MAKOW MAZOWIECKI (Pol. Maków Mazowiecki; Rus. Makov), town in Warszawa province (before 1795 Mazovia province), Poland. An organized Jewish community is traceable to the second half of the 16th century. At the end of the 17th century a Jew, Nachman ben Nathan, was executed as a result of a blood libel. King Augustus III (1733–63) confirmed the rights of the Jewish community. According to the 1765 census, 1,258 poll tax payers, of whom 827 lived in neighboring villages, were under the jurisdiction of the Makow kahal. Of the 113 Jewish families (431 persons) living in Makow, 54 owned their houses; 21 families earned their livelihood as craftsmen (tailors, carpenters, tinsmiths). The Jewish population numbered 2,007 (72% of the total population) in 1808; 4,090 (90%) in 1827; 4,100 in 1856; and 4,400 in 1897. Of rabbis in Makow in the 18th century the following are known by name: Moses ben Gershon, Abraham Abish and David ben Zion Jehezkel (d. 1815), dayyan and Maggid, who was a central figure in the historical controversy between Ḥasidim and Mitnaggedim. Of the 19th century rabbis mention should be made of Arye Leib Zunz, Eliezer Hakohen Lipschutz, and Judah Leib Graubard. Nathan Chilinowicz founded a yeshivah at the end of the 19th century which existed until 1939.
At the outbreak of World War II, there were about 3,500 Jews in Makow Mazowiecki. Shortly after the German invasion of Poland, another 500 Jews settled there. At the end of 1940 several hundred young Jewish men were deported to the nearby forced-labor camp in Gasiewo. In September 1941 the ghetto was established. On Nov. 5, 1942, the Germans concentrated Jews still living in the smaller places of Makow county in the ghetto. On November 18, 1942, Jews from Makow Mazowiecki were deported to the Mlawa ghetto, during which about fifty Jews were executed. About 5,000 Jews were transferred to Mlawa and then to Auschwitz by the end of December 1942.
Leib Langfus, who was called the "Dayan of Makow," wrote a diary during his time as a member of the Sonderkommando in Auschwitz-Birkenau. His diary remains among the most critical testimonies to understanding what happened at Auschwitz and during the Holocuast overall.
R. Mahler, Yidn in Amolikn Poyln in Likht fun Tsifern (1958), index; B. Wasiutyński, Ludnosć Zydowska w Polsce w wiekach XIX i XX (1930), 18, 25, 48, 70, 75, 78, 184; A. Eisenbach et al. (eds.), Żydzi a powstanie styczniowe, materiały i dokumenty (1963), index; Sefer Zikkaron li-Kehillat Makov Mazovyetsk (Yid. and Heb., 1969).
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.