The first Jews started to settle in Turobin during the years 1516-1530. In 1576, an autonomous Jewish community was established in the town. The Jews settled mainly in the area of the market square; for instance in the Old Town there was Żydowska Street[1.1]. The Jews were supposed to pay their contribution to the town budget which amounted to 1zł for Jewish origin and 10 zł for soap.
The Jews were skilled at both trade and craft[1.2]. They sold such products as: grain, honey, alcohol, meat, industrial goods, cloth, herring, and salt.
In 1591, a Polish-Jewish conflict occurred when the Jews of Turobin were injured by students of the Holy Spirit School. In 1600 the relations between Christian and Jewish tradesmen were regulated by Jan Zamojski who settled that the trade of goods would take place in the Old Town whereas the trade of oxen, horses and cattle would be in the New Town[1.3].
During the years 1712-1715, Turobin lands were leased by Herszek Chaimowicz, a Jew[1.4]. On the 30th of June 1754, there was a fire in the town as a result of which 10 Jewish houses worth 20,750 zł were destroyed. The fire also resulted in a robbery that led to further Jewish losses amounting to 4,950 zł. Ajbus Josfowicz (5,000 zł), Bieniasz Irszowicz (4,050 zł), and Abraham Zuzmanowicz (3,050) made the greatest losses. During another fire, a Jewish boys’ school (10,000), a rabbi’s house (1,600 zł), a Jewish hospital (600 zł), a house of teachers and a bath (3,000 zł) were destroyed[1.5].
Between the years 1775-1778, a kehillah of Turobin had an argument with a kehillah from Żółkiewka. This resulted in an arbitrary inspection of the Jewish community from Turocin in the area belonging to the kehillah from Żółkiewka.
Among others, Mordko Pejsakowicz from Turobin took part in parliamentary sessions of the Four-Year Sejm (1788-1792)[1.6]. In 1799, there were 2,161 inhabitants in Turobin, including 480 Jews (22%).
At the beginning of the 19th century, the Jews of Turobin owned 13 vineyards. In 1820, the town was inhabited by 1,866 people, including 501 Jews (26%)[1.7]. In 1869 there were 2,782 inhabitants, including 1,065 Jews (38%). In the mid-19th century Josef Turobiner, Wulf Goldman, and Chaim Wajsner were supervisors of the synagogue[1.8].
In the 1830s and 1840s, Turobin lands were leased by the Jew Lejba Nachmanowicz whose successor until 1850 was Chaim Klugman. In 1857, 12 Jews were owners of drinking dens: Boruch Trydler, a widow Turobiner, a widow Szadynowa, Nusyn Zyntak, Chaim Wajser, Ejzyk Morgensztorn, Majla Wajser, Wolf Turobiner, Szaja Mintz, Zelek Goldman, Chaim Klugman, and Moniek Gladman[1.9]. In 1861 a local branch of the National Committee of the January Uprising was established in Turobin, a member of which was also the Jew Lew Szloma.
In about 1910, a group of the richest Jews from Turobin included: Chemia Zylbersztejn, Szyja Rozenfeld, Szyja Naj, Moszek Rozenfarb, Icek Gajer, Icek Kaminier, Dawid Tauman, Benjamin Fersztendyk[1.10].
In the interwar period the Jewish community of Turobin had a brick synagogue, a cemetery, and a wooden mikvah. Tailoring was a craft almost completely dominated by the Jews. During the years 1916-1937, Mordka Majer Wajsbrat[1.11] was a rabbi in Turobin. At that time there were 1,592 inhabitants, including 956 Jews (60%).
In 1932, there was an argument between Zionists and Orthodoxies of Turobin connected with filling posts of mohels. In the end, it was decided that each group should have its own mohel[1.12].
Before the outbreak of World War II, there were about 1,400 people in the Jewish community of Turobin. On the 17th of September 1939, the town was under the German occupation and just a few days later – on the 23rd of September 1939 – it was already under the Russian occupation. At that time, about 100 young Jews from Turobin fled to the USSR.
About 1,250 Jews from Łódź, Koło, Konin and Słupsk came to Turobin from October to December 1939[1.13]. There was no ghetto in Turobin and the Jews lived near the market square. In winter 1940, there was an epidemic of typhus among the Jewish population[1.1.6]. In March 1941, about 400-600 Jews were transported to Turobin.
The members of the Judenrat in Turobin were, among others, Szloma Kipfer (the chairman), Icek Juffe, Szyja Liberman, and Abram Wolf[1.14]. In 1941, a few Jews from Turobin were sent to the labor camp in Rawa Ruska to work by building tank traps[1.1.6].
In spring 1942, there were about 4,000 Jews in Turobin. In October 1942, members of the Judenrat were arrested by the German army. First, they were kept in the building of the Municipal Council and later they were executed by firing squads in gorges near Olszanka- a nearby village. Among those Jews whom were shot were: Szloma Kipfer, Brandt, Icek Juffe, Szyja Liberman, Abram Wolf, Aron Zelman, Dawid Akerman, Mordka Baum and his daughter, Abram Baumfeld, Abram Cwekin and Szyja Dawid. Not only were the local Poles[1.15] the eyewitnesses of the execution, but they were also instructed to bury the bodies of the murdered Jews[1.16].
On the 30th of April 1942, from 2 a.m. to 6 p.m. the German army murdered about 200 Jews, including about 20 children. After the massacre, the Nazis made the village leader – Franciszek Szumowski – bury the bodies in a mass grave in the Jewish cemetery. On the 10th of May 1942 about 2,000 Jews of Turobin and its area were taken to the railway station in Krasnystaw. Having waited there all night long, the Jews were sent to the death camp in Sobibor. The Jewish community of Turobin was completely vanquished on the 18th of October 1942. On that day, the remaining Jews from Turobin were taken to Izbica; whereas healthy and strong Jews were sent to the labor camp in Trawniki, the rest of the Jews were sent to the death camp in Bełżec and Sobibor. 30 young Jews managed to escape to nearby forests on their way to Izbica[1.17].
- [1.1] Ibidem.
- [1.2] A. Wójtowicz, Mój rodzinny Turobin cz. II [w:] „Dominik Turobiński”, no 29, Dec 2007, p. 9.
- [1.3] R. Tokarczyk, Turobin..., p. 135.
- [1.4] Ibidem, p. 109.
- [1.5] Ibidem, p. 121.
- [1.6] Turobin, Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities in Poland, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/pinkas_poland/pol7_00241.html, [according to data from 11 July 2008].
- [1.7] R. Tokarczyk, Turobin..., p. 173.
- [1.8] Ibidem, p. 193.
- [1.9] Ibidem, p. 196.
- [1.10] Ibidem, p. 222.
- [1.11] Ibidem, p. 237.
- [1.12] Ibidem, s. 242.
- [1.13] M. Majewski, Skład narodowościowy i wyznaniowy mieszkańców Turobina w okresie wojny i okupacji [w:] „Dominik Turobiński”, no 24, Nov 2006, p. 27.
- [1.1.6] [a] [b] Turobin, Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities in Poland, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/pinkas_poland/pol7_00241.html, [according to data from 11 July 2008].
- [1.14] R. Tokarczyk, Turobin..., p. 270.
- [1.15] Stanisław Bielaszewski, Jan Bielaszewski, Franciszek Tyburski, Jan Chmielewski, Edward Łukasik and Jan Pudło.
- [1.16] R. Tokarczyk, Turobin..., p. 273.
- [1.17] Ibidem, p. 276.