The first records of Jews in Szczucin date back to the beginning of the 18th century. In 1748, 54 Jews lived in the parish of Szczucin, which covered mainly the town. In the middle of the 19th century, there were already over 400 people - 30% of all residents. In the second half of the 19th century, the population of the community was still growing. Around 1870, there were 616 Jews in Szczucin, there was a rabbi, a synagogue and cemetery with an area of ​​approximately 0.3 ha, probably established in the first half of the 19th century. In 1880, there were 129 houses in Szczucin, inhabited by 1,154 people, including 566 Jews. In 1891, the number of inhabitants increased to 1,244, including 573 Jews. In 1910, Jews constituted 47% of the population (491 people). As can be noticed, after a period of growth, there was a sort of stagnation in numbers; it was related to the peripheral location of the town and its low status in the era of Galicia. Mass emigration also contributed to the decline in the numbers.

The Jewish community in Szczucin was of an orthodox character, and Hasidism became more popular over time. The town became the seat of Tzadik Yitzhak Horowitz, known as Icikiel Sticziner (died in 1940), the grandson of the legendary Tzadik Naftali from Ropczyce, a member of the Dzikow branch of the Ropczyce Dynasty. The Szczucin dynasty revived in the post-war period in Brooklyn, New York; it was first headed by Yitzhak's son Yehuda Horowitz (died in 1981), and the role of tzadik is currently held by Yitzhak's great-grandson, Eliezer Jehoszua Judkowski.

In 1921, Jews constituted 36% of the population of Szczucin - 624 people. The community retained an orthodox character, which was evident, for example, in the results of the elections to the communes, in which the Zionist, progressive and non-aligned candidates lost. In the interwar period, the Jews from Szczucin got 7 trade certificates from the Kraków Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In 1939, approximately 800 Jews lived in Szczucin; they constituted 40% of the population. After the German invasion of Poland, many refugees arrived there, especially from Cracow.

In June 1941, there were 707 Jews in the town. In September 1941, the Germans designated places in Szczucin, to which they brought the Jewish agricultural population from the whole area. In March 1942, the extermination operation began. At that time, Wehrmacht soldiers shot 25 Jews in the town, who had been forced to bury the bodies of murdered Polish soldiers -prisoners, killed as a result of disobedience of one of them. Already in 1942, the Jews from Szczucin were taken by the Germans to the ghetto in Tarnów; from where they were sent to the German Nazi extermination centre in Bełżec.

References

  • Bartosz A., Tarnowskie Judaica, Warszawa 1992.
  • Michalewicz J., Żydowskie okręgi metrykalne i żydowskie gminy wyznaniowe w Galicji, Kraków 1995.
  • Samsonowska K., Wyznaniowe Gminy Żydowskie i ich społeczności w województwie krakowskim (1918–1939), Kraków 2005.

 

Print