We Remember Jewish Kurzelow!

Yad Vashem: Pinkas Hakehilot
VOL VII: Districts Lublin & Kielce, Editor Abraham Wein, Jerusalem 1999, pp. 466

Kurzelow

(Wloszczowa region, district of Kielce)

50 53' 19 53'
170.3 kilometers SSW of Warsaw

Translated by Ada Holtzman in Honor of Edyta Gawron

Year

Population

Jews

1662

335

-

1827

996

88

1857

1045

62

1921

1516

191

September 1939

-

119

Kurzelow is mentioned first in the 12th century, in shepherds' dispatch of the Pope of that time, who fixed in it a new ecclesiastical district. In 1285 the privileges of a town were granted and permission to hold a weekly market day. In the year 1540, there were 85 houses and in the beginning of the 17th century there was a flourmill, smithy and a factory of iron products. Around that time, gilds of tailors, blacksmiths and furriers. In the middle of the 17th century, the Swede invaders conquered Kurzelow and shed destruction and ruin. Since then, Kurzelow declined and its position deteriorated for two hundreds of years. Only in the 19th century there was economical and demographic growth again.

Kurzelow was conquered by the German in the beginning of September 1939.

Jews, habitants of Kurzelow are first mentioned in the beginning of the 19th century. They were very few in numbers. And even during the First World War, when the Jewish settlement reached its climax, it numbered no more than 50 families.

In the period between the two World wars, there was a study house ("Beth Midrash") which was wide enough to accept all the praying Jews from the surrounding villages. The mother community of Kurzelow was Wloszczowa. We don't have information about the public life of the Jews of Kurzelow. It is possible that due to the small number and lack of sources of living, the number of Jewish citizens had decreased. Another reason for the Jews to leave were symptoms of anti-Semitism, which had increased in the 30s of the 20th century.

During World War II

Kurzelow was conquered by the Germans already in the beginning of September 1939' but since it was a small and remote place, they didn't settle in it and left the local rule to the Poles. Due to that reason the life in this community continued calmly. The local Jews were under the Judenrat of Wloszczowa. In February 1940, the Judenrat of Wloszczowa transferred to Kurzelow 275 Jewish refugees deported from Wloclawek. The refugees arrived to the place exhausted, sick and hungry and the welfare committee in Kurzelow helped them as much as they could. On 10 March 1940, a public kitchen was opened and served about 300 daily hot meals to the hungry refugees. Another aid was served, like beds, clothes and medicines.

On July 1940, a Ghetto was erected in Wloszczowa, and ever since then, the ability of the Judenrat to aid the Jews of Kurzelow decreased. The refugees remained in Kurzelow until mid September 1942, while an Aktion ("Akcja") took place in Kurzelow. In the beginning, 13 Jews were murdered on the spot. The rest of the Ghetto, local and refugees were deported to Wloszczowa. Two days before Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) 1942, everyone was deported to death camp Treblinka. In the year 1942, probably after almost all the Jews were already expelled, three Gestapo men arrived to Kurzelow and murdered 7 Jews - 5 men and 2 women (probably they were Jews who were hiding and handed over to the Germans).

Bibliography:
Yad Vashem Archive JM/3521; R-I/926

Mr. Edward Kopowka - Director
Museum to Fighting and Martyrdom in TREBLINKA
08-830 Kosow Lacki
Poland Tel Aviv 24 April 2003
 
Dear Mr. Kopowka,
 
 

RE: A SYMBOLIC MATZEVA (TOMBSTONES) IN TREBLINKA TO THE COMMUNITY OF KURZELOW (near Wloszczowa)
   

Unfortunately there is no symbolic stone for KURZELOW in Treblinka.

 

Please add the name of KURZELOW.

 

I kindly request from you, to add a symbolic stone to the memory of the Jews of this town, expelled to Ghetto Wloszczowa and from there, on 19 September 1942 they were deported together with the Jews of Wloszczowa to Treblinka. (Source: Yad Vashem, Pinkas Hakehilot, Encyclopedia of the Communities, Vol. VII, pp. 466)

Thank you for your efforts,

Shalom,
   

Ada Holtzman
10/5 Korazim St.

Tel Aviv
ISRAEL

   

Copy:

Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel
Ms. Edyta Gawron - (by email)

Jan Jagelski, The Jewish Institute in Warsaw

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WE REMEMBER! SHALOM!