Jews began to settle in Biała Rawska in the second half of the 18th century. The town quickly became an important local Jewish centre. In 1822, an independent Jewish community was established. At that time, the community already had its own cemetery with a funeral home, a wooden synagogue, a cheder, and a mikveh. The synagogue burned down in 1842. Three years later, construction works began on a new brick synagogue. The building was completed in 1847.

In the 1920s, Biała had 1,429 Jewish inhabitants, constituting 60% of the total population. They were mainly involved in trade; they leased taverns and slaughterhouses in and around the town. A total of 66 stores in Biała were owned by Jews.[1.1] Over the following years, the Jewish community was steadily shrinking in size, although in 1939 Jews still constituted ca. 40% of Biała's population.

In September 1939, the town was seized by Germans, who immediately ordered for all residents (both Poles and Jews) to gather on the market square. They filmed the assembly and used the footage for their own propaganda purposes. In the autumn of 1941, the occupiers created a ghetto (between Gęsia, Brukowa, Narutowicza, Mickiewicza, Szeroka and Zakątna streets) with nearly 6,000 Jews from Biała, Piaseczno, and Żyrardów. Many of them died of hunger and disease. The ghetto was liquidated on 27 October 1942. Its inhabitants were transported to Rawa Mazowiecka, and later to the Nazi German death camp of Treblinka II.[1.2]

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Footnotes
  • [1.1] “Biala Rawska,” [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, eds. S. Spector, G. Wigoder, vol. I, New York 2001, p. 137.
  • [1.2] “Biała Rawska,” [in:] The Yad Vashem Encyclopedia of the Ghettos during the Holocaust, eds. G. Miron, Sh. Shulani, vol. I, Jerusalem 2009, pp. 46–47.