The beginning of the Jewish community in Rajcza dates back to the 19th century.[1.1] In 1880 Rajcza had 140 inhabitants of Jewish origin. At first the Jews of the village fell under the kehilla of Zabłocie, but in 1891 they belonged to the Jewish Religious Commune of Milówka. Rabbi Michael Kochn commuted to Rajcza from Żywiec, and then in 1910 he was succeeded by Rabbi Hirsh Bau. The services were celebrated in the town’s prayer house. In 1921, 132 Jews lived in the village. The deceased were buried in the Jewish cemetery in nearby Milówka.

During the interwar period, Rajcza became a popular summer holiday destination and a skiing resort in winter. Jews were responsible for most trade and services in the village. A. Bloch ran a hotel in Rajcza. A few Jews owned inns and stores selling alcohol such as Abraham Hertz, Jakub Gutterman, Haim Kempler, R. Mandelbaum, Moses Nesselroth, and Mosze Wiener. Other Jewish entrepreneurs owned their own stores; H. Konhauzer had an ironmonger’s and Józef and Heinel Wulkan and Grubner owned a grocery store. J. Fischer and Elkan Kleintzeller were doctors. Zilbernstain was a watchmaker. H. Krieger and F. Habermann were butchers. M. Geller was a gravedigger. E. Wasserberger owned a mineral water plant. In the village there was also a paper factory that operated from the late 19th century until the 1930s. It was owned by Nathan Robinsohn, his son Samuel, and his daughter Fanni Naubauer.[1.2] Incidents of anti-semitic violence are known to have occurred in the town. In around 1933, the organizations of General Zionists and the youth movement Bnei Akiva commenced operations in the town.[1.3]

On 1 September 1939 Germany attacked Poland, the beginning of World War II. During the first days of the war, Rajcza was captured by German troops and was incorporated into the Third Reich. By autumn 1939 the Germans had registered all the Jews living in Rajcza. At the same time, the Nazis organized a forced labor camp for Jews in the sanatorium in the village, where all the Jews living in Rajcza were gathered. They dismantled Jewish houses in Rycerka Dolna. According to The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust, they were transported to the General Government.[1.4] From there they were moved to a ghetto in Sucha from where they were transported to the ghettos in Kraków, Bochnia, and Chrzanów. Between 1942 and 1943 they were sent to Nazi extermination camps where they died in gas chambers.

Bibliography

  • E. Gradek, Organizacja żydowskiej gminy wyznaniowej [online] http://www.zywieckz.republika.pl/organizacja.htm [Accessed 20 December 2014].
  • Rajcza, in: Sh. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.),  The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust, 2, (2001), 1054.
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Footnotes
  • [1.1] Rajcza, in: Sh. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust, 2, (2001), 1054.
  • [1.2] E. Gradek, Organizacja żydowskiej gminy wyznaniowej [online] http://www.zywieckz.republika.pl/organizacja.htm [Accessed 20 December 2014].
  • [1.3] Rajcza, in: Sh. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust, 2, (2001), 1054.
  • [1.4] Rajcza, in: Sh. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust, 2, (2001), 1054.