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Jewish Families of Dobrzyń Nad Wisłą

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Photographs and text by Julian H. Preisler


Dobrin in Yiddish

Former Jewish community in Lipno Province, Poland.
[GPS: 52.6385° N / 19.3215° E, 52°38'18" N / 19°19'17" E]

Dobrzyń nad Wisłą (Dobrin in Yiddish) is located on the Wisłą (Vistula) River in the Włocławek Province of Poland. It is a small town located halfway between the cities of Włocławek and Płock in central Poland. The town, founded in 1065, is noted as a regional recreational center and has a population of about 2,500.


The Jewish Community of the town was established in 1765. Jews at one time made up 1/3 of the total population. A grand wooden synagogue once graced the town, but it was destroyed during the Nazi Occupation & World War Two. The Jewish cemetery was also destroyed during this time. The site of the cemetery now lies under the Vistula River, the results of damming of a site upstream for industrial purposes.


There are no Jewish residents of Dobrzyń nad Wisłą today with most current-day residents unaware of the rich Jewish history of the town and also of the decimation of the Jewish population in the Nazi genocide. A travel brochure for the town does mention that there was once a large Jewish population in the town. A short article about Dobrzyń nad Wisłą is included in the "Yizkor Book" for the neighboring city of Włocławek. The article, which tends to be sentimental and brooding, describes the town as a dark, poor, muddy almost hopeless place. This was probably a fairly accurate description of life in Dobrzyń in the 19th century.


The 20th century brought improvements and modernization, but life was probably difficult and many left for a better life in the United States and also in Great Britain. Landsmann groups for Dobrzyn nad Wisła are known to have existed in New York City, Chicago and also London, England. There are "Dobriner" landsmann cemetery sections at the Waldheim Cemetery in Chicago and at Bayside, Acacia and Washington Cemeteries in Queens and Brooklyn, New York. A large number of Jewish records from Dobrzyń nad Wisłą survived the war with the earliest records dating to the early 19th century. Various vital records are available through the town hall, the regional state archives, and also through the Mormon Church.