Jews started to settle in Lubień in the second half of the 18th century. The local kehilla was established sometime in the early 19th century. In 1860, a rabbi was employed by the community. In the interwar period, the kehilla comprised all inhabitants of the Lubień Municipality. Almost all community members lived in Lubień itself, only individual Jews inhabited the nearby manor estates (Kobyla Łąka, Narty, Grabiny, Kaliska) and villages (Gagów, Modlibórz, Kłóbka Kamienna, Rutkowice, Kąty).

From the very beginning of their presence in the town, Jews played an important part in the local economic life. In the 19th century, they were the dominant force in the local trade, mainly in commodities sold by ell and in cloth as well as in cattle and horses. In 1928, there was a total of 78 commercial businesses in Lubień, including 62 owned to Jews (80%). Polish merchants were only able to compete in the trade in colonial products. Jews ran 26 out of all 36 shops in the town and owned two out of the three local eating places, one of the two posts selling agricultural products, and five of the six industrial facilities. According to another source dating back to 1928, Jews owned as many as 79 out of all 101 enterprises with industrial licenses (78.2%). According to the census of 19 April 1928, there were 144 artisan workshops in the town, among which 61 were Jewish-owned. Some of the more prominent Jewish entrepreneurs were: Chun Ajzenwasser (butter factory in Kaliska), Chaim Kowalski (soap factory), Szmul Walter (carbonated water plant established in 1916), Abram Majer Burak (oil mill, est. 1898). Among the merchants active in the town were: Chil Rzepkowicz, Binem Berkenfeld, Lejzor Nasielski, Majlech Lipszyc, Zelig Tyber, Icek Taube, Moszek Wassercug, Nute Tyber, Abram Taube, Chil Majer Cajtag, Icek Hersz Lubinski, Calel Lisak, Jakub Morgensztern, Jakub Sochaczewski, Moszek Jastrzemski (brewery, 1919). The following names appear in the lists of craftsmen based in Lubień: Wigdor Wiksztajn (saddler), Moszek Brzustowski (whitesmith), bakers: Jojne Brzustowski, Pinkus Żółtowski, Hersz Tarło, Szulim Wiksztajn. Some Jews were also landowners; in the 1920s, these were Wolf Tajfel (Narty estate) and Icek Majer Tajtelbaum (Grabiny), in the 1930s – Aleksander Zakrzewski (Kobyla Łąka). A small group of Jews made a living in other professions – Maria Rapaport, for example, was a dentist active in Lubień in 1921.

The Lubień kehilla owned a wooden synagogue with a sheet iron roof and a wooden prayer house roofed with tar at Bóżnicza Street (both were built in the first half of the 19th century). The latter building also housed the rabbi’s flat (until 1920), a school, and a ritual bath. A wooden building with a tar roof at Trzeciego Maja Street was used as a cheder and prayer house. In 1917, the Jewish community purchased a brick building where an almshouse for travelling impoverished Jews was established. It was rarely used, so in 1920 the community dissolved it and converted the premises into a new flat for the rabbi. Stables and a small garden were located nearby. The Jewish cemetery was situated ca. 800 meters away the town. The area was partially fenced (75%) and included a brick building with a tar roof – the house of the cemetery caretaker. In 1939, the real estate owned by the community had an estimated value of 22,000 zlotys, while the movables were worth 3,079 zlotys. According to other sources, these amounted to 29,000 zlotys and 3,080 zlotys, respectively. In the 1930s, the community buildings were in a poor technical condition and required general renovation.

In 1908, Rabbi Israel Hersh Piotrowski became the head of the community (he was officially approved in 1909). Born on 18 December 1874 in Turek, he was the son of Shlama Majlech and Gitla née Aurbach. Apart from religious formation, he also received elementary secular education. He was an Orthodox Jew and father of eight children. When working in the community, he was assisted by shochetim J. Rabinowicz, Szmul Feldheim, Jakub Goldman, Szymon Herszkowicz, Szapse Adler (who since 1932 also held the post of the cantor). In 1932, Chil Majer Drachman became the community secretary. Abram Majer Burak was the kehilla cashier since 1929.

In 1919, a group of 53 Jews protested against the appointment of four Orthodox Jews to the Synagogue Supervision in 1915 (chairman Icek Taube, Rabbi Piotrowski, Chaim Zandberg and one unknown person). The protesters hailed from the left-leaning impoverished classes. Despite the protest, the following election to the community authorities was only held on 1 June 1924. The Orthodox candidate list won three seats on the board: Nusyn Kleczewski, Majer Cajtag, and Chaim Zandberg (deputies: Szyja Rzeszewski, Rafal Jachimowicz, Jakub Morgensztejn, and Mendel Biszofsferder). The ”Mizrachi” list rendered one representative: Abram Majer Burak (deputy: Aron Żychliński). The subsequent election was held on 20 May 1931. The following candidates won seats on the community board: from List no. 1 (Orthodox Jews) – Nusyn Kleczewski, Binem Berkenfeld, Mordka Aron Burak, Moszek Jastrzemski, Lejzor Frenkiel (deputies: Szulim Gold, Mendel Krośniewski, Szmul Zendel, Icek Taube, Hersz Wołkowicz); from List no. 2 (Craftsmen’s Society representing Zionist-socialist circles and Mizrachi) – Chil Majer Drachman, Jakub Icek Jamnik, Wigdor Wiksztajn (deputies: Pinkus Nasielski, Hersz Abram Tarło, Lejzor Wolf Gut). In November 1933, chairman Nusyn Kleczewski and cashier A. Burak were dismissed from their posts and replaced by, respectively, Orthodox merchant Icek Taube and Ch. Drachman. The election held in 30 August 1936 reinforced the position of Zionists and socialists on the board at a expense of representatives of Agudath and Mizrachi. The newly elected board was composed of Icek Taube (chairman, Orthodox), Binem Berkenfeld (Orthodox), Abram Josef Drachman (Poale Zion-Right), Szulim Gold (Orthodox), Zelig Zajac (Poale Zion-Right), Moszek Fordoński (Bund), Mendel Krośniewski (Orthodox), Ojzer Szwarc (Bund). Their deputies were four Orthodox Jews, three Zionists, and one unaffiliated member.

A cell of the National Party was founded in Lubień in 1936, soon becoming involved in various anti-Jewish initiatives. The nationalist activists encouraged local youth to organise into several-member guerrilla units. They would paint over Jewish sign-boards, write anti-Semitic slogans on walls (”Do not buy from Jews”), and distribute leaflets calling for a boycott of Jewish businesses. They were also engaged in propaganda, promoting anti-Jewish views by discreet means, which made it difficult to catch them red-handed. One of the most violent incidents took place on the night of 20/21 March 1936, the window pane of Wigdor Wiksztajn’s café was shattered with a brick thrown from the street.

The first election to the Municipal Council after Poland regained independence was held on 31 August 1919. The newly elected body included four Jewish members, all Orthodox (Dawid Epstein – died on 21 August 1920, Icek Taube – resigned on 21 May 1927, Abram Drachman, Nute Tyber). Szulim Gold became a member of the Magistrate. Two Jewish lists were submitted in the following election, which took place on 26 June 1927. List no. 1 (Poale Zion-Left) received 76 votes, with Baruch Jakubowski becoming it representative to the Council, whereas List no. 4 (Orthodox circles) received 256 votes and produced four councillors (Icek Taube, Nuta Tyber, Załma Majer Epstein, Icek Kirsz). There were also three Jewish lists which were eventually withdrawn from the election: List no. 3 (unnamed), List no. 4 (unnamed Orthodox list), List no. 7 (also Orthodox). Jakub Sochaczewski became a member of the Magistrate. The following Jewish lists were submitted to the election of 12 June 1932: List no. 1 (Poale Zion-Right) – 115 votes and one seat (Baruch Jakubowski); List no. 3 (Bund) – 92 votes and one seat (Chaim Nachmanowicz); List no 7 (Jewish Union, in reality exclusively Orthodox) – 175 votes and two seats (Icek Taube and an unknown councillor). In the last election before World War II, held on 21 May 1939, seats on the Municipal Council were granted to 10 Poles and two Jews.

The Jewish community of Lubień saw its tragic end with the beginning of the German occupation. On 7 November 1939, a group of young Jews was sent to work in labour camps near Poznań (mainly to Buk, Grodzisk District). The rest were expelled to the General Government. In the spring of 1940, former Jewish inhabitants of Lubień lived in the ghettoes in Wiskitki, Skierniewice, Błonie, Żyrardów, and Warsaw. On 16 September 1939, the synagogue in Lubień and some of the houses in the Jewish quarter were set on fire; the local house of prayer was demolished in 1940. No information has been preserved on the subsequent events in the life of the community. It can be assumed that Lubień Jews shared the fate of the Jews from neighbouring communities. An undefined group of Jewish people remained in the area until the summer of 1941, when the Germans organised another round of deportations to labour camps near Poznań. The rest were sent to the Łódź Ghetto. If any Jews were still present in Lubień at that point, they were most likely transported to the Nazi death camp in Chełmno nad Nerem (Kulmhof) in the spring of 1942.

The Jewish community of Lubień was not revived after the war. Individual Jews returned to the town in 1946, but they left soon afterwards.


  • Kawski T., Gminy żydowskie pogranicza Wielkopolski, Mazowsza i Pomorza w latach 1918–1942, Toruń 2007.
  • Kawski T., Kujawsko-dobrzyńscy Żydzi w latach 1918–1950, Toruń 2006.
  • Kawski T., “Żydzi z Kujaw, ziemi dobrzyńskiej i Bydgoszczy ocaleni z Shoah. Przyczynek do poznania struktury społeczno-zawodowej, zmian osadniczych oraz migracji ludności żydowskiej w Polsce po II wojnie światowej,” [in:] Wrzesień 1939 roku i jego konsekwencje dla ziem zachodnich i północnych Drugiej Rzeczypospolitej, Toruń – Bydgoszcz 2001.
  • Olejniczak A., Żydzi w powiecie włocławskim (1918–1939), Włocławek 2000.