasocin has been preserved until the present day. A small group of Jews probably settled there in the second half of the 17th century. First references to local Jewish residents date back to 1676 and concern three taxpayers. The slow rate of growth of the population may indicate that Lasocin offered few opportunities to Jews. Ca. 120 years later, only one Jewish family lived in the town – the family of the local innkeeper. They were members of the Jewish community of Tarnów.

The year 1822 saw the establishment of Synagogue Supervision in the territory of the Kingdom of Poland. It was a Jewish administrative body which in theory was meant to defend people from oppressive practices of kehillot, but was in fact founded mainly to limit the autonomy of individual communities. Lasocin became part of the supervision in Ożarów.[1.1]

Since the early 20th century, Jews living in Lasocin were subordinate to the Jewish community in Ożarów, which had a total of 4,000 members.[1.2] Every now and then, conflicts would arise between the representatives of Lasocin Jews and the Ożarów kehilla. This was due to the poor financial standing of the Lasocin community, which had accrued significant debt and was unable to pay contributions to Ożarów in due time.

The Lasocin community did not grow much in size in the period of the Second Polish Republic. Jews would settle mainly around the Market Square and lived primarily off trade. They ran stores with groceries, industrial goods, beer, lemonade, and sweets. A small group of local Jewish residents traded in timber.

Janina Gniaź, a regional researcher, discovered that one of the tenements on the southern side of the Market Square was inhabited by the Jewish Boksenbaum family. However, they soon sold their property and migrated from the town. Their former house was purchased by Michał Szafraniec. Among his neighbours were the Miernik and the Lejzorowicz families. There were also three Jewish sisters living in Lasocin with their families. One of them, named Kiestenbaum, ran a grocery store, whilst her husband was a carpenter. The other family – the Rappaports – owned a plot of land housing a prayer house and a Jewish school. The husband of the third sister was Jankiel Sznold. The couple ran a textiles shop and provided linen tailoring services.

Other inhabitants of the town were Szlama Bachman, a carpenter and a glazier by profession. Jankiel Linden and his wife ran a grocery store. They employed a shop assistant, Małka Jolówna. Szmul Miernik, called “Żółty” (Yellow) because of his yellow beard, was engaged in cattle trade. Other known names are Lejba Wronemberg with the family; Haskiel with the family; Hana with the family.

The following people were obliged to pay the community contribution to the Ożarów kehilla in 1930: Boksenbaum Moszek (contribution amount: 5 zlotys), Blachman Benjamin Lejzor (2), Blachman Szlama (2), Kiestenbaum Moszek (2), Lejzorowicz Izrael (2), Linden Jankiel (10), Miernik Szmyl, son of Berek (1), Miernik Szmul (2), Nisenbaum Basia (10), Nisenbaum Motel (10), Nieskier Herszek (5), Niesental Zysel (3), Nomberg Jankiel (3), Nusbauma Szlama (3), Orensztajn Kopel (20), Orensztajn Lejzor (3), Orensztajn Zelman (10), Orensztajn Rachla (5), Orensztajn Icek (2), Orensztajn Jankiel, son of Rachla (2), Pik Icek (5), Pik Chaim (3), Pik Nusyn Plichtentajn (2), Lejbuś Plichtentajn (8), Hersz Lejb (2), Rosenberg Judka (3).

In 1933, Chil Miernik and Boksenbaum Moszek, both manual labourers, were exempt from paying the contribution. Only three years earlier, the latter had been able to pay the fee, though only its lowest rate set at 5 zlotys. However, according to Janina Gniaź, the material standing of Jews in Lasocin was slightly better than that of the Catholics, who were mainly engaged in agriculture. The soils around Lasocin were infertile and rendered poor crops, thus bringing the farmers little profit.

During World War II, the Jewish population of Lasocin and its environs was transported to Ożarów alongside many people from bigger cities – Łódź, Włocławek, or even Vienna.

A ghetto was established in Ożarów as late as January 1942. It was not fenced, but Jews were forbidden to leave the area under threat of being shot. After the arrival of all refugees, the ghetto had a total population of 4,648 people.

Some of the Jews – those who were able to pay exorbitantly high bribes – were sent to work outside the ghetto. Others worked locally, at the repair of the road from Opatów to Ożarów or in agriculture. In early September 1942, a group of ca. 700 men was sent to work in the HASAG factory in Skarżysko-Kamienna. Just like most ghettoes in the towns of the pre-war Kieleckie Province, the Jewish quarter in Ożarów was liquidated at the end of October 1942. At that time, most of its residents were women, children, and the elderly – ca. 4,500 people in total. They were sent to the extermination camp in Treblinka. Some Jews managed to escape on the way to the camp, fleeing from the train station in Jasice. They hid in the forests or found shelter at Polish households. A group of 25 people was left in Ożarów and tasked with tidying up the former ghetto premises. Having completed the works, they were shot.

Most of the buildings in Lasocin’s Market Square were destroyed during the Soviet offensive. Their remnants were dismantled after the war and the plots of land were merged. A school was erected at the site.

Bibliography

  • Gniaź J., Lasocin. Wczoraj i dziś. Kronika, Ożarów 2011.
  • Guldon Z., Krzystanek K., Ludność żydowska w miastach lewobrzeżnej części województwa sandomierskiego w XVIXVII wieku, Kielce 1990.
  • Kiryk F., “W epoce staropolskiej,” [in:] Ożarów. Dzieje miasta i gminy, Kraków 2009
  • Kraemer J., “Ożarów,” [in:] Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos 19391945, vol. 2, Ghettos in German-Occupied Eastern Europe, eds. P. Megargee, M. Dean, Bloomington 2012.
  • Myjak J., W krainie lessu i białych skał, Sandomierz 2005.
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Footnotes
  • [1.1] State Archives in Radom, Governorate of Radom, MS 4362, p. 49.er.
  • [1.2] State Archives in Kielce, Kielce Provincial Office I, Religious Statistics, ref. no. 1763, fol. 118.