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Jewish Families of Ozorkow, Poland

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Province: Łódź Voivodeship / Łódź Voivodeship (before 1939) County: zgierski / łęczycki (before 1939) Community: Ozorków / Ozorków (before 1939) Other names: Ozorków [official language]; Ozorków [English]; Озоркув [German / Russian]; אוזורקוב [Hebrew] GPS: 51.9631° N / 19.2911° E, 51°57'47" N / 19°17'28" E

The earliest records of Jewish activity in Ozorków date back to the late 18th century. The inflow of Jews into the city was caused by the growth of the textile industry, evident from the emergence of a wool and cotton spinning mill and the Schlösser family cotton factory. Abraham Liwrach's textile factory was established in 1830. The growing number of factory workers facilitated the development of Jewish craft and trade. An independent Jewish community was established there in 1819. By 1897, the city already had 5,837 Jewish inhabitants, who constituted 50% of the overall population [B. Chlebowski, Ozorków, in: Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich, vol. VII, F. Sulimierski, B. Chlebowski, W. Walewski (eds.), Warszawa (1886), pp. 790–791; M. Adamczewski, Miasto – Historia miasta, Miasto Ozorków [online] 06 June 2006, http://ozorkow.info.pl/miasto/miasto-historia-miasta/ [accessed: 27 July 2014].].

In 1921, Ozorków had 4,949 Jewish inhabitants. Members of the Jewish community held 3 seats on the city council, while the mayor of the city, until 1939, was Salomon Winter. When the cotton mills were cut off from the absorptive Russian market, the lively industry of the interwar period collapsed. As a result, living standards in the city deteriorated drastically. In October 1937, the difficult economic conditions culminated in anti-Semitic riots and Jewish shops were boycotted. The events significantly worsened the economic situation and living conditions of the Jewish population [Ozork%C3%B3w, in: The Encyclopedia of Jewish life before and during the Holocaust, S. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), vol. II, New York (2001), p. 959.].

During World War II, on 7th September 1939, Ozorków was seized by the German military. The Germans carried out several executions; among the victims were 24 Jews. A local Judenrat was appointed, with Szymon Barczyński as the leader and Szymon Liska as one of the members. The commander of the Jewish police was Joszua Pareczewski. In early 1941, the Germans established the Ozorków ghetto, to which they confined nearly 6,000 Jews. Initially, the ghetto was not walled in and its inhabitants led lives not unlike those before the War. Schools remained open and prayers were held regularly [Ozork%C3%B3w, in: The Yad Vashem Encyclopedia of the Ghettos during the Holocaust, G. Miron, Sh. Shulani (eds.), vol. II, Jerusalem (2009), pp. 567–568.]. Textile and shoe factories located within the Jewish quarter provided jobs for most inhabitants of the ghetto. In addition, 1,000 people worked in factories outside the ghetto. In 1941, some of the Jewish workers (400 people) were deported to labour camps situated in Poznań and the surrounding area [Ozork%C3%B3w, in: The Encyclopedia of Jewish life before and during the Holocaust, S. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), vol. II, New York (2001), p. 959.].

The first step towards the liquidation of the ghetto was the execution of 8 or 10 Jews on a charge of assisting in the escape of a Jewish woman. On German orders, all the inmates of the Ozorków ghetto had to watch the execution. The hanging of the arrested Jews was ordered by SS unit commander Major Heinrich Butschkov. The bodies were left on the gallows for two days. In May 1942, the Germans deported 1,700-2,000 Jews, most of them children, the elderly and women, to the Nazi extermination camp in Chełmno. About 1,000 Jews remained in Ozorków. The ghetto was downsized and turned into a labour camp. By August 1942, all the Jews had been transported to the Łódź ghetto [Ozork%C3%B3w, in: The Yad Vashem Encyclopedia of the Ghettos during the Holocaust, G. Miron, Sh. Shulani (eds.), vol. II, Jerusalem (2009), pp. 567–568.].

Bibliography

Ozorków, in: The Encyclopedia of Jewish life before and during the Holocaust, S. Spector, G. Wigoder (eds.), vol. II, New York (2001), p. 959. Ozorków, in: The Yad Vashem Encyclopedia of the Ghettos during the Holocaust, G. Miron, Sh. Shulani (eds.), vol. II, Jerusalem (2009), pp. 567–568.



OZORKOW, town in Lodz province, Poland. Founded in 1811, the settlement expanded rapidly and was granted urban status in 1816. Its Jewish population grew in size because it was dependent on the development of the textile industry in Lodz. In 1860 there were 1,978 Jews (38% of the total population) and on the eve of the Holocaust in 1939 they numbered about 5,000 (33% of the total population). During the 19th century Jews established workshops for weaving. Jewish tailors were also employed by industrial enterprises in Lodz on a contractual basis. The first democratic elections to the community council were held in 1922 when 12 members were elected representing the Zionist parties, *Mizrachi, *Agudat Israel, *Bund, and *Po'alei Zion-Left. On the eve of World War II Solomon Winter, the delegate of the Zionists, was president of the community. There was a ramified network of schools in Ozorkow established at the initiative of the Zionists (Yavneh) and Agudat Israel (Yesodei ha-Torah). The public libraries established by the Zionist Organization and Po'alei Zion stimulated cultural activities such as drama circles, evening schools, and the sports societies *Maccabi and Ha-Kokhav (Gwiazda). In addition to the two large synagogues, the Great Synagogue and the Bet ha-Midrash, there were shtieblach (ḥasidic houses of prayer). The last rabbi of the community was R. David Behr. The Jews were also represented on the municipal council and their delegates held the position of vice mayor.

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/ozorkow https://jri-poland.org/town/ozorkow.htm