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OPOCZNO, town in central Poland. Opoczno was the birthplace of Esterka, according to legend the mistress of Casimir the Great (1333–70). In 1588 the Polish sovereign authorized the town to expel the Jews living there, but a Jewish community had resettled in the environs by 1646. The settlement was not permanent: a judgment of the supreme tribunal in 1714 again prohibited Jews from living in the town. According to the census of 1765, however, there were 1,349 Jews in Opoczno and the vicinity (excluding infants under one). They owned 12 plots of land outside the town and 41 houses within it. A number of crafts were exclusively pursued by Jews. Judah Leib, son of Eliezer b. Solomon *Lipschutz, author of responsa Dammesek Eliezer, officiated as rabbi of Opoczno at the end of the 18th century. The community numbered 1,469 in 1856, 2,425 in 1897, and 4,025 in 1909 (compared with 2,387 Christians). The 1921 census shows a marked decrease to 3,135 Jews (46.9% of the total population).


BZIH, no. 15–16 (1955), 82, and no. 65–66 (1968), 55–57.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.