The first records of Jews in Tyszowce date back to 1528. In 1576, the Jewish community was granted a privilege to settle in Tyszowce from King Sigismund II Augustus[1.1]. In 1569, the same monarch established in the town four fairs per year. Every Wednesday street markets took place. The fairs were organized in the town square, which was inhabited mostly by Jews. They were engaged in trade and crafts. They lived in the part of Tyszowce called Ostrów. With the Jews in the town, Tyszowce became the biggest center of butchery to the east of Lvov.

In 1571, there were 31 Jewish families living in Tyszowce. In 1583, a convention Waad Arba Aracot, the Council of Four Lands, was convened[1.2]. In 1630, Tyszowce numbered 1,420 people, of whom 280 were Jewish (19%)[1.3].

In the 18th century, the post of rabbi was held by: Abraham David Ber Moshe, Tsvi Hirsz Zamość (author of “Tiferet Zvi”), Zachariasz Mendel Yaskis and Natan Nute Hakohen Shapira.

The growth of Jewish activity in Tyszowce took place in the second half of the 18th century, when Jan Mier became the town owner. That was the time when Jewish population expanded.

In 1845, Tyszowce numbered 2,922 people, of whom 1,134 were Jewish (34%)[1.4]. In 1881, Moszek Icek Wielwelewicz was the rabbi, who was accused by local Hassids of overpricing kosher meat. A year later an argument erupted in the synagogue between rabbi’s supporters and the Hassids, which ended in a fight. As a result all windows in the synagogue were broken. The conflict was resolved when the Russian territorial guards arrived to tame the outburst. The fight ended but the Hassids kept making Wielwelewicz’s life unbearable. They even accused the rabbi of crimes against the Russian state.

In 1884, Szmuel Sand denunciated the rabbi accusing him of smuggling to the Austro-Hungarian Empire the Jews who wanted to avoid being drafted to the Russian army. Yet, the accusations were not substantiated. Nevertheless, the Hassid witch-hunt forced the rabbi to leave Tyszowce in 1889. His post was temporarily taken by the synagogue teacher. In the subsequent years the position remained vacant[1.5].

In the inter-war period, in 1931 - 1932, a cinema was established in Tyszowce by a Jew, Mejer Szek, and a Pole, Kazimierz Sikorski. Another Jew, Mejer Szek, owned a tavern in the town square[1.6].

Among Jewish tailors, the names Fiszer and Hipersztajn could be found. The steam mill on the river and wood warehouse were owned by Abram Laks; the shop with ell cloths – by Cukier; cotton manufacture – by Krant. Bencio Adler sold grain, and Mojsie Duci Fidlender had a mil on Majdan. Basista sold shoes and Kupersztajn - textiles, while Minzberg - grain. Gecel owned a bakery, whilst Racymora had a tavern. Groceries and colonial goods were sold by Abram Korensztajn, whilst Chaim Kapel sold clothes. Moszko Fajer bought eggs and dairy, Wolf Chochgelenter bought vegetables, and Berko Eng - flour. Matys Wajntraub sold dyes and cosmetics, Estera Wajs sold beer, Sura Unrych – tea, Lipsza – ice-cream. Jewish restaurants were located at the entrance street to the town square, to the east, on both sides of the street. They were owned by Jankiel Glika and Soni Szek. The soda on the western side of the town square was run by Ruba, who brought soda from Mikulin springs[1.7].

In 1921, the settlement numbered 4,420 people, of whom 2,451 were Jews (55%). Prior to World War II, Ariel Glanc was the rabbi – his house stood by the elementary school in the town square[1.8].

In 1939, Tyszowce numbered 7,548 residents, of whom 3,311 were Jews (43%). On 8 October 1939, with the withdrawing Red Army, about 2,000 Jews left Tyszowce.

In Spring 1940, Germans established a Judenrat composed of 10 people. It was headed by the merchant Zeling Cukier. The Nazis also set up the Jewish police which was headed by Meir Szek. About 150 Tyszowce Jews were deported to the Zamość labor camp. They worked on reinforcing border fortifications near Lubycz Królewska. Jews from Warsaw, Otwock and Lublin were brought to Tyszowce, by the Nazis – they took part in river control work and road construction. Ernest Schultz, head of military police, was exceptionally cruel towards Jews.

During the night of 16/17 April 1942, the Nazis launched massive execution of Jews in Tyszowce. Jews were brought to the square before the former public bath – several hundred people were shot then. The Nazis threw the corpses into a huge ditch. Czesława Lesiuk recollects: It was around midnight. We could see flashes in our windows. Two Karczewski brothers and my two brothers hid in a shelter in our barn. I went to our neighbor, Paraskiewa Tybulczykowa. We went to the attic – there was a hole in the roof. When it dawned, Tybulczykowa said that there were lots of Jews down there and a machine gun near our house. 

Several days later, Maria Jukubiak was passing by the place of tragic events – she recollects what she saw: The ground was waving because of the gases from decomposing bodies. It was a hellish sight[1.9].

On 25 May 1942, the Gestapo herded 800 Jews to the town square and transported them to the Belzec (Bełżec) extermination camp. Those who tried to protest were killed on the spot. The head of the Judenrat was killed at that time – Zeling Cukier and other members of the Jewish Council. The reason for their death was the fact that they failed to prepare alcohol for the Germans who wanted to celebrate the onset of Jewish extermination. In the course of this event, several hundred Jews managed to flee to the forest.

For the remaining Jews a ghetto was established in the area between the old arm of the Huczwa River and Zamłynie. About 600-1000 Jews were put there, including several Czech Jewish families. A new Judenrat was established, headed by a Jew named Fiszleber. He was particularly cruel towards his kinsmen.

Near the ghetto there was a municipal detention house in which Germans kept several dozen of Jews for a whole week without food. It was witnessed by, amongst others, Mr. Adam Siuda, who recollects: People brought them milk and thin slices of bread. They levered up window frames as nobody was watching. Jews paid with a spare dollar or a ring. Every now and then a military policeman came to see if everything was in order. After a week, military police arrived from Rachanie or Zamość. When the Jews saw the car uproar erupted in cells. They felt their end was approaching. Germans lined up and started lashing each Jew with whips. They asked for gold. A fat Jew gave them a thick necklace, a ring and watches. The German took them, pulled out a gun and shot him. Then another German led them to a ghetto. There was a whole dug out there. He killed them one by one with a pistol. He recharged it, five bullets, came up and: bang, bang, bang. If only one of them attempted to escape. Not a single one did. Finally, a sergeant with a big belly went to see if the cell was empty. A bulky man jumped out from under the bunk – he pushed the German to the ground. The rest of Germans were already sitting in a car. Before the German got up, he started yelling: Halt! Halt! The man ran through our yard, and across the frozen river. A blue policeman shot at him and hit his ankle – he had a machine gun supported on coal heap. Two Germans were so determined that they jumped after him into the water. They put in the Jew as many bullets as their guns held [1.10].

In October 1942, the liquidation of the Tyszowce ghetto began. Those who had survived until then were transported on carts to the Bełżec extermination camp. In the ghetto, Germans killed 22 men, amongst others, rabbi Ariel Glanc. The head of the Judenrat – Fiszleber, together with his mother and daughter, committed suicide.

There were cases of Poles offering help to the Jews. Between autumn 1943 and spring 1944, Jakub Kopytka at Kątek was hiding the family of Mair Szek. Yet they were discovered and shot by Germans[1.11].

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Footnotes
  • [1.1] M. Mydlak, Zarys dziejów..., p. 14.
  • [1.2] R. Horbaczewski, W blasku świec..., p. 68.
  • [1.3] Tyszowce, Pinkas Hakehillot Polin, www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/pinkas_poland/pol7_00244.html, [as of 8 December 2008].
  • [1.4] J. Niedźwiedź, Leksykon historyczny..., p. 552.
  • [1.5] Demon niezgody w Tyszowcach, Strona o Żydach lubelskich, http://www.jews-lublin.net/index.php/Demon_niezgody_w_Tyszowcach, [as of 8 December 2008].
  • [1.6] R. Horbaczewski, W blasku świec..., p. 51.
  • [1.7] R. Horbaczewski, W blasku świec..., p. 73–74.
  • [1.8] R. Horbaczewski, W blasku świec..., p. 66.
  • [1.9] R. Horbaczewski, W blasku świec..., p. 86.
  • [1.10] R. Horbaczewski, W blasku świec..., p. 87.
  • [1.11] R. Horbaczewski, W blasku świec..., p. 88.