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Jewish Families from Mielec, Poland

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This project seeks to collect all of the Jewish families from the town of Mielec, Poland, also known as Melitz, Melits, Myelets.

Gesher Galicia - Mielec

KehilaLinks - Mielec

The first mention of Jews in Mielec dates back to 1573, when Barbara and Izrael got married. Later on, in 1601, Mojżesz, who was an inhabitant of Mielec, acquired a property within the town’s borders.

During the Swedish Deluge (1665–1670) forty local Jewish families were killed. According to the tax census in Mielec, only twenty Jewish families paid head tax in 1662, whereas in 1676 there were only six families to pay the tax. In a nearby town Rzochów (nowadays a district of Mielec), where the first Jewish settler arrived in 1631, there were just twelve Jewish families at that time. However, in 1676 twenty Jewish families paid head tax in Rzochów.

Initially, both Jewish municipalities from Mielec and from Rzochów fell under the jurisdiction of the kahal of Opatów. The first wooden synagogue was erected in 1721, however, it fell victim to the great fire in 1865. Two other synagogues were consumed by the same fire. Since 1720 the local community had a cheder. The head of the kahal was then Abram Markowic. Since 1741 Jews were allowed to cast their ballots in municipal elections, so that the members of the town council were chosen with the consent of the whole populace and all the synagogues[1.1]. In 1765 there were 914 Jews living within the kahal’s boundaries: 585 in Mielec and 94 in Rzochów. In 1777 the Jews of Mielec paid the tolerance tax in the amount of 914 zlotys, which would suggest that Mielec was the ninth most densely populated by Jews municipality in the Podkarpackie province.

Mielec came under the Austrian rule in 1772. Therefore, since 1792 Jewish children attended so-called jüdisch-deutsche Schule (Ger.: Jewish-German schools). In 1799 a brick beth midrash was erected. In the same year a wooden synagogue was built in Rzochów. At that time 1008 Jews lived in the town, which constituted 34% of the total population.

The Jewish community of Mielec was mostly Chassidic. At the beginning of the 19th century Jakub Horowic, the son of the famous tzadik Naftali of Ropczyce and a former rabbi of Kolbuszowa, held the office of the rabbi. He was also a tzadik since 1827 as well. 1,980 people were members of the Jewish community in 1846; in 1870 – there were 2,534 Jews in the community. In the kahal, there were two synagogues and three rabbis, among others. Juda Horowic held the function of the chief rabbi at that time.

In 1872 it came to anti-Jewish riots due to economic reasons. Local police forces were not sufficient to handle the situations; therefore, soldiers were called in to the town. The second wave of similar riots took place in 1895.

Pinkas Kranz Foundation established in 1881 a poorhouse for needy Jews and Christians in Mielec. Moreover, in 1885 the Credit-Verein (the Credit Society), which was supervised by N. Schmirer, was established. Another Credit Society was founded in 1892 and was presided by Natan Gross. 13 out of 24 people in the Town Council were Jewish. At the end of the 19th century a new, two-towered, brick synagogue was erected on the site where the old building stood. What is more, a kosher slaughterhouse and a mikveh were built in its vicinity. There were 45 shops in Mielec, 41 of which belonged to Jews. It was also in 1899 that Abraham Juda Kurz opened a printing-house in the town. 3,993 Jews lived in the municipality in 1900, 2817 in the town itself. The kahal financed a religious school. Another school was founded by the Maurycy Baron Hirsch Foundation. Naftali Horowitz held the function of the rabbi in that period. In 1905 4,017 Jews lived in the town and they constituted 62% of the total population. It was also in that year that the first Jewish bookshop was established by Rachela Grau. In 1918 grounded a foundation to support poor Jews.

When the Russian troops seized the town on September 21, 1914, Cossacks plundered Jewish houses and shops. On November 4 and 7, 1918 Jewish shops were looted by peasants from the nearby villages. One of the intervening police officers was killed in the incident. On May 1, 1919 another wave of anti-Semitic riots took place. This time 4,000 people participated in the pogrom, both from the country and from the town itself. In the course of the riot 14 Jewish shops and five flats were plundered. Moreover, eight Jews were injured, as they were defending their property. Although similar attempts at triggering riots were made on May 8 and 15, they were not successful due to the firm attitude of the gendarmerie and the army.,history/