CIECHANOW (Pol. Ciechanów), small town in central Poland. Jews were living in Ciechanow in 1569. Almost the entire community, of some 50 families, was annihilated in 1656 during the Polish-Swedish war by the troops of Stephan *Czarniecki. The census held in Poland in 1765 recorded 1,670 Jews living in Ciechanow. The community numbered 2,226 in 1856, 4,223 in 1897 (out of 10,000), 4,403 in 1921 (out of 11,977), and approximately 5,500 in 1925. Ciechanow was the residence of Abraham b. Raphael Landau *Ciechanow, a ḥasidic ẓaddik referred to as Czechanower. The last rabbi of Ciechanow was Ḥayyim Benjamin Braunroth (1916–39). The Polish army instigated a pogrom there in 1920.
During World War II Ciechanow was the main town of Bezirk (district) Zichenau, created and incorporated into East Prussia by Hitler's decree of Oct. 26, 1939. With many fleeing to Warsaw, there were 1,500–2,000 Jews living there when the German army entered the town on Sept. 3–4, 1939. In October 1939 the Germans began destroying Jewish houses, including the synagogue. A *Judenrat was created in the autumn of 1939 and the ghetto at the end of 1940. A Jewish police force was also set up. At the first deportation, on Dec. 11, 1941, nearly 1,200 Jews were evacuated to the townlet of Nowe Miasto (Neustadt), in the same district. Some Jews were shot. In Nowe Miasto the Jews from Ciechanow lived practically without shelter, and suffered from epidemic diseases. At the end of the summer of 1942 Jews deported from Makow Mazowiecki arrived in Ciechanow. With the final deportation, in November 1942, 1,800 persons left in two transports. The first, consisting of the elderly and weak persons, was taken to the ghetto in Mlawa in the same district; the second transport, composed of younger Jews, was sent to *Auschwitz. After this the ghetto was liquidated. A young girl from Ciechanow, Rosa Robota, a member of Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir, played a heroic role in the revolt of Auschwitz prisoners. About 200 Jews from Ciechanow survived the war, including 120 who returned from the U.S.S.R. The community was not reconstructed after World War II.
L. Lewin, Judenverfolgungen im zweiten schwedisch-polnischen Krieg 1655–1659 (1901), 10; R. Mahler, Ḥasidut ve-Haskalah be-Galiẓyah u-ve-Polin (1961), 349; M. Bachner, Sefer Ciechanow, Lebn un Umkum fun a Yidish Shtetl (1949); A.W. Jasny (ed.), Yisker-Bukh fun der Ciechanower Yidisher Kehile (1962), Heb. summary). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Kehillat Ciechanow be-Ḥurbanah u-Mot Giborim shel Roza Robota (1952); Y.Gutman, Sefer Auschwitz-Birkenau (1957), 144–57. B. Mark, Megillat Auschwitz (1977), 123–26, 136–42.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.