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Jewish Families from Andrychów, Poland

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This project seeks to collect all of the Jewish families from the town of Andrychów in Poland.

Andrychów [Pol], Yandrichov [Yid], Andrichau [Ger], Andrichov, Andrikhov, Yendrikhov

Hebrew: אנדריכוב 30 miles WSW of Kraków, 6 miles W of Wadowice.

Jewish Population: 635 (in 1880)

1900: Andrychów, Wadowice, Galicia, Austrian Empire 1930: Andrychów, Wadowice powiat, Kraków województwo, Poland

Andrychów-Gesher Galicia


Andrychów-Virtual Shtetl


Victims of the Holocaust - list of names from Memorial Book of the Communities Wadowice, Andrychow, Kalwarja, Myslenice, Sucha

The Jewish Community of Andrychów

The establishment and development of the Jewish community in Andrychów, Rabbis and Judges Dr. David Jakubowicz – Tel Aviv

Translated by Sara Mages

Until the first division of Poland in 1772, there were only a few Jews in Andrychów and there wasn't a Jewish community there. The reason for that is simple. Andrychów (in the past it was called Henrychów) was a village from the 14th century until 1767. Of course, a place with a status of a village didn't attract Jews to come and live in it. In 1767, Andrychów received the status of a city from King Stanisław August Poniatowski[1]. The status of a royal city influenced and encouraged the Jews to settle there. The annexation of Galicia to Austria greatly influenced in this direction.

In “Encyclopaedia Judaica” of Dr. Klatzkin[2], it is stated that the Jewish settlement in Andrychów occurred at the beginning of the 19th century. From Mrs. Antonia Hemer, who lives today in Netanya, we know that her grandmother was born in Andrychów about 1806.

According to the book “The Wadowice district in the Galician Government “[3], in 1843 there were only two Jewish communities in this district– Oświęcim and Zator. Therefore, we can determine with certainty, that in 1843 the settlement in Andrychów didn't have a legal status of a Jewish community.

Below is the number of Jews in the city:

Year Total Jews % Jews According to 1851 1,051 181 17.1 [5] 1880 2,947 482 16.4 [4] 1890 4,053 654 16.1 [4] 1900 4,057 621 15.3 [4] 1919 4,514 511 11.3 [5] 1921 4,171 409 9.8 [2] 1939* 6,299 387 6.1 [5] 1939** 6,441 370 5.1 [5]

  • Before the outbreak of the war
    • In December [Page 252]

According to those figures, the number of Jews increased in the second half of the19th century. We can see in it a connection to the domestic industry of white cloth weaving that existed in Andrychów for generations. In 1839, only 4 Polish industrialists from Andrychów, and the nearby villages[3], participated in the cloth industry exhibition in Vienna. The Poles managed the industry on a small scale and in primitive methods.

As opposed to them, the Jews, who flowed to Andrychów at that time, started to establish factories that employed salaried workers. Over time, they brought modern machines to Andrychów from Vienna and England, and by improving the quality of the goods and the conquest of new markets all over Austria, they were able to turn the domestic industry into a modern industry that had a reputation throughout Europe.

There is no doubt, that the lack of a Jewish community statue in an industrial settlement, with a significant percentage of Jews, was intolerable at that time. The registration the cemetery plot (in 1884) in the estate's books, testify that the Jewish community was given a legal status before that date. It's impossible to determine the exact year, but it's clear that it happened between 1843 and 1884, and before the establishment of the legal Jewish community in Wadowice (when we compare the dates of the construction of the synagogues and establishment of the cemeteries in the two communities).

The leaders of the Jewish community in Andrychów:

Moritz Unger Moritz Herbst Theodore Flikes Ferdinand Stamberger Bernard Stamberger Aharon (Arnold) Weinsfat Dr. Joachim Lowitz In previous years there was a synagogue built of wood. Because of its old age the structure started to fall apart. In 1885, a grand new synagogue was built in the same place by the leader of the Jewish community Moritz Unger. Until 1879, an elementary religious school, where the children of Andrychów's Jews studied, existed next to the Jewish community. The teachers were the local rabbi and his assistant. Rabbi Yosef Kowak[6] was also one of those teachers. The separation between Christian and Jewish children can be attributed to the education law that existed at the time. Radical changes have occurred since 1867/68, when the Austrian Empire became a liberal state, and the Jews received equal civil rights. Then, a religious law (Konfessionsgesetz), which canceled the discrimination between the Jews and other nationalities, was posted. After several years, permission was also given to Andrychów's Jewish children to study together with the Polish children, and the Jewish Elementary School was eliminated

The cemetery plot was purchased in 1884. In the years 1922-1924

[Page 253]

a new Mikveh [ritual bath], a new community building with a meeting hall, and a resident for the rabbi were built next to the synagogue by the head of the Jewish community of that time, Ferdinand Stamberger.

According to the figures listed above, the Jewish population started to decline in 1919 with the revival of Poland and the opening of Galicia to the imports of textiles from the factories in Łódź. Andrychów couldn't face competition, and its industry began to decline from year to year. This situation caused the emigration of some Jews to Bielitz and to other cities. Usually other Jews didn't come, because unlike Wadowice the vast majority of Jews in Andrychów were “advanced” Jews, and the Jews of the nearby towns, Chrzanów, Oświęcim and Zator, were usually orthodox Jews who preferred to emigrate to Wadowice.

The situation in the nearby villages was worse. In 1894 there were 97 Jews in the village of Inwald, and only a few families remained there close to the war. The reasons for this decrease are listed in the history of the Jewish community of Wadowice (the implementation of the law to sell brandy, the anti-Semitic movement in the villages, and the establishment of the Polish supermarkets).

Rabbis and Judges We don't have clear details about the first rabbis in Andrychów. The first rabbi, whose history was investigated by us, is Rabbi Dr. Yosef Kobak (1828-1913) who was born in Lvov. He was a great scholar and also studied at the university in Lvov. Starting from 1860, he was the principle of the Jewish School in Andrychów, and from 1862 he served as Andrychów's Rabbi. For some time, he preached and was a school principle in Liptovský- Mikuláš (Slovkia). Later, until1888, he worked as a rabbi in the city of Amberg, Germany. In 1889 he returned to Lvov and was a preacher and a religion teacher there.

Rabbi Kobak established a Jewish Science magazine, which was published in 8 volumes in Germany in the years 1856-78. He also wrote a Hebrew grammar book for schools and for self-taught. He passed away in Lvov on 7 February, 1913.[7]

We don't know who replaced him when he left the city.

From the book “Ohel Yehoshua” (questions and answerers) chapter two, by the President of the Court of Oshpitsin [O%C5%9Bwi%C4%99cim], Rabbi Yehoshua Pinchas Bombach, it is known that:

a) In 5664 (1904) Rabbi Asher Rabin served as a judge and rabbi in Andrychów. Later, he served as a rabbi in the city of Korczyna.[8]

[Page 254]

b) In 5669 (1909), there was a judge and rabbi in Andrychów by the name of Rabbi Yakov Shlomo (his last name isn't mentioned).[9]

During our time, Rabbi Aba Matzner served as Andrychów's rabbi. He was a native of Zator and a religious teacher to the Jewish children in Andrychów's Elementary School. He was a cultured rabbi, spoke fluent German and Polish, and tried to give his children a secular education. His daughter Lola graduated from Wadowice's High School and studied medicine in Kraków. He was popular in Andrychów and his German and Polish speeches were impressive. An entire generation received a religious education from him.

For a certain period of Rabbi Aba Matzner tenure, also orthodox judges served in Andrychów. One of them was Rabbi Mendel Stern. When Rabbi Mendel Stern moved to serve as a rabbi in Bielitz, his son, Rabbi Moshe, filled his position. After the death of his father he also served as a rabbi in Bielitz.

After the death of Rabbi Aba Matzner in 1925, Rabbi David Avigdor was received in his place. Rabbi David Avigdor was born in Tyrawa-Wołoska in 1897. His father, who was a rabbi in Tyrawa-Wołoska, taught him during his youth. Later, he was taught by his older brother Yakov, who at that time was a famous rabbi in Drohobych and Boryslav, and after the Second World War he was the Chief Rabbi of Mexico City.

He also continued his education in secular studies and studied the art of painting.

At the outbreak of the First World War, when the Russian army invaded Galicia, he fled with his parents to Prague. There, he often visited Prague's Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Chaim Brody, and continued to study science.

After the war he returned to his hometown and got married in Sanok in 1921. He sold books and sacred vessels, and headed the district's chapter of the “Mizrachi” [religious Zionist] movement.

During his tenure in Andrychów, he worked to promote the study of the Torah among the locals and in the nearby towns, by giving lessons in Judaism to the youth and Talmud lessons to the older generation.

He was one of the principals of “Tachkemoni “ High-School in Kraków, and promoted the “Mizrachi “ movement with his enthusiastic speeches all over Western Galicia. He wrote many articles on religious and political issues in popular newspapers in Warsaw. As credit to his work, he was appointed as a member of the executive committee of “Mizrachi” in western Galicia and Silesia in Kraków. Later he was elected as chairman of the board of “Mizrachi” and “Torah v'Avodah” [Torah and work] movements.

He fled to Lvov the outbreak of the Second World War. When the Germans invaded Lvov in 1941 moved to Tarnów. On Rosh Hashanah 1942 he was probably sent from there to an extermination camp. His two sons, Avraham Yissachar and Shlomo Zalman, also perished in the Holocaust.

Throughout his life he wrote articles that were published at first in the “Yiddishe Tageblatt” [The Jewish Daily Page] and later in the “Yiddishe Shtime “ [The Jewish Voice] in Warsaw. He also wrote a weekly feuilleton under the name “Rodgiva”

[Page 255]

(Avigdor in reverse letters). He wrote a diary during the occupation and sent desperate letters to his friends in Israel.

His image is engraved among the circles of the “Mizrachi” movement in Western Galicia. In the commemoration committee meeting that was held at the “Religious Council” in Tel-Aviv on 16 February, 1966, it was decided to take steps to establish a “library in the name of Rabbi David Avigdor” in Ramat Karniel (near Pardes Chana).

Our small community had a great success in choosing rabbis. In many cases, the rabbi became known after the name of the city in which he served, and the city became famous thanks to its rabbis and scholars. The rabbi drew his inspiration and his prosperity from the city's greatness and history. In Andrychów it was the other way around. The rabbis didn't acquire their fame because they served in this small city, but the Jewish community acquired fame thanks to its rabbis.

Usually, small Galician communities aren't mentioned in “Encyclopaedia Judaica” (by Klatzkin), but the name of the city of Andrychów, with a description of its history, appears there only because Rabbi Kobak served there. It is a miracle that in a small city, far from Jewish centers, there were famous rabbis and editors of scientific journals like “Yeshurun “ that was published in Wrocław and Frankfurt, or journalists who wrote for news papers in Warsaw. One of them was Rabbi Avigdor. He was also a member of the executive committee and chairman of the board of the “Mizrachi “ movement, one of the major Zionist movements in Western Galicia and Silesia. He also represented the movement in global congresses.

Balaban, Sokolow, Zeitlin and Rafael Wizdman wrote special entries about Andrychów's rabbis. As aforesaid, there is a plan to build a library in Israel in memory of one of them. The Jewish community was destroyed, but thanks to the rabbis, men of science, writers and intellectuals, Andrychów's name will remain forever in the history of Polish Jewry.

“Welka Encyklpedja Powszechana”, Warsaw 1955. Return Berlin 1928, Volume II, Page 827. Return “Der Wadowitzer Kreis-Mehofer”, Vienna 1843, pages 17, 23. Return Table No. 2 at the beginning of this book. Return Andrychów's city archives. Return “Encyclopaedia Judaica” by Dr. Klatzkin, Berlin 1928. Volume X Page 142, The “Jewish Encyclopedia” edited by Dr. Kacenelson, Volume viii, Page 995. Return Encyclopedias - Dr. Kacenelson and Dr. Klatzkin; Sokolow, Yizkor Book; Zeitlin, Library 174; Meir Balaban, Rabbi Kobak 1913 – A.Z.J. No. 19. Return The contents of the letter that was sent by the author: (Article 29) “The sharp learned rabbi, a Hasid from a prominent linage, our teacher and rabbi R' Asher Rabin, rabbi and judge of the community of Andrychów. His letter came to me today, it is true that my hands are tied at this appointed time, but after I saw that this was necessary for the practice and the joy of the holiday, I found a moment to write a short answer to his question that they forgot to remove the paper that was glued to the outside walls of the wine barrels, and remained there for Passover, and I have the power to determine, that they can drink the wine at Passover by the virtue that it is preserved and cooked” etc. Return (Article 30) “To the prominent Rabbi, our teacher and rabbi R' Yakov Shlomo, Rabbi and Judge of the Jewish community of Andrychów. His letter came to me and I am replying to the woman who had a leg wound that was always open and the doctor gave her medicine to heal it. A scab was formed on the wound, it is very big and embedded in the wound, and now she asks if she can perform the ritual immersion without having to remove it, because the doctor said if she does, she would be in danger, God forbid, of infection” etc.

See also: Jewish Families from Wadowice, Poland