First Jews most likely appeared in Biskupice after 1634. Beforehand, Jewish settlement in the town had been prohibited by the Kraków Bishops.[1.1] In 1685, there were 18 Christian and five Jewish houses in Biskupice.[1.2]

The earliest records to mention Jews in Biskupice date back to the 18th century.[1.3] In 1787, there were 459 people living in Biskupice, out of which 173 were Jewish (37% of the whole population). At that time, an average Catholic family had 6.3 members, while a Jewish family – more than 10.

In 1827, there were 520 people living in Biskupice, including 139 Jews (26%).[1.4] In 1860, 812 people inhabited the town, among them 262 Jews (32%).[1.5] The primary source of income among the Jewish population was tailoring and trading in poultry, cattle and salt, while most Polish people were involved in agriculture.[1.6] In 1897, there were 543 Jews living in the town, which had a total population of 1,476 (36.8%).[1.1.3]

In the interwar period, the local Jewish community owned a wooden synagogue (it was destroyed in a fire in 1926, replaced with a new brick temple), a beth midrash, an administrative building, a mikveh, a ritual slaughterhouse, and two cemeteries – at that point, the old cemetery was already out of use; the new cemetery was established at the turn of the 20th century.

In 1921, there were 885 people living in Biskupice, including 129 Jews (14%).[1.7] In 1930, Rabbi Hersz Friedling was the head of the community. The post of his assistant was held by Jankiel Dawid Laksa from Puchaczów.

During World War II, in September 1940, the Germans formed a ghetto in Biskupice. Its population comprised ca. 500 Jews. Later on, a transport of ca. 200 Jewish people from Kraków was brought to the quarter. In 1941, the ghetto had a total of ca. 650 prisoners. Due to hunger and atrocious living conditions, ca. 200 people had perished by 1942.[1.1.3]

In February 1942, a group of Jews from Biskupice was sent to the Bełżec extermination camp. The ghetto was liquidated in March 1942.[1.8] The majority of the Jewish population of Biskupice died in the concentration camp at Majdanek.

The Germans destroyed the synagogue and residential buildings owned by Jews. Matzevot collected from vandalised cemeteries were used to pave roads in the town. The Jewish community of Biskupice was not revived after the war.

Bibliography

  • “Biskupice,” [in:] Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, vol. 1, eds. Sh. Spector, G. Wigoder, New York 2001, p. 152
  • Łosowski, Ekspertyza historyczno-heraldyczna dotycząca herbu gminy Trawniki[typescript].
  • “Miasteczko rolnicze Biskupice w latach 60-tych XIX wieku,” Panorama Trawnik 1997, fasc. 3, no. 2.
  • Studziński, Biskupicestudium historyczne urbanistyka, Lublin 1983.
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Footnotes
  • [1.1] Studziński J., Biskupice – studium historyczne – urbanistyka, Lublin 1983, p. 12.
  • [1.2] Łosowski J., Ekspertyza historyczno-heraldyczna dotycząca herbu gminy Trawniki, [typescript] p. 5.
  • [1.3] “Biskupice,” [in:] Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, vol. 1, eds. Sh. Spector, G. Wigoder, New York 2001, p. 152.
  • [1.4] Przesmycka E., Przeobrażenia zabudowy i krajobrazu miasteczek Lubelszczyzny, Lublin 2001, p. 262.
  • [1.5] “Miasteczko rolnicze Biskupice w latach 60-tych XIX wieku,” Panorama Trawnik 1997, fasc. 3, no. 2, p. 8.
  • [1.6] Łosowski J., Ekspertyza historyczno-heraldyczna dotycząca herbu gminy Trawniki, [typescript] p. 7.
  • [1.1.3] [a] [b] “Biskupice,” [in:] Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, vol. 1, eds. Sh. Spector, G. Wigoder, New York 2001, p. 152.
  • [1.7] Ćwik W., “ABC miast Lubelszczyzny,” Kalendarz lubelski 1961, p. 82
  • [1.8] Hirsz Z. J., Miejsca walk i męczeństwa w powiecie lubelskim, Lublin 1974, s. 62.