RADOMSKO


RADOMSKO (Radomsk), town in Lodz province, S. central Poland. In 1643 King Ladislaus IV granted the city the privilege de non tolerandis Judaeis excluding Jews from its bounds, which remained in force until 1862. Although the city council complained about the presence of Jews on the nobles' estates and in neighboring villages during the 17th and 18th centuries Jewish settlement there continued. The establishment of a Jewish cemetery in the city was permitted in 1816, and by 1822 a synagogue committee existed which levied taxes for the engagement of religious functionaries. The census of 1827 recorded 369 Jews of the total 1,792 inhabitants. In 1834 the community engaged Solomon ha-Kohen Rabinowich of Włoszczowa as rabbi and av bet din, who in 1843 established a ḥasidic court and founded the *Radomsko ḥasidic dynasty.

After the opening of the Vienna-Warsaw railroad in 1846, the community developed rapidly. By 1857 there were 1,162 Jews living in Radomsko (about 39% of the total population). The 1897 census showed 5,054 Jews (43%). They were mainly occupied in carpentry, weaving, and dealing in timber and grain. Well-to-do Jews established factories, hotels, and restaurants which employed some 500 Jews. In this period the community expanded its activities in all spheres. Ḥovevei Zion (see *Ḥibbat Zion) groups formed Zionist parties. In 1899 the Great Synagogue was completed. Jewish workers organized in the *Po'alei Zion, *Bund, etc., from 1905 to 1907. In 1906 the Jews in Radomsko organized *self-defense against pogroms.

During World War I he Jews in Radomsko suffered from the depredations of Russian soldiers and economic depression. The historian M. *Balaban visited the city in 1916 and established a Jewish youth group, Kultura.

In 1919, after Poland became independent, there were attempts at pogroms, but they were prevented by the Jewish self-defense organization. The Jewish population rose from 7,774 in 1921 (41.5%) to 12,371 in 1935 (55%). During this period the number of Jewish workers doubled in the large industrial plants for furniture, metal goods, and printing. Of the 24 members of the city council elected in 1926, eight were Jews. Jewish educational institutions included a high school (from 1916), two talmud torah schools, the Keter Torah yeshivah, a bet midrash, and two government elementary schools. There were also guilds of craftsmen and small businessmen, and a cooperative commercial bank. In 1926 a library named for *Shalom Aleichem was opened, and there were Ha-Po'el and Ha-Ko'aḥ sports clubs. In 1930 a commune preparing for immigration to Ereẓ Israel was established named Vitkinyah.

[Arthur Cygielman]

Holocaust Period

Under the German occupation, Radomsko was incorporated into the *Radom district of the General Government. When the German army entered the city on Sept. 3, 1939, they immediately began a campaign of terror against the Jewish population. On Dec. 20, 1939, a decree was issued establishing a closed ghetto in Radomsko into which all the Jews from the surrounding districts were also concentrated. In consequence, the Jewish population of the Radomsko ghetto increased despite the high mortality due to starvation and epidemics. Two especially severe epidemics of typhus broke out during the early winter of 1940 and in January 1941. In June 1941 the authorities reduced the area of the ghetto, thus aggravating the living conditions there. On Oct. 9, 1942, an Aktion was carried out, and in the course of the following three days almost the entire Jewish population was deported to *Treblinka death camp where they perished. About 500 Jews and seven houses remained in the Radomsko ghetto (including some 200 Jews living there "illegally"). During the deportations hundreds of Jews from Radomsko and thousands from the surrounding districts escaped to the forests, many joining Jewish guerrilla groups which rapidly organized. They encountered severe obstacles: lack of arms, an inimical local peasant population, and no possibility of a food supply for the great number of Jews who had escaped. In November 1942 the Germans established a "second ghetto" in Radomsko, and promised security for all who voluntarily left the forests. About 4,500 Jews unable to survive the winter there returned to resettle in the ghetto. On Jan. 5, 1943, the Germans liquidated the ghetto in a surprise Aktion; hundreds of Jews who resisted were murdered on the spot while the rest were deported to Treblinka. A number of Jews who escaped from Radomsko were active in partisan units and resistance organizations. Some of them won recognition for bravery, including Tuvia Borzykowski, who became a member of the staff of the Jewish Fighting Organization in the *Warsaw ghetto; the three brothers Sabatowski (Ḥayyim, Mordekhai, and Herzke) who fought together in a guerrilla unit in the Konskie forest (all three were murdered in a treacherous attack by antisemitic Polish nationalists); and Rosa Szapiro, who managed to make her way out of Radomsko to the Yugoslav partisans under Tito.

After the war the community was not renewed in Radomsko. Organizations of former Radomsko residents were formed in Israel, Argentina, the United States, Canada, and France. A memorial book, Sefer Yizkor li-Kehillat Radomsk veha-Sevivah, was published in 1967 (Heb. and Yid.).

[Stefan Krakowski]

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wiekach XIX i XX (1930), 29, 51, 52, 71, 75, 78; Almanach gmin żydowskich w Polsce (1939), 209–11; Novoradomsker Almanakh (1939); Gelber, in: Beit Yisrael be-Polin, 1 (1948), 110–27.


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