The first mentions about  Jews in Mielnik date back to 1533, however, the Jewish population of the town was not big. The municipality was founded at the end of the17th century or in the mid-18th century. It was inhabited by only 48 Jews in the late 18th century.

The change came in the 19th century and in 1878 there were already 460 Jews living in the municipality. Jewish population was mainly concentrated around the market square.

In the first half of 19th century, a cemetery and a stone synagogue were built. The synagogue suffered damage during the war, yet it was restored in 1920. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, almost half of the Jewish population emigrated to America due to the difficult economic situation. In 1937, Mielnik was inhabited by only 180 Jews.

During the interwar period, the followers of three religions (members of the Orthodox Church, Jews and Catholics) peacefully coexisted. According to the local people, they grazed cows together, and Jews traded in chalk on behalf of the local Orthodox Church.

At the beginning of the Second World War, there were approximately 400 Jews in Mielnik. In 1941, the Germans entered the town. They transported all the Jews (260 people - locals and runaways from the west of Poland) first to the ghetto in Siematycze and then, in November 1942, to the extermination camp in Treblinka.

Bibliography

  • Mielnik, [w:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during The Holocaust, t. 2, red. Spector S., Wigoder G., New York 2001, s. 821.
  • Rąkowski G., Polska egzotyczna I, Pruszków 1999, s. 358.

 

 

 

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