The beginnings of the Jewish settlement in Bodzanów can be traced to the end of the 18th century. It was around that time when a Jewish cemetery was established there. Before that, the local Jews had been burying their dead at the Jewish cemetery in Wyszogród. In the 19th century, the Jewish community of Bodzanów started to grow in size.
A synagogue did not exist there until the end of the 19th century. At the time, there were several houses of prayer in the town, including those used by the supporters of the tzadik from Góra Kalwaria or Aleksandrów. In the 19th century, the first people to assume the post of the rabbi were Mendel Prajs and Henoch Henich Navri.
The local Jews were mostly traders and craftsmen. A group of the latter were members of the “Chevra Tehilim” society.
In 1915, during the German offensive, the withdrawing Russian forces drove Jewish people out of Bodzanów, but they soon returned to the town. They established the Jewish Aid Committee, which gave out free hot meals to the poor, and especially to children. In 1919, Jewish people fell victim to a series of robberies and acts of violence carried out by soldiers.
According to the 1921 census, 807 people (out of all 2,093 inhabitants of the town) declared to be Jewish. In 1922, Jews were accused of causing a huge fire in the town. Having investigated the case, the police found the accusations to be unfounded. At the time, the Jewish Charity Committee, presided over by Josek Perelmutter, was active in the town; it had 130 members.
During WWII, a ghetto was opened in Bodzanów; it is not mentioned, however, in The Yad Vashem Encyclopedia of the Ghettos during the Holocaust. Germans sent all the inhabitants of the ghetto in Bodzanów to the ghetto in Nowy Dwór. Some were deported to Radom District in the General Government, while others were sent to labour camps operating in Regierungsbezirk Zichenau. A big group of Jews was transported to the camp in Bielsk. 51 Jews from Bodzanów survived the war, but only one decided to stay in the town.
- Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before & During Holocaust, eds. S. Spector, G. Wigoder, New York 2001, vol. I, pp. 163–164.
- Grynberg M., Żydzi w rejencji ciechanowskiej 1939–1942, Warsaw 1984.
- Szczepański J., Społeczność żydowska Mazowsza w XIX–XX wieku, Pułtusk 2005.