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Jewish Families of Grojec, Poland

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GROJEC (Yid. Gritse), small town in Warsaw district. The privilege granted to the town in 1744 prohibited Jewish settlement there; nevertheless Jews began to settle there in the 18th century; they are mentioned there in 1754. The community numbered 1,719 in 1856 (68.7% of the total population), 3,737 in 1897 (61.9%), and 4,922 in 1921 (56.3%). On the eve of World War II there were approximately 5,200 Jews living in Grojec.

With the entry of the German army on Sept. 8, 1939, terrorization of the Jewish population began. The synagogue was burned. On Sept. 12, 1939, all men between the ages of 15 and 55 were forced to assemble at the market, and from there were marched on foot to Rawa Mazowiecka, about 37 mi. (60 km.) away. Many were shot on the way. During the spring of 1940 about 500 Jews from Lodz and the vicinity were forced to settle in Grojec. In July 1940 a ghetto was established and the plight of the Jewish inhabitants drastically deteriorated. They suffered from hunger, epidemics, and lack of fuel during the winter of 1940–41. About 1,000 fled to Bialobrzegi and were murdered there or deported to Treblinka in the fall of 1942. The Grojec ghetto was liquidated on February 28, 1942, when most of the remaining Jews were deported to the Warsaw ghetto to share the fate of the Jews there. Of those still in Grojec, 83 were deported after some time to a slave labor camp in Russia near Smolensk, where almost all were murdered. The last 250 Jews were executed in the summer of 1943 in a forest near Gora Kalwaria. After the war the Jewish community in Grojec was not reconstituted. Organizations of former Jewish residents of Grojec were established in Israel, France, the U.S., Canada, and Argentina.

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The Wildman Family

Among the earliest Jewish settlers were the Wildman family. Isaac Wildman Was born in Grojec around 1785 and although Jews were prohibited from the liquor trade, Isaac ran a successful tavern and his family bought the Grojec estates of the famed Polish cleric Piotr Skarga.

The Margulies Family

Judah Lieb Margulies appears to have been the first Margulies to have lived in Grojec, although his great grandfather Naftali had been the rabbi of the town of Zelechow, also in Grojec County and about 14 miles away, about 100 years previously. He moved to Grojec in 1874 and married a granddaughter of Isaac Wildman, Ita.