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Jewish Families from Kalisz, Poland

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This project seeks to identify and collect all of the Geni profiles of Jewish families from the town of Kalisz, Poland. Kalisz was an important Jewish town going back hundreds of years. Unlike many of the smaller Jewish Town Projects on Geni this is more of a city project for there were thousands of Jewish citizens of Kalisz over the years. Today Kalisz has more than 100,000 inhabitants and a commitment to remembering the Jewish community that was once there.

JewishGen Kalisz Page

Located in the Poznań province west of Łódź, Kalisz was for centuries a border town between Poland and Germany. One of the oldest cities in Poland, Kalisz also played a pivotal role in Polish Jewish history: in 1264, Prince Bolesław V the Chaste, ruler of the western part of Poland (Wielkopolska), was the first to grant a charter to the local Jewish community, giving them settlement rights, legal protection, and certain religious and financial freedoms. This "Statute of Kalisz" was extended to the whole country by King Casimir the Great and expanded by later Polish rulers. It provided the legal foundation for Jewish rights in Poland. Source Wikipedia from USHMM site.

KALISZ (German, Kalisch):

By: Herman Rosenthal, Judah David Eisenstein, J. G. Lipman City in the government of the same name in Russian Poland; situated on the River Prosna, near the Prussian frontier. Its Jewish community is one of the oldest in Poland. In 1264 Boleslaw the Pious granted the Jews of Kalisz charters of privileges which were used as models for similar charters by Casimir the Great in 1334 and by Duke Withold in 1388.

During the fourteenth century the Jews of Kalisz, like those of other cities near the German frontier, suffered greatly from the attacks of mobs which accused the Jews of having poisoned the wells in times of epidemics; and Casimir the Great handed to the Jew Falk of Kalisz the charter of privileges securing to him and his coreligionists protection from these false accusations (July 15, 1364).

The Jews of Kalisz are mentioned in an edict of King Sigismund August, dated Sept. 16, 1549, imposing a head-tax of one Polish florin on the Jews of several communities ("Metrika Koronnaya," No. 77, fol. 214, v.). In 1666 the troops of the Polish general Czarniecki killed 600 members of the Kalisz community.

The earliest mention of Kalisz in Hebrew literature is probably that made by Solomon Segal, dayyan at Kalisz in the first half of the thirteenth century, in Menahem b. Solomon's "Sekel Ṭob," section "Wayiḳra" (Dyhernfurth, 1735). Joel Sirkes in his responsa "Bet Ḥadash" (ed. Cracow, 1617, No. 43) refers to an accusation against the Jews of Kalisz of stealing a small image of "the Redeemer" ("ha-Go'el"). A Jewish hospital was founded at Kalisz in 1863 by Louis Mamrath; and a new Synagogue was built in 1879.

An anti-Jewish riot broke out in the city June 23, 1878, due to the erection of an "'erub" by the ultra-Orthodox rabbi Ḥayyim Wachs, which displeased the Christian inhabitants. A mob from the neighboring villages demolished the synagogue, the residence of the rabbi, and part of the Jewish hospital; three Jewish children were killed, several Jews were wounded, and Jewish property to the amount of about 200,000 rubles was stolen or destroyed. The riot was suppressed by the militarythe same evening. The city was placed under martial law, and was condemned to pay damages to the amount of 80,000 rubles, while the surrounding villages had to pay 40, 000 rubles. Rabbi Ḥayyim was forced by the Jewish community to resign.

The best-known rabbis of Kalisz have been:

Solomon Segal (13th cent.); Judah Nissan (17th cent.), author of "Bet Yehudah"; Jehiel Michael b. Aryeh (second half of 17th cent.), author of "Sha'are Ḥokmah" (Prague, 1657), on religious ethics, and of "Sha'are Shamayim," a collection of sermons, in two parts (part i., ib., 1675); Moses b. Benjamin Wolf Rofe, author of "Yerushat Mosheh" (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1677), and of "Yarim Mosheh" (Amsterdam, 1679); both books contain medical prescriptions and "segulot" written in Judæo-German (Benjacob, "Oẓar ha-Sefarim," p. 230); Abraham Abele Gumbiner; Eleazar Lazar (second half of 18th cent.); Abraham Abele (end of 18th cent. and beginning of l9th); Elijah Ragoler (born at Neustadt-Sugind 1794; became rabbi at Kalisz 1840; died there 1849); Ẓebi Hirsch Chajes (died at Lemberg Oct. 12, 1855); Meïr b. Isaac Auerbach (born at Dobia, near Kalisz, Feb. 10, 1815; held the rabbinate of Kalisz from 1855 to 1860, when he went to Palestine; died at Jerusalem May 8, 1878); Ḥayyim Eleazar Wax (died at Kuznitza, near Kalisz, June 30, 1889); Samson Ornstein (born 1822; rabbi of Kalisz from 1886 until his death, Dec. 1, 1903). Other prominent Jews of Kalisz were Jacob Prague, Lazarus Gutman, Wolf Lewi, Tobias Koppel, Elias Koppel, Meïr Sachs, Matthias Mann, Joseph D. Seizner, David Stein, Ezekiel Steinman, and Wolf Fränkel, the philanthropist.

In 1897 the Jewish inhabitants in the city numbered 8,026 in a total population of 21,680; in the government, 70,907 in a total population of 846,719. The community possesses the usual charitable organizations, which are in a prosperous condition.

Bibliography: Regesty, vol. i., s.v., St. Petersburg, 1899; the list of rabbis has been gathered from Lewinstein, Dorot 'Olamim, Warsaw, 1899, and Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, passim; Allg. Zeit. des Jud. 1878, pp. 458, 492. Source, The Jewish Encyclopedia 1906 publlc domain

International Jewish Cemetery material link: Visit the JRI-Poland web site at Jewish Records Indexing - Poland, an independent non-profit U.S. tax-exempt organization. The JRI-Poland mailing list and database are hosted by JewishGen. JRI-Poland data is searchable on the JRI-Poland database and is also displayed on the All-Poland database as a service to researchers.


Don't miss the first IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in Eastern Europe and our 38th overall! The Warsaw, Poland Hilton Hotel & Conference Center will be the base for lectures, panels, networking, and historic excursions and a unique Resource Village!

Mark your calendar for 5-10 August 2018 & visit for details.

         Early registration is now open through 28 April 2018. JRI-PL Digest for Sunday, May 13, 2018.

1. JRI-Poland Announces Luncheon Speaker for the Warsaw IAJGS Conference 2. Updates to the JRI-Poland database 3. JRI-Poland adds more Warszawa Data to the Database 4. New Data for Galician Towns Added to JRI-Poland Database


Subject: JRI-Poland Announces Luncheon Speaker for the Warsaw IAJGS Conference From: Mark Halpern <> Date: Sun, 13 May 2018 08:44:14 -0400 X-Message-Number: 1

On behalf of the Board of Directors of JRI-Poland, I am pleased to announce that the speaker at the JRI-Poland Luncheon at the 38th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will be the Mayor of Ciechanowiec, Poland Miroslaw Reczko. The luncheon will take place at 12:00 pm on Monday, August 6.

Dr. Miroslaw Reczko received an MA from the University of Detroit and a PhD at the University of Bialystok. He authored "The Soviet Murder near Zabludow on June 23, 1941" and "Polish-Jewish Relations in the Ciechanowiec Region during World War II. Miroslaw directed the renovation of a Ciechanowiec synagogue and the preservation of Jewish tombstones. He erected a memorial plaque to remember the 4,000 Holocaust victims from Ciechanowiec, Zareby, and Czyzew. Miroslaw currently is involved in translating the Ciechanowiec Yizkor Book into English and Polish.

The topic of his talk is "Time for Serious Research into What Occurred in Polish Shtetlach During WWII." Miroslaw will explain that to have a full picture of what really happened in Polish shtetlach during WWII, we need to unite our efforts and create Jewish-Polish pairs of researchers who can share their knowledge about each shtetl. A more expansive description of Miroslaw's lecture can be found on the program schedule

Miroslaw will also be presenting on Tuesday, August 7 at 2:45 pm on the topic "Jewish-Polish Relations in the Southern Bialystok Region from 1939-1941."

If you are registered for the Conference, come and join the JRI-Poland team, have a good Kosher lunch, and listen to Miroslaw's intriguing talk. Go to the Registration Attendee Service Center and add the JRI-Poland Luncheon on Monday, August 6.

See you all in Warsaw.

On behalf of the Board of JRI-Poland Mark Halpern


Subject: Updates to the JRI-Poland database From: "Hadassah Lipsius" <> Date: Sun, 13 May 2018 11:57:07 -0400 X-Message-Number: 2

JRI-Poland has added nearly 120,000 additional records to our database. Several of my colleagues have already made announcements about additions.

Updates, additions and/or image links were added for the towns of Bytom, Czarnkow, Kalisz, Krotoszyn, Osieciny, Przysucha and Warszawa, Special thanks to the tireless work of our volunteers who made this possible.

Thank you to:

Tamar Amit, Stephen Cohen, Howard Fink, Nicole Heymans, Roger Lustig, Madeleine Okladek, Michael Tobias and Anatol Usanov.

Special thanks to our friend Haim Ghiuzeli, Director of the Beit Hatfutsot database Department, for his continued support.

Hadassah Lipsius On Behalf of the Board of JRI-Poland


Please refer to the Discussions portion of this Town Project for ongoing additional current information about BMD records for Kalisz.