The first information about the Jews in Lipno dates back to 1677. In 1736 a kehilla with a synagogue was built at the beginning of the 18th century and a cemetery existed there. The Jewish region was established in 1824. However, its borders expanded in 1826. The Jews could live by the Gdańska and Tylna streets, and partly by Rynkowa and Toruńska Streets. The borders of the Jewish quarter were marked by a trench. In the 19th century the Jews were in trade, they sold mainly ell-products.
The Jews played an important role in the economic vitality of the city and the neighboring area. In 1921 there were 102 industrial plants, which employed 220 people. Jews were the owners of the majority of industrial plants. Small clothing and food industries were in the majority (Annex 15). More detail information can be found in files from 1928. The Jews owned at least 44.7% of all the companies entered in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Lipsko Region. The occupational structure can be illustrated on the base of the Register of Municipal Collection Payers. 64% of the population was in professions connected with trade, 27% in craft and industry, and 9% in others.
In the last group there were doctors: Z. Winogron (came from Zgierz, had lived in Lipno since 1937) and Mojżesz Praszkier and four female teachers and a male teacher, who worked in public schools. The road transport (since 1926) between Lipno and Wrocławek was managed by the company of Abram Turkowicz and Jojne Kluski. One person who stood out was Hersz Joska Dziekański, he was not a rabbi. He was born on the 26th of August 1910 in Lipno. He gained a rabbinical education from the rabbi in Przysłucha. He gained the rabbinical diploma on 9 July 1929 in Warsaw. In 1938 he unsuccessfully applied for a rabbi post in Włocławek. The financial elite were owners of land properties, owners of real estates, and a few industrialists including: Josef Adler, Arnold Łabędź, Izrael Szwarc, Hersz Czarnoczapka, Dawid Płockier, Mendel Altman, Wolf Krzeczanowski, Aron Trachtenberg, Mojsze Ożarów, Josef Hartbrot, Szlama Dzigański (Dziegański), Jakub Ogrodowicz, Chaim Florman, Dawid Hartbrot, Aron Rozenfeld, Dawid Pencer and Nute Rubin. In 1910 there were 72 out of a total of 357 houses (20%) belonging to Jews in Lipno.
The Lipno kehilla was led, since the end of the 19th century until the beginning of the 20th century, by: Elijah Zylberberg (he became famous for denouncing the followers of a Tzaddik from Kocko), Ch. Weingott (or Werngot), Samuel Brot (Brodt, Brod) and Szyja Mordka Cukierkorn (he was born on 16 June 1895 in Płońsko, the son of Szlama Załma and Rejli. Apart from a religious education, he did not have a secular education, however, he engaged in self-study. Before he acceded to a post in Lipno he had been a rabbi in Bielsko, in the Płock district, and in Głowno in the Brzeźina district. He acceded the post of a rabbi in Lipsko in 1924.
The most important elements of the municipal infrastructure, such as a synagogue or cemetery, were located by the Boźnicza and Nieszawska Streets. The main synagogue (The „Big” Synagogue) had a longitudinal primary structure ( the main room was preceded by a hall. On the first floor there was a women's gallery). The seat of the municipality board was beside the synagogue by 26 Gdańska Street. Movable assets of the Jewish municipality in 1939 were valued at 13.163 PLN, fixed assets at 78.580 PLN. The municipality was in debt at the sum of 16.246 PLN.
According to assessments the moved assets were valued higher: the “Big” synagogue (68.000 PLN), the “Small” synagogue (10.000 PLN), the mikvah (20.000PLN) and the cemetery (11.000 PLN). The kehilla invested a portion of the funds in real estates: a wooden building (2.000 PLN), a section of the mikvah building (2.000 PLN), and a shelter (9.000 PLN).
It is unknown who were the authorities of the Jewish kehilla prior to 1936. The elections to the last municipality board were held on the 30th of August 1936. Eliasz Łopata became a chairman. Those who were elected also included: Szyja Cukierkorn, Daniel Zeligman, and probably Puder and Płocki. Members represented antagonized supporters of the left wing, orthodoxy, and zionism. During the meeting of the board of the kehilla on the 30th of December 1936 the left and the right argued about the left’s suggestion to create a bill condemning the policy of England in Palestine. The Orthodox chairman of the board denied both its acceptance and putting it to vote. Punder, a leftist, slapped the representative of the right, Potocki, in the face.
The kehilla authorities were very concerned about the rise of antisemitism. On the 9th of February 1938 a meeting of the Association of Small Merchants took place in order to confront the rising pickets against Jewish shops and stands,. On 22 February 1938 in the "small" synagogue, representatives of various trade unions gathered for a dsicussion. During the meeting they discussed ways to prevent discrimination acts against the Jews lead by the Stronnictwo Narodowe, one of the Nationalist Party of Interwar Poland. The first meeting did not end well. The members of „Poalej Syjon Lewicy” (Mordka Szwarc, Aron Puder, Azryel Krauk) greeted the arrival of the kehilla rabbi Cukierkorn by taking off their head coverings. The offended rabbi left the meeting. A second argument followed and concerned the assessment of the activitives of the kehilla boardmembers: Szyja Cukierkorn, Eliasz Łopata and Daniel Zeligman, during their visit to a village headman on 3 February 1938.
According to the participants of the meeting they behaved too amicably by being satisfied with the statement of the headman that in case of illegal actions those who happened to be guilty would be punished. One member who was especially criticized was Zeligman, because during the discussion he accepted the legality of an exhortation to boycott and the illegality to draw away from buying in shops and booths of organized pickets. During the next meeting the unanimous decision was made, that merchants should not go to markets in the district. As a result, Jews withheld from trade and caused a standstill of all economic activity. They expected that this boycott would force the city authorities to respond to the economic boycott. They also asked neighboring cities to join this action, such as: Skępem, Sierpiec and Kikoł.
Their actions acheived favorable results. In Skępem on 23 of February 1938 there were no Jewish merchants from Sierpiec. Merchants from Lipno and Kikoł were also absent (22nd February). There were only a few stands of local merchants. The Polish Socialist Party supported the activities of the Jewish community, mainly affiliated with the Bund. The emphasis was put on the need to unify working communities to defend human rights, in times when antisemitism fueled by the Stronnictwo Narodowe, a Nationalist Party of Interwar Poland, which was supported by the Sanacja (Sanation), which was the authoritarian political coalition that ruled in Poland after 1926.
Relationships between the Polish and the Jews during the 30s were worse than several years before. On the eve of the encroachment of the Bolsheviks to Lipno on 12th of August 1920 during the meeting of the town council the civic Guard was established. Participants included: the reverend M. Sawicki, a pastor Z. Michelis and a rabbi Samuel Brot. Invaders occupied the city until the 19th of August 1920, their activity was mainly concentrated on robbing Jewish leather and manufacture warehouses. They created the local „Rewkom” (two Polish - Zaborowski and Jastrzębski, and Zuberberg, who represented the „Bund”), and Police (15-20 Christians and 8 Jews).
When the reverend was arrested, the rabbi and pastor collected signatures for a petition demanding to free him. The reverend thanked the Jews from the Lipno synagogue for the help of the rabbi. In nearby Lipno, the Bolsheviks killed a few local landowners including the Jews: Bauman, Szampan and Wrona. In Lipno they tried a Jew from Opatów in the Tribunal. He was released only after being totally robbed. After the withdrawal of the Bolshevik Army, the Polish Army began to rob Jewish shops, but was redressed by the reverend. Soon afterwards, the Army of Poznań was plundered. Then the Citizens' Committee, as a sign of protest resigned. Two soldiers were arrested, however the rest of them threatened to strafe the city, if they had not been freed. Emotions ebbed after the detained were released, and after commonly expressed opinions that the Jews in Lipno behaved towards the Bolsheviks properly, and the rumors about shooting to Polish officers, and preparing 2,000 flowers in Włocławek to welcome the Bolsheviks were proven to be false.
Next wave of anti-Semitism took place in a second half of the 30s. Its beginning was a consequence of the Convention of the District Council of the Warsaw Province of the National Party on 26th April 1936. Local organizations of the National Party were ordered to cause disturbances at the 1st May Parades, which were organized together with the Jews, and exacerbate antisemitic policies towards the local Jewish community, and to appeal to racial hatred. In May 1936 in the entire district the escalation of activities against the Jews took place, e.g. in Lipno two firecrackers were thrown nearby Jewish flats, and a window was broken. In June a Jew was beaten in the district, and a window was broken. Reasons for this hatred were mainly due of economic reasons.
The extermination of the Jewish community in Lipno took place at the end of 1939. In December 1939 there were 2,979 Jews and in the following year there were only 9 (they were transported on the 27th of February 1941 to the concentration camp in Tczewo, from where they were sent to the General Government). The Germans on the 14th of September 1939 closed the prayer halls and by the end of October they burnt down a synagogue, demolished Jewish houses by Dekert Square, destroyed a cemetery, and used macevahs to lay down a pavement. Taxes were imposed on Jews as well as compulsory work. On the 2nd of October, the outbreak of war was justified as the reason for these actions towards the Jews. On the 23rd of September 1939 mass persecution and murders began. The town pastor helped the distraught rabbi. Thanks to his intercession the rabbi was freed from an arrest. For a short time the Germans allowed the rabbi to officiate prayers. Bodies of those killed were buried in forests near Karnkowo.
On the 6th of October those Jews who had been deported from Lubicz and Dobrzyń by the Drwęca River came to Lipno. On the 10th of October on the square next to the city hall a „performance” was organized in which mainly elderly Jews were forced to participate. Such “amusements“ were organized on the 23rd of October 1939 to ridicule the Jews. On the following day a group of men aged 18-50 were thrown out from the city and deprived of warm clothes and shoes. The Jews who stayed in the city were ordered to bring 400 pairs of new shoes to the Germans during the next three days. The self-appointed „Judenrat,” consisted of three people. During the collection, members of the “Judenrat” used their position to their own advantage. In the end the Jews who stayed in Lipno were displaced to Włocławek between the 1st and the 21st of December 1939. Others were displaced to the western part of the General Government.
In March 1940 displaced Jews stayed in Grojec, Legionów, Mińsk Mazowiecki, Wiskitki (a large group) and Płońsk. In the Warsaw Ghetto in August 1940 there were 300 Jews from Lipno.
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