The Jewish community which was established in Grójec in the late 18th century, probably after 1794, was the hub of local religious and social life. In the interwar period, there were 15 cheders in the town[1.1] (one of them was located on Lewiczyńska Street) and the Beit Yakov Jewish Religious School. It was founded by the Shlomei Emunei Israel organisation of the Orthodox Hassidim connected with the Agudat Israel party[1.2]. Children from less affluent Jewish families attended the school. In 1928 it was attended by 100 girl students, half of whom did not pay tuition fee[1.3].
A public school which was founded by the Tarbut Jewish Educational and Cultural Association also operated in Grójec. It was situated at 13 Warecka Street (today Piłsudskiego Street) and was attended by poorer children who often did not pay for tuition fees[1.4]. Unlike traditional schools, the school had two languages of instruction: Hebrew and Polish. History and geography were taught only in Polish. The school employed three teachers who worked with 150 enrolled students. However, attendance was particularly not high and only about 70 students used to come to classes. The reason behind it was the fact that the majority of the Jewish population did not know Hebrew and used Yiddish instead. In 1902 the Jewish Agricultural School was founded in Częstoniew at the initiative of Michał Berson – one of the richest Jews in Grójec, owner of the villages of Wola Boglewska and Boglewice and the Czersk sugar plant – as well as Polish landed gentry and international, mainly American, Zionist organisations[1.5]. It aimed to prepare students for work in agriculture, but unfortunately the school offered no practical classes. It was not a high quality facility as confirmed by the fact that in the years 1902-1904 only 38 out of 403 students completed it. A Jewish People’s Library also operated in the town from 1924. It had a collection of 3,400 books in Yiddish and Hebrew and was located at 26 Piłsudskiego Street. It had 160 paying members who could visit it seven days a week, 21 hours a day. From the mid-19th century Grójec also had its own Jewish music band.
Translated by LIDEX
- [1.1] Szeląg W. Chedery, Słownik wiedzy o Grójeckiem (Cheders, A Dictionary of Knowledge on the Grójec Region), file 10, p. 8
- [1.2] Szeląg W., Żydowska Szkoła religijna Bejs Jakow w Grójcu, Słownik wiedzy o Grójeckiem (The Bejs Jakow Jewish Religious School in Grójec, A Dictionary of Knowledge on the Grójec Region), file 11, p. 136
- [1.3] Kępka A, Dzieje Grójca do 1945 roku (The History of Grójec until 1945), Grójec; Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Neriton, 2006, p. 134
- [1.4] Szląg Z. “Żydowskie Stowarzyszenie Oświatowo-Kulturalne Tarbut, oddział w Górju (The Tarbut Jewish Educational and Cultural Association, the Grójec Branch)”, Słownik wiedzy o Grójeckiem (A Dictionary of Knowledge on the Grójec Region), file 11, p. 137
- [1.5] Kępka A, Dzieje Grójca do 1945 roku (The History of Grójec until 1945), Grójec; Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Neriton, 2006, p. 88