LUKOW (Pol. Łuków; Rus. Lukov), town in the province of Lublin, E. Poland. By the 15th century there was considerable Jewish settlement in Lukow with a developed autonomous organization. A responsum (no. 59) of R. Meir b. Gedaliah *Lublin (1558–1616) mentions the synagogue of Lukow, which was destroyed by fire. Joel *Sirkes (the Baḥ) served as rabbi of the community at the end of the 16th or the beginning of the 17th century. At the time of the *Chmielnicki massacres (1648–49) the community suffered heavy material losses and the new synagogue was burned down. In 1659 the Jews of Lukow were granted a royal privilege which confirmed their former rights to live in the town, to acquire land and houses, and to engage in commerce and crafts; they were also authorized to erect a synagogue and maintain a cemetery. In 1727 a poll tax of 120 zlotys was imposed on the community. With the progress of economic activities in the town during the second half of the 18th century the Jewish population considerably increased. In the middle of the 18th century a dispute broke out between the communities of Lukow and Miedzyrzec Podlaski over the question of their authority over the small neighboring communities. According to the census of 1765, there were 543 Jews (137 families) there. During the 1780s the rabbi of the community was Samson Zelig b. Jacob Joseph ha-Levi, the author of Teshu'ot Ḥen (Dubno, 1797).
After the Congress of Vienna (1815), Lukow passed to Russia, being in Congress Poland. The Jewish population numbered 2,023 (c. 60% of the total population) in 1827, 2,114 (c. 68%) in 1857, and 4,799 (c. 55%) in 1897. In this period many of the Jews were Ḥasidim and followers of the ẓaddikim of Kotsk, Aleksandrow, Radzyn, and Gur. Between 1906 and 1920 the ẓaddik Hershele Morgensztern, the great-grandson of R. Menahem Mendel of *Kotsk, lived in Lukow. The Jewish population increased to 6,145 (49% of the total) by 1921; there were then 348 Jewish workshops in Lukow. Of the 24 members of the municipal council, ten were Jews (five being delegates of the *Bund). Between the two world wars the Jews of Lukow struggled against antisemitism, and an anti-Jewish economic boycott was organized. The last rabbi of the town (from 1937) was Aaron Note Freiberg, who perished with the members of his community in a death camp.
Halpern, Pinkas, 17, 27, 109, 151, 480, 481, 511; B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wieku xix i xx (1930), 35; R. Mahler, Yidn in Amolikn Poyln in Likht fun Tsifern (1958), index; idem, in: YIVO Historishe Shriftn, 2 (1937), 644–5; T. Brustin-Bernstein, in: Bleter far Geshikhte, 3:1–2 (1950), 51–78, passim. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Sefer Lukow (1968), S. Zeminski, "Kartki dziennika nauczyciela w Lukowie z okresu okupacji hitlerowskiej," in: BŻIH, 27 (1958), 105–12.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.