It has proved impossible to define the exact period when the first Jews settled in Borowa. In 1886, there were 116 Jewish people in the village, while in 1921 – 186. In 1918, Jewish shops were plundered by the local population and residents of the surrounding villages.

In the interwar period, the Jews of Borowa had two prayer houses and a mikveh. They belonged and paid taxes to the religious community of Radom. However, they consulted the rabbi from Mielec in religious and ritual matters. The dead were buried at the Jewish cemetery in Radomyśl Wielki or Mielec.[1.1]

In the interwar period, Jews from Borowa had their own rabbi, Eleazar Naftali Rufszyc (Rufshitz), who resided in Mielec. He perished during the Holocaust. There was a shochet uvodek in the town – a ritual butcher who made sure animals were slaughtered in accordance with kosher laws and who also performed the functions of the rabbi. He also served the inhabitants of the surrounding villages, including Czermin, inhabited by 80 Jews.[1.1.1]

After a series of anti-Semitic incidents in 1918, the Zionist movement was consolidated in Borowa. Zionist activists founded the Tikvat Israel library, which served as a cultural centre for the local youth. There was also a drama club in the town. The local population could attend evening Hebrew lessons as well as lectures and receptions held in the library. At the outbreak of World War II, only one Zionist organisation operated in Borowa – the Bnei Akiva youth movement.[1.2]

Borowa was seized by Germans in 1939. Soon afterwards, all Jewish property was confiscated. In October, Jews were ordered to wear bands with the Star of David and forced to perform slave labour. Jewish farmers from the area were ordered to surrender a portion of their produce to the occupier. Later, in 1942, their land was confiscated.[1.1.2]

In June 1942, the Germans murdered 19 local Jews. On 17 July 1942, ca. 400 Jews from Borowa and surrounding villages were shot in the Pławski Forest. A commemorative plaque dedicated to their memory has been placed on the façade of the local department store.

The remaining Jews were driven on foot to Radomyśl Wielki. The elderly and the ill were murdered in an "action" on 19 July 1942. The survivors were transported to Dębica and then to the Majdanek concentration camp.[1.3] The archive of the Yad Vashem Institute contains a testimony of Barbara Lichtig discussing the deportation of Jews from Borowa.

On 16 August 1942, 40 Jews from Mielec were shot in Borowa. In the autumn of 1942, 10 Jews were murdered in Ostrówek near Borowa, while 27 more people were killed in the nearby village of Pławno. In February 1943, eight Jews were discovered in hiding and murdered in Sadkowa Góra.

Bibliography

  • “Borowa,” [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, vol. 1, eds. Sh. Spector, G. Wigoder, New York 2001, p. 173.
  • “Borowa,” [in:] Pinkas Hakehillot Polin, vol. 3, Jerusalem 1984 [online] https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/pinkas_poland/pol3_00071a.html [Accessed: 22 Mar 2020].
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