The first representatives of the Jewish people settled in Myszyniec in the 18th century - in 1774, 23 Jews (0.5% of the total population of the town) lived in the local parish, and 43 years later as many as 310 (3.1%). In 1827, 364 people of Jewish origin lived in the town itself. In the mid-19th century, there was already a well-organized Jewish community, and for some time its members attended the synagogue in Ostrołęka. They constructed their own synagogue in 1855. At that time, the community included 120 families (741 people), it employed an assistant rabbi, a cantor and a teacher. There was a mikveh and a school in the town. The Jewish community of Myszyniec had its own cemetery. There was also a shtiebel. Hasidim of Myszyniec had a separate shtiebel, located in a house given to them by Reuven Krieger.

In the interwar period, the Jews of Myszyniec were mostly earning their living as craftsmen and merchants. At the end of the 1920s, 20 Jewish shoemakers worked in the town; in 1931, 7 out of 9 local bakeries belonged to Jews. It is also known that there was a Jewish sewing machine store in the town. Chaim Ipeles, Mosze Papurza, Icchak née Lejzor, Eli "Pemp", Czombe and "Derszyl" earned money as coachmen. Awraham Lejb Alterman, Gedaljahu Tikolsker, Mosze Josel Krieger, Hersz Ber Laska and Szlomo Laska had a steam mill in Myszyniec.

Children were taught in cheders run, among others, by Szmuel Rafael Ice and Moshe Galina. Girls could study in the Bais Jaakov school, while the boys attended the local yeshiva.

There was a charity fund under the management of Mosze Lejb Blum. The sick were looked after by the Linat ha-Cedek charity brotherhood. Anyone who wanted to support Jewish settlement in Palestine could contribute to the Keren Kayemet LeYisrael fund, whose local representative was Zeew Jerushalmi (Jeruzalimski).

The rabbi in Myszyniec was Jehuda Lejb Analik (or Anolik), a Torah expert and a very orthodox man, opposed to any deviation from religious principles and fighting against everything that in his opinion could lead to it: theatre, immodest dress, inappropriate books. Rumour had it that he burned the books collected by Iczy Blumsztejn in the first library in Myszyniec, as he considered their content unacceptable to a religious Jew. However, he was also sensitive to the needs of others and ready to help. He did not charge the poor for the court fees. If a wealthy man was in the dispute with the poor, he would be also released from payment, so as not to embarrass the poor with a one-sided gesture. On his initiative, a yeshiva was established in Myszyniec, where several dozen boys from the town and the surrounding area were taught. Rabbi Analik and assistant rabbi Berek Jabłonowicz were members of the local branch of Agudat Israel, and they were particularly active in the 1920s. Apart from the rabbi and the assistant rabbi, Mosze Galina and Eli Lerman were among Agudat activists.

Zeew Jeruzalimski, the owner of a small oil factory, was the founder and head of the local branch of the Mizrachi religious Zionist organization, heavily involved in the party's activities. Another important activist was Fajwel Beckerman, a Hebrew teacher. The organization also had a youth club, HeHaluc haMizrachi, headed by Mosze Blumsztejn and Szalom Marcus.

At the instigation of Icchak Blumsztejn, a General Zionist unit was established in Myszyniec. Netta Kramer, Berel Ulert, Mosze Perec and Bercie Werman became its members. Jechiel Alterman, Jakow Perec, Szymon Kac, Y. L. Zyman organized the local branch of Poalei Syion. There was also a group associated with Poalei Zion Left, led by Fiszel Tobjasz. Jewish youth with Zionist sympathies were active in He-Chaluc and HeHalutz Hatzair units. The activists of these movements were, among others Zelig Baruch Kramer, Jakow Perec, Azriel Elichowski, Dawid Perec, Mosze Bergman and Dina Laska-Technay.

Zionist activists organized libraries in the town and also established a local drama club. Its director was Icchak Gerber, and the performers were: Baruch Kramer, Mosze Perec, Szejna Alterman, Jakow Perec, Frida Krieger, Rajchela Weisman. The town also hosted performances by traveling theatres.

That is what Tikolsker and Blumsztejn wrote about social relations in Myszyniec in the Book of Kehilat Ostrolenka: "Myszyniec was a town of unity - «all for one and one for all» as the following story shows. Once, Icchak Eli brought a wagon loaded with flour from Chorzel (35 km from Myszyniec), which he wanted to sell in Myszyniec. The sale was sluggish and the wagoner, a farmer from a nearby town, lost his patience and began to throw the sacks off the wagon in the middle of the street. Icchak Eli was helpless. The townspeople saw it. In an instant, men and women, big and small, gathered and got to the goy, unhitched his horse from the wagon and took his reins - until the peasant begged for mercy and promised to behave properly in the future. This incident caused a stir in the town and only strengthened the unity of the inhabitants."

In the same source you can find an interesting remark about the language of the Jews of Myszyniec: even though the town was in the Ostrołęka district, the pronunciation of the local Jews was closer to what could be heard in Łomża: "geet" instead of "goot", "je" instead of "jo", "azey" instead of "azoy". The authors see here the influence of Polish dialects from the surrounding areas.

Many Jews of Myszyniec were murdered at the very beginning of World War II. The remaining were deported to ghettos in other places.

Bibliography

  • Blumsztejn M., My Town [online] https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/ostrolenka1/ost308.html [dostęp: 08.03.2021].
  • Mironczuk J., Społeczność żydowska w okręgu bóźniczym w Ostrołęce do okresu powstania styczniowego, “Zeszyty Naukowe Ostrołęckiego Towarzystwa Naukowego" folio 21 (2007), pp. 43–73.
  • Myszyniec, [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, eds Spector S., Wigoder G., vol. 2: K–Sered, New York 2001, p. 864.
  • Szczepański J., Społeczność żydowska Mazowsza w XIX–XX wieku, Pułtusk 2005, pp. 65,114,255,320,327
  • Tikolsker G., Blumsztejn M., Myszyniec [online] https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/ostrolenka1/ost308.html [access: March 6, 2021].

 

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