Jews arrived soon after the foundation of the town in 1780. Seven years later they owned 27 houses. In 1792, they received privileges from the town’s owners. Already in the 18th century, the kehilla had a wooden synagogue, a mikveh and a cemetery, which was situated near the road from Wolanów to Chronówek[1.1].

During the Kingdom of Poland period, Jews constituted 58.6% of the total population[1.2]. The cheder existed until World War I and both the synagogue and mikveh burnt down in 1915 as a result of military actions. Until a new synagogue was built, religious services were held in a private house[1.3].

According to the 1921 census, there were 313 Jews in the town. In the interwar period, Wolanów was a small town with only 514 inhabitants in 1929. Although it had no city rights, it was a community seat in the Radom county. Its residents made a living from farming, performing crafts and trade, while the Jews dealt mainly with selling agricultural produce (grains, flour, and cattle)[1.4]. The majority of craftsmen were shoemakers and tailors. In 1933, among 45 families who were paying a fee to the kehilla there were 21 craftsmen, 17 merchants, 5 farmers, 1 industrialist and 1 wagoner[1.5]. There were also bakers, carpenters and butchers. In 1930, the medium companies included: A. Koperwas’ and A. Waksberg’s tailor’s shop; M. Berencholc’s, M. Kuszerman’s and Ch. Kurant’s  shoe repair shops; R. Adler’s bakery; L. Epsztajn’s carpenter’s workshop[1.6]. The most notable shops were: J. Ajzenman and Ch. Luksenburg groceries, J. Goldberg clothing shop.

The kehilla board of 1924 included following people: Rywen Goldberg, a merchant; Josek Kuszczman, a shoemaker; Majer Hochberg, a farmer; Moszek Klajman, a merchant; Aba Bojman, a merchant; Chaim Kurant, a shoemaker; Berek Waksberg, a tailor; Chaim Szaja Wajntraub, a baker[1.7]. In 1929, Dawid Rubinsztajn was a shochet[1.8]. The kehilla owned a synagogue, a cheder, a bathhouse and a Interest-Free Fund[1.9]. In the years 1925-29, all efforts of the community were devoted to the reconstruction of the synagogue which was completed in 1929. It is worth mentioning that during the interwar period, for economic reasons, the Wolanów community did not maintain a rabbi[1.10].

In 1933, the kehilla had 360 members; 45 families were obliged to pay the contribution, 20 families were exempted from it. It indicates that the economic status of the kehilla was deteriorating. At that time, the kehilla board included following Jews: Icek Kuszerman (the chairman), Majer Hochberg, Mojżesz Klejman and Aba Bojman. No political conflicts occurred. In 1937, there were 300 Jews in Wolanów. The majority of the board members were non-partisan, with some belonging to the Zionist party, among whom the most active was the Betaru branch[1.1.4].

Germans took over the town on 5 September 1939. In spring 1941, the number of Jews in Wolanów amounted to 500, including refugees. A ghetto was established in July 1941. A year later, the majority of prisoners were transported to Szydłowiec. Those who were able to work (about 700 Jews) were closed in a work camp in Wolanów and worked for the German air force industry[1.11].

 

Bibliography:

Penkalla, Żydowskie ślady w województwie kieleckim i radomskim, Radom (1992).

R. Renz, Żydowska gmina wyznaniowa w Wolanowie w latach 1918–1939, „Wieś Radomska” 1997, no. 5, p. 260.

Wolanow, [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, S. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), vol. 3, New York (2001), p. 1457.

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Footnotes
  • [1.1] R. Renz, "Żydowska gmina wyznaniowa w Wolanowie w latach 1918–1939", Wieś Radomska 1997, no. 5, p. 260.
  • [1.2] A. Penkalla, Żydowskie ślady w województwie kieleckim i radomskim, Radom (1992), p. 166
  • [1.3] R. Renz, Żydowska gmina wyznaniowa w Wolanowie w latach 1918–1939, „Wieś Radomska” 1997, no. 5, p. 260.
  • [1.4] Wolanow, [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, S. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), vol. 3, New York (2001), p. 1457.
  • [1.5] Archiwum Państwowe w Kielcach (State Archives in Kielce), Urząd Wojewódzki Kielecki I (Provincial Office of Kielce I), cat. no. 1673.
  • [1.6] Księga Adresowa Polski (wraz z W.M. Gdańskiem) dla handlu, przemysłu, rzemiosł i rolnictwa, Warszawa 1930, p. 314
  • [1.7] State Archives in Kielce, Provincial Office of Kielce I, cat. no. 1501, c.235
  • [1.8] State Archives in Kielce, Provincial Office of Kielce I, cat. no. 1673.
  • [1.9] State Archives in Kielce, Provincial Office of Kielce I, cat. no. 1627, k. 178-180.
  • [1.10] State Archives in Kielce, Provincial Office of Kielce I, cat. no. 3358.
  • [1.1.4] Wolanow, [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, S. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), vol. 3, New York (2001), p. 1457.
  • [1.11] Wolanow, [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, S. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), vol. 3, New York (2001), p. 1457.