OSTROWIEC


OSTROWIEC (also Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski), town in Kielce province, Poland. In 1755, the rabbi of Ostrowiec, Ezekiel b. Avigdor, took part in an assembly of the *Council of the Four Lands. Previously Eliezer b. Solomon Zalman Lipschuetz, author of responsa Heshiv R. Eliezer ve-Si'aḥ ha-Sadeh (Neuwied, 1749), had served as rabbi there. The community increased from 1,064 in 1827 to 2,736 in 1856 (80% of the total population) and 6,146 in 1897 (62.8%). In 1921 it numbered 10,095 (51%). Most of the Jews in Ostrowiec lived in conditions of extreme poverty. A pogrom was instigated there by factory workers in 1904. The Jewish loan fund in Ostrowiec had a membership of 474 in 1924, of whom 344 were storekeepers, tradesmen or peddlers, 97 artisans, and 33 in miscellaneous professions.

[Nathan Michael Gelber]

Holocaust Period

At the outbreak of World War II there were about 8,000 Jews in Ostrowiec. The first Aktion took place on Oct. 11–12, 1942, when 11,000 Jews from Ostrowiec and the vicinity were deported to the *Treblinka death camp. In October 1942 a forced-labor camp for Jews was established in Ostrowiec. On Jan. 16, 1943, 1,000 Jews were deported to the *Sandomierz forced-labor camp. The Jewish community was liquidated on June 10, 1943, when the remaining 2,000 Jews were transferred to Ostrowiec forced-labor camp, which was itself liquidated on Aug. 3, 1944, when the inmates were deported to *Auschwitz. An underground organization, headed by the brothers Kopel and Moshe Stein, and David Kempinski, was active in Ostrowiec. They established contact with the leaders of the Jewish Fighting Organization in *Warsaw. A few groups of prisoners escaped and started guerrilla activities in the vicinity. Those who fled in July 1944 conducted guerrilla activities until the liberation of the region in July 1945. After the war the Jewish community of Ostrowiec was not reconstituted.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

S. Krakowski, in: BŻIH, no. 65–66 (1968), 66–68; Yad Vashem Archives; BJCE; PK.


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