Radomsko obtained its de non tolerandis Judaeis privilege from King Władysław IV in 1643, and remained in force until the Prussian Partition in 1795. It was not until the end of the 18th century that all municipal privileges discriminating against Jews were removed. Part of ul. Strzałkowska was designated for the incoming Jewish population. Jews also settled in Bugaj which, at that time, belonged do Radomsko[1.1].


In 1827, there were 369 Jews in the town and, in 1834, an independent Kehilla was officially established, separate from the Przedborze Kehilla. Rabbi Salomon Ha-Kohen Rabinowicz founded his own Hassidic court in Radomsko in 1843. Since then, Radomsko became an important centre for the Hassidic movement. The Hassidic court in Radomsko was one of the three largest its kind in Polish territory (after the courts in Aleksandrów Łódzki and Góra Kalwaria) [1.2]. In 1897, the town had 11,767 Jews, which accounted for 43% of the total population. A new synagogue was built in 1902[1.3].


The Kehilla in Radomsko was perceived as wealthy. Local Jews owned factories, hotels and restaurants. Among the leading entrepreneurs was Szaja Ruzewicz, who owned a factory producing so-called artificial wool (i.e. waste wool yarn). Artificial wool was used in the manufacture of cheap wool-blend materials. The plant was located on ul. Kaliska (now ul. Reymonta). In 1885, it employed 125 workers[1.4]. Another large factory in Radomsko belonged to Moryc Lewkowicz and produced American upholstered furniture. In 1910, it had 50 employees. The factory specialised in the production of folding beds[1.5].


In the second half of the 19th century, the town’s rabbi was Szlomo ha-Kohen Rabinowicz (a position he held until his death in 1866). He was succeeded by Meir ha-Kohen and later by Mosze Lewkowicz[1.6].


In 1921, 7,774 Jews lived in the town, which constituted 41.5% of the total population.The decrease in the population, as well as a deterioration in its economic situation, was characteristic of the period following World War I. Despite this, the town had two synagogues, two Talmudic schools, a private Hebrew school, a Jewish middle school and a library[1.7]. In 1922, a merchant and a representative of the Associated of Jewish Nationalists, Rubin Najkron, was member of the City Council. Four years, the Council had eight Jewish members[1.1.7]. The most active were the Zionists, but the Jewish Community Council was dominated by the Agudah[1.1.2].  In 1939, the Jewish community in Radomsko number around 10,000.


Radomsko was occupied by the Germans on 3rd September 1939. Within a few days, the Jewish community became subjected to bloody repressions. During the so called “black Tuesday” (12th September 1939), German officers gathered approximately 1,000 men and harassed them, beating them severely and, in some cases, even to death[1.8]. The Judenrat, created by order of the Germans and which was headed by Mosze Berger (succeeded in May 1941 by Wiktor Gutsstadt), was obliged to deliver a list of Jews, daily, who were healthy and able to work. They were sent to German labour camps mostly in the Poznań area[1.1.8].


The Jewish district was closed on 20th December 1939 and one of the first ghettos in Poland was then established. The Germans build a gate and a placed a notice in front of it, stating that “Aryan” residents were prohibited from entering. About 18,000 Jews from the entire vicinity were gathered into the ghetto. Despite the threat of death, many left the ghetto in search of food. Sanitary and living conditions within the closed district were horrific. In January 1940, the Judenrat opened kitchens for the poor, which provided extra meals for the ghetto inhabitants. However, it did not eliminate poverty within the ghetto[1.9].


Two typhus epidemics, in March 1940 and in January 1941, decimated the ghetto population. At that time, Mieczysław Sachs, a doctor from Warsaw, was brought to Radomsko to help the local physician Dr. Hirsz Aba Rozewicz. A hospital of 100 beds was established and equipped by gifts from Częstochowa. Most of the patients were murdered during the 1942 liquidation of the ghetto[1.10]. From the establishment of the ghetto, transports of Jews were taken to German labour camps. In July 1940, 400 individuals were transported to labour camps in the Lublin area. In August 1940, 200 Jews were sent to Płaszów. Later, 200 individuals were forced to work in the vicinity of Radomsko[1.1.8].


In the autumn of 1942, the majority of Jews were taken to the Nazi German extermination camp in Treblinka, while another 321 were transported to the German labour camp in Skarżysko-Kamienna. The Jews of Radomsko worked mainly in Werk A of the HASAG factory. Another group of Jews (about 120 people) remained in Radomsko to clear the houses in the ghetto from all valuables left by the resettled[1.11].


The ghetto in Radomsko was again full of prisoners at the beginning of November 1942, but it had only a transitional character. On 6th January 1943, a transport of 4,500 Jews was taken to the Nazi German extermination camp in Treblinka[1.12].


Only about 200-300 members of the pre-War Jewish community in Radomsko survived. In 1947, the city had only three Jewish families, survivors  of the Holocaust[1.13].


Bibliography


  • A.Kosowska, Dzieje Radomska w okresie drugiej wojny światowej, Częstochowa (2011).
  • Memorial Book of the Community of Radomsk and Vicinity (Radomsko, Poland), Tel Aviv (1967).
  • Radomsko [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish life before and during the Holocaust, S. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), vol. II, New York (2001), pp. 1047–1048.
  • Radomsko, [in:] The Yad Vashem Encyclopedia of the Ghettos during the Holocaust, G. Miron, Sh. Shulani (eds.), vol. II, Jerusalem (2009), pp. 633–635.

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Footnotes
  • [1.1] J. Wojarska, Powstanie i rozwój przemysłu radomszczańskiego do I wojny światowej, Łódź (1992), p. 14.
  • [1.2] Radomsko [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish life before and during the Holocaust, S. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), vol. II, New York (2001), pp. 1047–1048.
  • [1.3] T.M.Rabinowicz, The History of Radomsk [in:] Memorial Book of the Community of Radomsk and Vicinity (Radomsko, Poland), Tel Aviv (1967), pp. 43–52.
  • [1.4] J.Wojarska, Powstanie i rozwój przemysłu radomszczańskiego do I wojny światowej, Łódź (1992), p. 51.
  • [1.5] Archiwum Państwowe w Łodzi, Starszy Inspektor Fabryczny Guberni Piotrkowskiej, sygn. 2089, k. 6–9.
  • [1.6] T. M. Rabinowicz, The History of Radomsk [in:] Memorial Book of the Community of Radomsk and Vicinity (Radomsko, Poland), Tel Aviv (1967), pp. 43–52.
  • [1.7] Radomsko, JewishGen KehilaLinks [online] https://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org:443/radomsk/radomsko.htm [Accessed: 03 December 2014].
  • [1.1.7] Radomsko, JewishGen KehilaLinks [online] https://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org:443/radomsk/radomsko.htm [Accessed: 03 December 2014].
  • [1.1.2] Radomsko [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish life before and during the Holocaust, S. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), vol. II, New York (2001), pp. 1047–1048.
  • [1.8] Radomsko, [in:] The Yad Vashem Encyclopedia of the Ghettos during the Holocaust, G. Miron, Sh. Shulani (eds.), vol. II, Jerusalem (2009), pp. 633–635.
  • [1.1.8] [a] [b] Radomsko, [in:] The Yad Vashem Encyclopedia of the Ghettos during the Holocaust, G. Miron, Sh. Shulani (eds.), vol. II, Jerusalem (2009), pp. 633–635.
  • [1.9] A. Kosowska, Dzieje Radomska w okresie drugiej wojny światowej, Częstochowa (2011), p. 205.
  • [1.10] Radomsko, [in:] The Yad Vashem Encyclopedia of the Ghettos during the Holocaust, G. Miron, Sh. Shulani (eds.), vol. II, Jerusalem (2009), pp. 633–635.
  • [1.11] Radomsko, [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish life before and during the Holocaust, S. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), vol. II, New York (2001), pp. 1047–1048.
  • [1.12] Radomsko [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish life before and during the Holocaust, S. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), vol. II, New York (2001), pp. 1047–1048.
  • [1.13] Radomsko [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish life before and during the Holocaust, S. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), vol. II, New York (2001), pp. 1047–1048.