NASIELSK (Rus. Nasyelsk), town in Warszawa province, E. central Poland. It received its first municipal privileges in 1386. The date of the first Jewish settlement is unknown, but a wooden synagogue was erected in 1650. The community listed 1,410 Jews in 1808, 4,741 in 1910 (76% of the total population), and 2,691 in 1921. Jews were not integrated into the economic life of the town and many of them emigrated after World War I. During the period of Polish independence, there was a significant number of unemployed and poor among the Jews, a situation which deteriorated even further as a result of a boycott by Polish antisemites. Tension between Jews and Christians came to the fore in 1923, when the latter accused the Jews of a ritual murder. Dominant in the community was the *Agudat Israel, which in 1920, 1924, and 1931 won half of the seats of the community council. Among the educational institutions, there were the Beth Jacob schools of the Agudat Israel, the *Tarbut of the Zionists, and a Yiddish school, as well as such cultural institutions as a library and various drama circles. The wooden synagogue was rebuilt in 1880. Renowned ẓaddikim, such as R. Jacob Landa (d. 1886) and Ezekiel ha-Levi b. Meir Jehiel (d. during the Holocaust) settled in the town.

[Shimshon Leib Kirshenboim]

Holocaust Period

During the Nazi occupation, Nasielsk belonged to Bezirk Zichenau, established and incorporated into East Prussia by Hitler's decree of Oct. 26, 1939. Before World War II Nasielsk had about 3,000 Jews. During the bombardment of the town, a considerable number of Jews fled eastward. After the Germans entered, the Jewish community there existed for only three months. Existing data leave doubt whether the Jews were deported in one mass Aktion (deportation) on Dec. 3, 1939, or in two deportations, beginning in September or October. Some of the victims were shut up for a day or more in the local synagogue, beaten, and herded to the station. They were loaded onto trains and dispatched to Lukow, Mezhirech, and Biala Podlaska railroad stations. There they were driven out of the train and dispersed among various towns in the Lublin region of the General Government. Some of them reached the Warsaw Ghetto, where many Jews from Nasielsk, refugees from the first days of the war, already lived. After the deportation from Nasielsk, the local Germans and soldiers seized all Jewish property. Only about 80 Jews from Nasielsk survived the Holocaust.

[Danuta Dombrowska]


Sefer ha-Ẓeva'ot, 1 (1945), 145.

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.