The earliest historical mention of Jews in Wysokie dates from 1536[1.1]. In 1787 there were 255 citizens in Wysokie, including 63 Jews (24%). Jews were usually petty traders. Christian traders, who aimed at stopping the increase of Jewish population in town, were granted a privilege called „De non tolerandis Judaeis”.[1.2]
Despite the activities to restrict Jewish settlement in the 19th century, the number of Jews in Wysokie was on the rise. In 1832 the owner of Wysokie - Ludwik Jabłonowski made it over to his son Karol, who leased it to a Jew called Majer Wolf Fenerstein. In 1886 there were 5841 citizens in town, including 352 Jews (6%).[1.3] Most of Jewish citizens were petty traders and craftsmen for living.
At the end of WWI the number of Jews decreased. Economic recession in Poland at that time had a negative influence on situation of Jewish population. The 1930s in Poland was the time of increase in anti-Semitism incidents, also in Wysokie Jewish citizens faced economic boycott. Some Poles with nationalist beliefs promoted “don’t buy from the Jews” slogans.
In 1921 Wysokie had 2187 citizens, including 352 Jews (16%). In 1926 many local Jews were accused of building houses on plots belonging to Christians. After the lease period was over they were ordered to return such houses. Due to best efforts of Jewish Members of Parliament sitting in the Sejm and some Polish politicians, the demands to return the land by Jewish citizens were considered unjustified.
Very little is known about Jews from Wysokie during German occupation. In March 1942 local Jews were transported by Germans to extermination camp in Bełżec.
In spring of 1942 Nazis formed a forced labour camp in Wysokie. Soon after, around 200 Jews were transported here from Turobin and other surrounding towns. All prisoners stayed in two houses belonging to local farmers. In autumn of 1942 the camp was liquidated and all Jews were send to Bełżec[1.4]. This was the end of Jewish community in Wysokie.
- Pinkas Hakehillot Polin (Yizkor Book in English) [as at 26th March 2009].
- The Central Database of Shoah (List of Holocaust victims) [as at 26th March 2009].
- Yad Vashem Photo Archive (Pre-WWII Photographs) [as at 26th March 2009].