The first Jewish settlers arrived in this area in the mid-18th century. According to some records from 1824, the owners of the village did not allow the Jews to freely buy lots and settle within the village limits, excluding three streets: Nadrzeczna, Wodna and Żabińska. The provision was, however, to pay proper rent to the village’s owners.

As to organizational issues, the local Jews originally belonged to the kehilla in Maków, later on, to the kehilla in Przasnysz. The Krasnosielc kehilla gained autonomy in 1842 when it numbered 588 members. Apart from Krasnosielc, it also covered the villages of Łazy and Sławki. The first elements of the communal infrastructure were created as early as the 18th century.

A cemetery was built in 1781 and a synagogue was probably erected at the same time. In 1841, apart from the cemetery, there were aslo a synagogue and a ritual bathhouse. The synagogue from the first half of the century was a multi-story wooden building that had enough room for 600 people. The construction of another temple started in the 1880s. Henryk Stifelman was the constructor. The works were completed in 1883.

Szlama Brezler performed the duties of a rabbi. Icchak Josef Silberberg was his successor. Upon the command of the kehilla, he left for the USA in 1930 with a mission of raising funds among the members of the Krasnosielc landsmanshaft to set up a Loan Fund Company. The mission was a success. For the most part, the local Jews’ occupation revolved around trade and craft. A tannery owned by Motel Frajman was a bigger business[1.1].

After the breakout of World War II, some of the Jews fled from Krasnosielc heading mainly towards Warszawa or eastward. When the German occupation of the settlement started, the soldiers committed a number of crimes. On September 8, 1939, the Nazis shot to death 41 Jews and over a dozen Poles and Jews near the settlement. An incident with a shochet and his wife marked the beginning of the massacre. The slaughterers told the wife to kill her husband with a butcher knife. Because she did not yield to what they forced her, they themselves killed the shochet and told the wife to wash her hands in his blood. On September 5, 1939, the Germans herded the Poles and Jews to fix a bridge and a dyke. When they went on with their work, two Jews were shot to death and one was drowned in mud. In the evening, the working Poles were relieved, while the Jews were gathered in the building of a new school. Then, they were taken to the synagogue where they were shot to death. 41 to about 70 people were murdered. Thanks to the intervention of some of the German soldiers, six or seven severely wounded Jews were saved and then sent to get treatment in Olsztyn. During the war they were being tended thanks to which they survived. The Germans themselves brought the murderers before court and sentenced them to several years in prison, but this was a disproportionate sentence. The dissolution of the staff of the third army followed the incident as well.

All, i.e. approximately 1,900, Jews staying in Krasnosielc were displaced on September 28, 1939. Before they were expelled, they had to sign declarations that they would leave the settlement voluntarily. They ended up in Różań and Ostrów. Some of them moved later to Białystok, Maków and Ciechanów[1.2].

Bibliography:

  • Grynberg M., Żydzi w rejencji ciechanowskiej 1939 – 1942, Warszawa 1984.
  • Szczepański J., Dzieje społeczności żydowskiej powiatów Pułtusk i Maków Mazowiecki, Warszawa 1993.
  • Szczepański J., Społeczność żydowska Mazowsza w XIX-XX wieku, Pułtusk 2005.
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Footnotes
  • [1.1] Janusz Szczepański, Dzieje społeczności żydowskiej powiatów Pułtusk i Maków Mazowiecki, Warszawa 1993, passim; Janusz Szczepański, Społeczność żydowska Mazowsza w XIX-XX wieku, Wyższa Szkoła Humanistyczna imienia Aleksandra Gieysztora w Pułtusku, Pułtusk 2005, passim.
  • [1.2] Michał Grynberg, Żydzi w rejencji ciechanowskiej 1939 – 1942, Warszawa 1984, passim.