The earliest record confirming the presence of Jews in Łaszczów dates back to 1629. At the time, Jews owned two houses in the town. In 1643, the number of Jewish houses rose to three. The early Jewish community was most likely murdered by the Cossack troops of Hetman Khmelnystky in 1648.

The community was revived in the second half of the 17th century. It gained a status of an independent kehilla in the late 17th century or the first half of the 18th century. This means that the town most likely boasted a synagogue and a Jewish cemetery.

In 1719, a session of the Council of Four Lands was held in Łaszczów. In the mid-18th century, the town was inhabited by ca. 600 Jews. They mostly made a living from trade (mostly in grain) and crafts. Their houses were located in the Market Square and its vicinity. In 1782, the Jewish community obtained a permit to pull down the dilapidated building of the former castle treasury and surrounding houses, destroyed by the Swedes in the early 18th century, and erect a synagogue and beth midrash in their place.

In the 19th century, a Jewish printing house operated in Łaszczów. In 1815, Mordechai Zyskind held the post of the local rabbi. In 1820, Łaszczów had a population of 411 people, including 347 Jews (84%). In 1831, Jewish surgeon Alfons Brawstedt opened a hospital in the town at his own expense. The facility could accomodate 30 patients and catered to men wounded in the battles of the November Uprising. Ca. 1840, Srul Binder was a local barber-surgeon.

In 1842, Łaszczów had a population of 1,160 people, including 933 Jews (80%). In 1856, the total population decreased to 1,076, but the share of the Jewish population rose to 93% (1,010 people). In 1909, Szmul Glass held the post of the local rabbi and Aron Gryndler was president of the community board. In the years 1914–1918, the town boasted a synagogue and three houses of prayer.

In September 1920, a pogrom was carried out in Łaszczów. Some local Jewish residents left the town for good in the aftermath of the event. According to data collected in the 1921 census, Łaszczów had 1,141 residents, including 1,041 Jews (91%). In the interwar period, the community owned a synagogue and two communal houses of prayer (one located near the synagogue, the other at the Market Square), as well as a cemetery, a mikveh, and a ritual slaughterhouse. Various charities were active in the town, including the “Bikur Cholim” Association for the Assistance of the Sick and Linas Hatzedek.

Just before the breakout of World War II, Jews constituted 99% of the population of Łaszczów. It was one of the highest shares of Jewish population among Polish localities and allowed for classifying the town as a truly canonical shtetl.

When the war began in September 1939, western Polish territories were seized by Germans. A part of the area was incorporated into the General Government. In 1940, a 12-member Judenrat was established in Łaszczów. The local Jewish population was annihilated on 17 May 1942. Some Jews were shot on the spot, while the others were deported to the death camp in Bełżec or, according to other sources, in Sobibór. A group of several dozen people managed to escape the transport and hide in the local woods, but most were captured and shot in the autumn of 1942. Only several Jewish people from Łaszczów survived the Holocaust. The Germans also destroyed all property owned by the pre-war community.

Bibliography

  • Frykowski J., Niedźwiedź E., Niedźwiedź J., Dzieje miejscowości gminy Łaszczów. Powiat tomaszowski, Łaszczów–Zamość 2004.
  • Górak J., Miasta i miasteczka Zamojszczyzny, Zamość 1990.
  • Kubiszyn M., “Łaszczów,” [in:] Śladami Żydów. Lubelszczyzna, Lublin 2011, pp. 256–262.
  • “Laszczow,” [in:] Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities in Poland, t. 7, red. A. Wein, Jerusalem 1999 [online] www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/pinkas_poland/pol7_00292.html [accessed: 22 April 2023].
  • “Laszczow,” [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, eds. S. Spector, G. Wigoder, vol. 2, New York 2001, p. 708.
  • Niedźwiedź J., Leksykon historyczny miejscowości dawnego województwa zamojskiego, Zamość 2003, p. 276.
  • Trzciński A., Śladami zabytków kultury żydowskiej na Lubelszczyźnie, Lublin 1990.
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