The founder of the shtetl in Skrihyczyn in 1871 was Rabbi Mordechaj Kalman Rothenberg, nephew of the famous Góra Kalwaria tzaddik, Icchak Meir Alter. Following the death of the Rabbi in 1873, [1.1]. It was his wife, Ita (nee Rappaport), who was the de facto instigator in buying Skryhiczyn and who led the development of the community, along with her son Shmuel (Szmuel) [1.2]
Szmuel Rottenberg brought in many Jewish craftsmen, as well as foresters and bargemen. He also erected residences, together with outhouses. He also erected a manor house on a hill near the entrance to the village, where he lived with his family. Initially, many of the Jewish inhabitants of Skryhiczyn were Hassidim – supporters of the Góra Kalwaria tzaddik [1.3].
At the beginning o fthe 19th century, a reformed cheder was established, where lessons were taught in the Russian and Hebrew languages. Even before World War I, various political parties were active in the village, widely popular among them were those with a Zionist profile. Jewish social organizations were also active [1.4]. Following the outbreak of World War One, in September 1914, the Rottenbergs along with the entire population of the village were evacuated to Russia.
During the inter-War period, the Rottenbergs attempted to raise Skryhiczyn from collapse, as it had been looted and burned to the ground. However, due to the harsh conditions and deepening economic crisis, the rebuilding of a property, divided amongst the 26 heirs of Mordechaj Rottenberg, progressed very slowly. As a result of very difficult living conditions, part of the family moved to other cities. Yet another part emigrated to Palestine [1.5]. In the late 1930's, the public anti-semitic mood in Skryhiczyn intensified and economic conflicts arose between the Orthodox, Catholic and Jewish populations of the village.
Years of Occupation
Following the outbreak of World War II, the part of the Rottenberg family which had scattered throughout Poland returned to the family estate. From here, many of them, along with other Jewish inhabitants of Skryhiczyn, fled over the Bug River to territories occupied by the Soviet Union. Most of them survived the War [1.6]. After the village had been occupied by the Germans in 1939, a pogrom erupted which resulted in the deaths of six members of one Jewish family. [[chorus | Skryhiczyn, in: The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, ed. S . Spector, G. Wigoder, 3, New York (2001), 1196]]. There are several accounts of the fate of Jews in Skryhiczyn during the occupation. In November 1941, several Jews from Skryhiczyn were resettled in Hrubieszów, where they were forcibly recruited into a labour camp. In June 1942, along with Jews from the ghetto in Hrubieszów, they were deported to the Nazi extermination camp in Sobibór. [[chorus | Skryhiczyn,in: Pinkas ha-Kehilot; Entsiklopediya shel ha-le-min yishuvim hivasdam ve-ad le-aher shoal milhemet olam ha-ha-sheniya: Poland, Vol. 7: Kielce and Lublin, Jerusalem (1999), 337]]
After the War, in October 1948., the bodies of those Jews in 1942 were exhumed.
- [1.1] Mordechaj Kalman Rottenberg (died. 11.November 1873 ), he was buried In the Jewish cemetery on ul Okopowa street in Warsaw (section 32, row 16, matzeva number 62). The cemetery's spells his surname as "Rottenberg", while the Polish Judaic Dictionary (Polish: Polski Słownik Judaistyczny) uses "Rothenberg". See: Foundation of Jewish cemeteries records in Poland. Database of tombs of Jewish Cemeteries in Poland [online] http://cemetery.jewish.org.pl/id_107462/info/back_1:0/__Rottenberg.html [accessed: 09 October 2013] and entry: Doktór J., Żebrowski R., Alter Icchak Meir, in: Polish Judaic Dictionary, 1, Z. Borzymińska, R. Żebrowski (eds.), Warszawa (2003), 72.
- [1.2] Data of the foundation of Skryhiczyn based on the commentary of Mr Piotr Mensz, the descendant of founders of society.
- [1.3] Skryhiczyn, in: The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, S. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), 3, New York (2001), 1196.
- [1.4] Skryhiczyn, in: Pinkas ha-kehilot; entsiklopediya shel ha-yishuvim le-min hivasdam ve-ad le-aher shoat milhemet ha-olam ha-sheniya: Poland, 7: Kielce and Lublin, Jerusalem (1999), 376.
- [1.5] Kowalska I., Merżan I., Rottenbergowie znad Buga, Warszawa (1989), 26.
- [1.6] Z. Mańkowski, Polscy kresowi Żydzi i ich wiejskie życie w świetle pamiętników, in: E. Łoch, Literackie portrety Żydów, Lublin (1996), 164