The first Jews settled in Ryki at the beginning of the 15th century. In 553, they owned 20 houses in the town[1.1]. In 16th and 17th century, a few Jews leased a distillery.
In 1648, Ryki was ravaged by the Chmielnicki troops. Many local Jews perished at that time. In this period, the Catholic clergy frequently instigated riots against them[1.2].
Some of the Jews repeatedly requested that the town squire at that time sold them plots on the other side of the pond. The nobleman liked the idea; he even sold them construction materials. Jewish houses stood on one side of the road and the Polish ones on the other. The town grew slowly. As the number of Jews coming there from other cities increased, it became congested. The local nobility seized the opportunity: they erected houses also on the other side of side of the road and began renting flats to Jews at exorbitant prices.
In 1764, there were 17 Jewish families in Ryki. Mostly they were craftsmen (bakers, tailors, shoemakers). At that time, the other town residents created obstacles for the settlement of Jewish newcomers that would limit the number of their opportunities to remain in the town. Demands were made that the Jews who owned houses in the city centre or its vicinity sell them. In addition, it was forbidden to rent houses in the town center to Jews. With time, some privileges were granted to Jews, e.g. the right to purchase cheap land plots as well as permission to receive allotments of free timber to be used for construction of buildings[1.3]. In 1787, Ryki had the population of 770, including 204 Jews (27%). A protocol drafted during an inspection in 1789 mentions a Jewish masonry shop, located in the Square.
Towards the end of the 18th century, the local Jews traveled to Leipzig to sell grain. The Jews of Ryki also rented fish ponds and orchards from noblemen, and sold their produce in other towns. Also the nearest forests, owned by the squire, were used by Jews and were one of the sources of their income.
In 1834, Ryki had 1,268 inhabitants, including 476 Jews (37%). Until 1842, the Ryki Jews belonged to the Garwolin kehilla. In 1842, they became an independent religious community. At that time, the town witnessed propagation of Hasidism and Zionism.
The first Hasidic houses of prayer, shtiblakh, were formed in the 19th century. The first rabbi of the Ryki kehilla was Baruch, the son of Mejer. He became the rabbi after he preached a sermon in Beth Midrash. It was so impressive that the congregation and the council asked the maggid to become their rabbi. Some said that he saw God’s providence in this offer and promptly accepted the position of the local rabbi.
His name became famous in the whole neighborhood. It was his preaching, talents and learning that made him so renowned. The maggid of Kozienice sent a proposal to the Rabbi of Ryki, suggesting that their children should get married. The addressee turned it down, as he considered himself to be of nobler birth. Much gossip was spread not only about his wisdom, but also about the miracles he performed. He had an avid interest in Jewish matters: he was always ready to offer help to Jews in dire need.
There was once a married couple that wished to get divorced as they were childless despite 10 years of being together. They could not do it in Ryki, so they needed to go to another town. However, heavy rain was pouring down all day long, so they thought that this was a sign from God that they should remain married. They decided to talk to the rabbi about their problem. It was on Friday, so he sent them back home so that they could observe Sabbath properly. Once it was finished, they were to come and see how a woman of more than 30 years of age, who could not find a husband, as she offered too inadequate dowry, was finally getting married. “This great event,” – said the rabbi – “will be a great honor for you, and with the help of God, soon there will be a circumcision at your home”. They did as they were told, and soon the woman got pregnant and bore a son after 9 months.
Rabbi Baruch lay foundations for and supervised the construction of a synagogue that stood in Ryki until the great fire of 1925, when it burnt down along with most of the houses in the town. Rabbi Baruch had to fend off much opposition from the local dignitaries to carry out his projects. Amongst others, he struggled to build a mikvah in the town. Prior to that, the local women had to travel to other places, exposing themselves to all sorts of dangers[1.4].
During the 30 years of his service he proved to be a vigorous community activist. It was thanks to his initiative that the following social institutions were formed: interest free loan bank, charity helping the sick, shelter for impoverished vagrants[1.5]. Many people contributed to the establishment of the interest free bank, including some of the wealthiest inhabitants: Lejbusz Borensztejn, the butcher, Szlojme-Zechiel Firanka and Szlomo Lederhendler.
The successors to Rabbi Baruch were: Levi Kiersz Aszkenazy (when he got old, he immigrated to Israel), Elijahu Chaim Zuckerkop, Isasachar (died in 1900), Natan Neta Romer and his son Josef Romer, Mosze Inkas (died in 1910), Aszar Elimelekh Holstein (died in 1935). The last rabbi was Juda Fajfer. He died due to natural causes during the Nazi-occupation.
Just like his predecessor, Rabbi Isasachar placed much emphasis not only on the spiritual needs of the Jewish community, but also on their material needs. He was very active in curbing poverty through launching a number of charity organizations, such as Hachnasat Orchim (lodging place) or Maten-Besejser (The gift of mystery). In addition, the rabbi consistently supported the development of the already active Linas Hacedek or Hachnoses Kale.
He built a shtibl next to the synagogue and ordered that on each Sabbath morning the Jews gathered there to read the Book of Psalms. With time, shtibl became a meeting place for craftsmen. They held frequent meetings there to talk about how difficult it was to support their families. Isaachar made a particularly significant contribution to development of Linas Ha-Cedek. Its goal was to provide free doctors, medicines and carers to the sick and the weak – particularly during those nights when the families of sick persons was too exhausted to look after them.
The successive rabbi, Natan Neta Romer, had received a number of offers, but he chose Ryki to carry out his religious tasks. Apart from his regular salary, he also received a license to sell yeast. All those who had done it previously relinquished this privilege to him. The celebration following his nomination as the new rabbi took a whole week. Every night, a different organization would host it. The most impressive celebration took place among the Hasidim of Parysów, because that was where the new rabbi came from. For this reason, the Hasidim of Parysów hoped for gaining more leverage in the town. The rabbi introduced a daily hour of Mishnah in the house of prayer (normally Jews studied it between afternoon and evening prayers). For the uneducated Jews he organized and ran an hourly learning Ejn-Jaakow (the Source of Jacob).
During the rabbi’s term of office, a fierce row erupted in the town. The local butchers wanted to fire the shochet, an elderly person, claiming that his eyesight was poor, and as a result, his non-kosher method of treating meat generated huge losses for them. The shochet was from the Kozienice Hasidim and his adversaries were supported by Parysów Jews. The argument between the two parties would surely have been escalated had it not been for the rabbi who did everything in his power to prevent the shochet from losing his job. He invited two rabbis from the neighboring towns as well as the representatives of both conflicted sides to the proceedings in the rabbinical court. The court ordered that the shochet would not be fired and would remain under the rabbi’s supervision, who would – from time to time – check his butcher knife and control the cattle before slaughter.
On some other occasion, a row erupted between Kozienice and Parysów Hasidim who supported their own chazzan, i.e. a Jewish cantor. The rabbi, who came from Parysów himself, supported the Kozienice chazzan because he thought he had a beautiful voice and was well-educated despite his young age. With this decision, the rabbi proved his impartiality and his consideration for the social good[[refr: | I. Borensztejn, Historia Ryk. Rabini, Księga Pamiątkowa Ryk, transl. Andrzej Cieśla, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/ryki/rykp039.html, [as of 24 January 2009]. ]].
The 19th and 20th century was the period of intense settlement of Jews in Ryki. Even despite restrictions of the Russian authorities, introduced to limit the number of Jewish newcomers, they still came to the town. For this reason in 1897, the town had 1,615 inhabitants, including 1,575 Jews (97%).
Jews played an active role in The January Uprising of 1963. Among non-commissioned officers participating in the rebellion there was Lejbka Rubinsztajn from Ryki.
Many of the Jews were tailors, bakers and butchers. They ran their own inns and other places where alcohol was sold. At that time, there were four wealthy merchants of the Jewish origin, 16 shopkeepers, 54 shoemakers and many stallholders. Every Thursday, a fair was organized that provided the main source of income for most of the local Jews. Most of them made their living from crafts and trade. Some established contacts with factory owners from Lublin. This was where the products manufactured in Ryki workshops were exported to. Towards the end of the 19th century, Jews launched a few small business, e.g. a leather shop and embroidery shop.
The Jews from Ryki owned a plant that employed 15 people. The local Jews also worked as fishmongers. They were bought from Mr. Konarzewski and then transported to large cities, e.g. Warsaw. Most of the operating bakeries were owned by Jews; only one belonged to a Pole. Jews leased the following professions[1.6]:
Doctor: Pajebrune Jan Ludwik, Kesfenbaun Rafał, Kesselbaum and Ajabel Dentist: Konigsberg Felicja Barber-surgeon: Sztajnberg M., Gutwajdor M. Midwife for Jewish women: Ekhajzer Chanele Veterinarian: Konigsberg Izaak Pharmacists: Haiarych W. Boot leather stitcher : Lichtensztein S Barber: Sztajnberg B. Cabman: Bajnysz Textile shop: Ajger L., Firanka Srul, Rosenbaum M., Sztern W. Groceries: Gdala, Kupermann, Powroźnik L., Rosfor Ch., Fotkelz, Judensznajder Different goods: Apfelbaum L. Haberdashery: Asz Sz., Roman G. Iron: Ajger K. Stones: Apfelkern Ch., Borensztein S. Carpenter: Kujawski J., Kujawski S. Sugar: Borensztajn Ch. Wood: Apelkern J. Haberdashery: Asz Sz., Gutwajder D., Weinberg L. Flour: Judenszneider A. Oil mill: Borensztajn Tailor: Grynkorn M., Kupefisz J., Tejchman J. Wheat factory: Bukler J. Tea house: Borensztajn Ch., Herszenberg A., Palknfeld J. Restaurant: Lejbman Ch., Kuzyn J., Naj Ch. Beer-house: Binem W., Keselbrener Ch. Soda: Derfner Ch. Wheat: Fajfermacher L., Mochobodzki, Paterman M. Watchmaker: Openhajm F., Gruszkiewicz Shoemaker: Hercyk Parys, Gutwaks P., Albert M., Bukler L., Ogman M. Boot leather stitcher : Lichtenstein S., Mleczkowicz J. Capmaker: Gruszkiewicz Dyer: Sztetner J., Merfisz K., Goldman A. Baker : Fiksman A., Lewin S., Sztanbuch R. Winograd M. Mikowski A., Powroźnik L. Smith: Motek Cooper: Wajnberg M., Rotsztajn A. Tinsmith: Rotsztajn A. Rubinsztajn Ch. Water mill: Borensztein L., Keselbrener J. Locksmith: Goldsztajn Window glass: Gothelf Ch., Rokfor S. Saddler: Lusman
The Jews lived mainly in the square and adjacent streets: Przechodnia, Wylotowa, Krótka, Wjazdowa, Kanałowa, Kapitulna, Jeziorna, Łukowska, Św. Leonarda and 11 Listopada. There were a few Jewish shops in today’s Piłsudzkiego Street: Gutwajdera’s shoe shop, fabrics and linen – Srul Firanka’s, iron – Zylberberg’s, household appliances – Wajsfisz’s, bikes – Rzeźnik’s. In Wjazdowa Street, Wajnberg’s liquor store was located. In 1908, Ryki had the population of 2,214, including 2,077 Jews (93%).
The beginning of World War I in 1914 brought about an economic slump in the town. After three months since the outbreak of war, the Russian authorities deported the Jews from Ryki, as they were accused of spying for the Germans. No amount of requests or appeals helped to change it. The dozen or so Jews that remained in the town were forced to close the shops and homes and move to Garwolin or Żelechowo, leaving their property unprotected.
After some time, the Russian army was able to force back the German-Austrian offensive and the frontline was moved away from the town.
When the Jews came back to their homes and shops, they found them robbed in their absence. After a few months, the town life stabilized and normality was restored – not for long though. The German forces once again pushed forward, and the situation repeated itself. Not a night passed without a Jewish shop being robbed. The closer the frontline got to the town, the more ruthless the Russian soldiers passing through became. The local antisemites helped them in plundering Jewish shops. Some of the shop owners would found them robbed when they came to work in the morning.
On a certain Friday evening, screams and shouting reverberated in the town. They were coming from Jewish houses – the Cossacks broke into them, looking for Jewish women. After this event, panic swept through the town, and in the morning Jews decided to escape from it. Only a few dozen men remained who barricaded themselves in a masonry house in the middle of the town square. They spent nights behind thick metal doors. They survived due to the help from kehillas in the neighboring towns.
Twice were the Jews evicted from Ryki and twice they returned. Each time they had to rebuild their homes. Every attempt to launch reconstruction entailed a new wave of prejudices. The local Christian thugs with the help from Russian soldiers and officers plundered and murdered Jews. That is why they decided to establish a community watch, for which they obtained permission from the town mayor. The last remaining policeman, accompanied by Jews armed with sticks, was patrolling the streets every night to guard houses, the scant property and lives of the Jewish citizens. Jews would take turns on such patrols, according to a prearranged schedule.
The Russian offensive did last long. The Germans counter attacked inflicting heavy losses among Cossack units. They, in turn, took revenge on Jews and their community watch proved hopeless. Once again, an order came for the Jews to leave Ryki,
Soon, however, the Germans captured the town. The deported local Jews waited a few days more and began returning to their home town. This time the proximity of the Dęblin fortress had no impact on the extent of damage. All Christian and Jewish homes remained intact. The Jews had a safe shelter. This differentiated Ryki from the neighboring towns where houses were found ruined by bombs and burnt down.
At that time, many Jews mistakenly thought that under the German occupation their lives would be somewhat better and easier. This delusion, however, did not last long. Immediately after the new order came to town, they discovered the brutality of the Prussian occupier. One by one, restrictions and regulations were implemented that sapped Jewish trade. Now a special permission was needed to carry out commercial activities. Numerous inspections and confiscations were commonplace. Bread coupons and food rations were implemented. Even the smallest offence of law was met with harsh punishment. The occupier also used people of the Jewish denomination for compulsory labor. Jews had no means of supporting themselves, and the need to ensure sustenance forced them look for new, illegal means of surviving.
Both Jews and Poles were engaged in smuggling at that time. Yet the authorities were somewhat less suspicious of the Christians. Since most of the Poles owned fields on the other side of the border, they received special permissions to move freely and for this reason it was easier for them to smuggle goods. Jews had to be cleverer than that and devise new ways of getting across, e.g. they would bribe the military police of army patrols.
The most popular smuggled goods included food, haberdashery, leather or textile products. The products taken from the German side to the Austrian were: tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, paper and other things. From the Austrian side, many tones of paraffin oil and petrol were brought in that were later distributed all over Congress Poland and even to Warsaw.
Due to the scale of smuggling, the authorities suspected every Jew of this practice. Almost every night, military police inspected Jewish houses and confiscated whatever they found. These inspections, however, were futile. Every night, hundreds of people crossed the border illegally transporting various goods from the Austrian side to the German and vice versa. The military police tried to hunt them down, and although sometimes they managed to find one of the secret passages, in the meantime tens and hundreds of smugglers crossed the border somewhere else. With time, however, the border guards identified all the routes and passages used by the smugglers, so it was impossible then to illegally cross the well-guarded border.
After a while, smuggling became increasingly dangerous for the Jews, but the day was saved by a Jewish military policeman Chaim Sender. He was the contact between smugglers and the German officers of border guards, and he participated in each transaction. A similar arrangements were made on the other side of the border. And hence, the exchange of various goods between the towns of Ryki and Dęblin could proceed.
Smuggling was also carried out between Warsaw and Ryki. A few carters were given permission for leaving to Warsaw. During the war, this was the only communication link. Early morning on each Monday, a few dozen smugglers went to Warsaw to return on Thursdays. They needed 48 hours to cover the distance of more than 200 km.
During their journey they were exposed to all sorts of dangers. In each village they were stopped by the policemen whom they had to pay their share. The whole plan consisted in transporting well-hidden, illegal goods together with licensed foodstuffs, such as potatoes, eggs and vegetables.
The products brought from Warsaw included textile products, leather and haberdashery that were hidden in boxes that used to contain cigarettes, medicines and glass which were legal products. Despite precautions, when leftovers of smuggled goods were confiscated, their owner would be left penniless.
A special group was the smugglers of textile products who wrapped themselves in a several meters of fabric and would choose remote paths to avoid the policemen. If the latter found out about it, they would prepare an ambush at night and take away the goods. Often the smugglers were beaten up at the occasion. If the smugglers noticed the policemen and attempted to run away, they were shot at.
With time, the situation of the smugglers became more and more difficult. Each week a dozen or so traders were put out of business, having lost all their property once they were caught. The others kept smuggling under the guise of legal trading. They would establish contacts with border guards and bribe them with money or gifts each time they crossed the border.
In the last stages of German occupation, an epidemic broke out in the town. In every house, at least one or two people got sick. The local authorities decided to isolate the town. Nobody was allowed to get in or out of Ryki. This situation lasted for two months and resulted in great poverty and starvation among the townspeople. For this reason, support was being mobilized on a wide scale. It was offered by wealthy farmers and the neighboring Jewish towns. Bit by bit, the situation improved. Despite that, however, some casualties were inevitable. Medicines were in short supply. The situation of the Jews of Ryki was hopeless.
Soon the papers brought the news that the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed by Germany and Russia. Jews began to believe that liberation is close. In addition, the news of Bolshevik Revolution and the new ideologies coming from the east reached the town. The German occupation was finished. Polish soldiers disarmed the German troops and Poland rejoiced at winning back its independence.
At that time, a local authority and police were formed. They showed little respect to the Jewish citizens. An infamous local thug, Julek, proclaimed himself to be the police commandant. Accompanied by his gang he took over the control over the town. Drunk with victory, they were the first ones to kill Jews they met in the streets. Ryki became terrorized with fear. Jews would lock themselves in their houses, afraid to go out.
The situation calmed down when a new police commandant with a dozen or so policemen came to town. The town life began to return to normal. Shops were opened once again and workshops resumed their work (shoemakers, tailors and carpenters).
Few Jews voted in the elections that were held in Ryki. Most of them supported the Polish Socialist Party (PPS), which did not discourage this party from antisemitic activities. Particularly disreputable was its chairman, Bakier, who regularly instigated antisemitic initiatives. The town councilors, mostly PPS members, would make the lives of Jews in the town more and more difficult by levying high taxes on them. The funds obtained in that way were later spent on districts inhabited by Poles. The Jews made a few futile attempts to intervene with high offices and central authorities[1.1.4].
As a result of World War I, many Jewish shops were robbed and no fairs took place in the town. Jews were afraid of being suspected of espionage or other groundless accusations, so they were not able to go to the countryside to make purchases[1.7]. The Jewish society was struck with hunger and impoverishment. Various contagious diseases were spreading and there was no hospital in the town. Charities, which had been active until the outbreak of war, were suddenly left with no financial resources for their activity. In 1921, Ryki numbered 3,530 people, of whom 2,419 were Jewish (68%).
In 1925, a fire broke out in the town which left the majority of Jewish population homeless. The victims of fire were provided with state aid: 13 barracks were built in today’s Warszawska and Żytnia Streets. In total, about 1, 000 people lived there.
In April 1925, Alter Kacyzne arrived to Ryki, a photographer, essayist, and reporter of the New York Jewish Daily Forword. His pictures of the burnt town were published in the newspaper on 31 May 1925. The photos were also printed in Kurier Warszawski. The fire victims were also aided by Józef Kocięcki, a parish priest at that time. After the fire, Jews took to rebuilding their houses – this time brick and mortar houses were built. In the interwar period, the Ryki teachers were Moszek Tancer and Wolf Wajnberg.
In the 1930s, antisemitic actions could be observed in the town. During a fair in 1937, one of the Polish farmers provoked a fight, but it was the Jews who won. When the news spread in the neighborhood, the local antisemites incited the inhabitants of Ryki, planning to take revenge on Jews on the following Thursday. That is why young Jews came armed to the fairs, which stopped the provocateurs and pre-empted their attacks. Other persecutions took place in 1939, when Polish children started to bully Jewish children; however the Polish students were punished by the grammar school authorities in Ryki.
In 1939, Ryki numbered 4,500 people, of whom 3,000 were Jewish (66%). The following families lived in Ryki: Abramowicz, Ajgicz, Apelkier, Auglister, Bliziński, Bojman, Borków, Borenstejn, Braun, Brycman, Bukler, Cukierkopf, Ejgier, Fajfermacher, Fajgel, Fajzybelbeng, Frydman, Goldberg, Goldsztajn, Groszkiewicz, Gutman, Gutwak, Izrael, Judensznajder, Kacow, Keselbrener, Kestebaum, Kopenchajm, Kotlarz, Kotowicz, Kenigsberg, Koslbrener, Kujawski, Kuperfis, Lichtenstejn, Lerner, Lwinger, Lwow, Marchew, Mikowski, Miński, Miczkowicz, Molc, Morel, Milgran, Mokotow, Nachtajler, Nagielberg, Nojow, Nyseubaum, Oberklajder, Pankiewicz, Pałkenfeld, Powrożnik, Radman, Retrykow, Rechtman, Rocholc, Rezenman, Rozenkiewicz, Rosfor, Rzeźnicki, Szlambach, Springer, Suchodolski, Szulmajstrowie, Szjngrosowie, Serberowie, Stanisławscy, Tachmanowie, Tajszlerowie, Tener, Turk, Tarangiel, Uczeń, Ufangier, Wajublut, Wajuszek, Wierzchowicz, Winograd, Wolf, Zajfentreg, Zolcman, Zeleber, Zylberberg oraz Zylberknopf[1.8].
After the outbreak of World War II, on 10 and 12 September 1939, Ryki was bombed by the German air forces. Air raids caused panic among the Jewish and Polish town residents. Jews were hiding from bombarding in the vicinity of local ponds so they were an easy target for German pilots. Therefore, dozens of Jews were killed during bombing.
On 17 September 1939, Ryki was captured by German troops. The German occupation resulted in the breakdown of Jewish trade and craftsmanship in the town. For that reason, a municipal canteen was established in Ryki, which was used by 150 people a day.
During the war, the Nazis used Jews as workers cleaning the town, among others removing debris or clearing snow from the road from Lublin to Warsaw. About 400 young Jews were sent to work in Dęblin in military warehouses. After a few days they were brought back to Ryki.
In mid-October 1939, the Germans formed a Judenrat in Ryki with its seat in Wjazdowa Street. The head of the Jewish Council was Samuel Gudwajder. The Nazi also established the Jewish police, composed of 10 officers. One of them was Jakub Mendelbaum. Having formed the Judenrat, Germans carried out an inventory of the Jewish residents. Approx. 90 were sent as workforce for river-control works performed in Janiszowo, whereas 45 were forced to build fortifications in the vicinity of Bełżec. After the German-Russian war broke out, 200 Jews were sent to work at the ammunition dump in Stawy.
A dozen or so young Jews worked in the Austrian company “Strasenbaum Schalinger und Company Wien”. It was repairing the road from Ryki via Garwolin to Kołbiela. Its seat was located in the current Warszawska and Żytnia Streets. Towards the end of war, the Jews working there were shot dead. The person that managed to escape before being executed was Jakub Handsztok. In his words, Jews were helped by a Polish woman, Mrs. Stec. Each day she would leave a bucket of soup before the gate of the Schalinger company. By doing so she risked her life.
In March 1941, The Nazi established a ghetto in Ryki. Its area encompassed the market square and the adjacent streets. About 3,500 Jews were gathered there. Appalling hygienic conditions led to the outbreak of typhus epidemic. At that time, in the town there were many Jewish runaways from the areas incorporated into the Reich as well as from the area of Warsaw. They were accommodated in the synagogue and were the first victims of the epidemic. In order to prevent it from spreading, a temporary hospital was organized on the upper storey of Beth Midrash where beds for the sick were brought. The epidemic was stopped by doctor Kastenbaum that had access to medicines due to his qualifications. The ghetto also held Jews from Puławy, Żelechowa and Slovakia.
At the beginning of 1941, Independent Jewish Charity from Krakow (Niezależna Pomoc Żydowska) sent money to the Judenrat in Ryki. This financial help was spent on launching a community kitchen and a sick room. The latter was located in the community reading room and was run by doctor Kestenbaum.
Despite difficult situation, many campaigns were undertaken to help the impoverished. Too this end, the Judenrat established a commission which was to collect clothes and food for the needy ones and families with many children, and most of all – to take care of runaways who arrived to Ryki[1.9].
On 6 May 1942, at 1 p.m. the Nazi told the Judenrat members to come to the Municipality Management in Ryki. When they arrived, they were arrested. On 7 May 1942, all the Jews were gathered in the square. When that happened, they were told to give to the Nazi all valuables: watches, rings, gold and silver. They were warned that if in 30 minutes any other valuables are found on anybody, such person will be executed.
Around 11 a.m., the SS commander ordered that the Jews are arranged in threes and prepared for leaving the town. When the Jews began marching, the Nazi began shooting at them. The marching Jews were followed by wagons carrying the elderly, women and children that could not keep up the pace as well as empty wagon to carry corpses. The gathered Jews were led through Moszczanka to Dęblin to the local freight railway station. During the march, 150 people were shot.
In the words of Mr. Henryk Wojtachnia: “Carts were provided for the elderly and sick. At the front and back of the group, there were German troops with rifles. If anybody stepped out of the line, they would shoot at them. After the first kilometer, a young Jew ran to the roadside to pick up his hat. He was shot. Where today’s Poniatowskiego Street crosses with Warszawska Street, a young boy began to protest and he separated from his mother. He lay down on the mown next to a building. After a moment, a German troop left the post on the other side of the road and shot him”[1.10].
From Dęblin the Jews of Ryki were transported to the extermination camp in Sobibor. Around 80 of them were sent to Majdanek. This was where the following died: Gutwachs Jankiel, Silberstein Icek, Schaja, Sztamfater Tobias, Tarangel Srul, Weinberg Szloma and Zilberberg Hersz[1.11]. The Jewish community of Ryki ceased to exist.
Only a few dozens of the Jews from Ryki survived the Holocaust – some in the Soviet Union. After the war, the local antisemites killed a few other Jews who returned to their town, amongst others, two boys from Ryki: Szaul Mliczkiewicz and Hersz Nachtajler, and two girls who were visiting their relatives: Pola Ewensztajn and Rozenkiewicz. Also Simcha Brozdowicz and a Jewish officer of the People's Army of Poland, Wiślicki, were murdered. Fearing for their lives, the survivors left the town.
- [1.1] Sz. Kanc, Historia żydowskich Ryk, Księga Pamiątkowa Ryk, transl. Andrzej Cieśla, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/ryki/rykp019.html#f2, [as of 24 January 2009].
- [1.2] M. ha-Levi Hurvic, Początki osadnictwa żydowskiego w Rykach, Księga Pamiątkowa Ryk, transl. Andrzej Cieśla, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/ryki/rykp019.html#f2, [as of 24 January 2009].
- [1.3] Ryki, Pinkas Hakehillot Polin, transl. Andrzej Cieśla, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/pinkas_poland/pol7_00550p.html, [as of 24 January 2009].
- [1.4] I. Borensztejn, Historia Ryk. Rabini, Księga Pamiątkowa Ryk, transl. Andrzej Cieśla, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/ryki/rykp039.html, [as of 24 January 2009].
- [1.5] B. Kwiatkowska, B. Porowska, H. Witek i in., Żydzi w Rykach. Historia-Kultura-Tradycje, Ryki 2006, p. 25.
- [1.6] B. Kwiatkowska, B. Porowska, H. Witek i in., Żydzi w Rykach..., p. 26-28.
- [1.1.4] I. Borensztejn, Historia Ryk. Rabini, Księga Pamiątkowa Ryk, transl. Andrzej Cieśla, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/ryki/rykp039.html, [as of 24 January 2009].
- [1.7] I. Borensztejn, Historia Ryk. Rabini, Księga Pamiątkowa Ryk, transl. Andrzej Cieśla, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/ryki/rykp039.html, [as of 24 January 2009].
- [1.8] Z. Lipski, Ryki..., p. 27-28.
- [1.9] J. Mandelbaum, Nasze miasteczko pod okupacją niemiecką, Księga Pamiątkowa Ryk, transl. Andrzej Cieśla, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/ryki/rykp411.html, [as of 24 January 2009].
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