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Przytyk, Poland

PRZYTYK, town near Radom, E. central Poland. In 1936, 90% of its 3,000 inhabitants were Jews. Przytyk became notorious because of the pogrom which occurred there in 1936 and aroused sharp reaction from Jewish public opinion throughout the world. After the death of Marshal *Pilsudski in May 1935, the strength of his followers in the government weakened, and they were unable to check the virulent antisemitism which erupted as a result of reactionary and nationalist pressure from the *Endecja party . A series of bloody riots broke out against Jewish students in metropolitan universities and against small Jewish shopkeepers, who were regarded as competitors by impoverished peasants who had been driven to seek a livelihood in the cities. Anti-Jewish *boycott propaganda was followed by several attacks on Jews, which the authorities took no measures to prevent.

Against this background of tension, a pogrom broke out in Przytyk. In March 9, 1936, when the peasants came to the seasonal fair, they were incited to attack Jewish stallkeepers and even break into Jewish homes; three Jews were killed and 60 wounded. The Jews organized a self-defense group, and in the ensuing clashes one Pole was shot and killed. In the subsequent trial no attempt was made to distinguish between attackers and defenders. The Jew accused of the shooting was found guilty and given a harsh sentence. As a mark of Jewish protest, the Bund announced a general strike starting on March 18, 1936; the majority of Jews in Poland, as well as many Polish workers, joined in the strike.

[Moshe Landau]

Holocaust Period

On the outbreak of World War II there were about 2,500 Jews living in Przytyk (about 70% of the total population). The Ger man army entered the town on Sept. 4, 1939, and initiated persecution of the Jews. A decree of March 5, 1941, ordered the immediate evacuation of the Jewish population from Przytyk and about 160 surrounding villages. Their passive resistance prolonged the deportation action for over a month. The Jewish refugees settled in about 30 different places in the Kielce province, but within a short time were again ordered to concentrate in two towns only – Przysucha and Szydlowiec. All of them were afterward deported to Treblinka death camp and exterminated, in part together with the Jewish population of Przysucha (Oct. 31, 1942), and that of Szydlowiec (Jan. 13, 1943). The community was not reestablished after the war.

[Stefan Krakowski]


H.M. Rabinowicz, The Legacy of Polish Jewry (1965), 57–58; Y. Gruenbaum (ed.), EG, 1 (1953), 116. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: E. Melzer, No Way Out: The Politics of Polish Jewry 1935–1939 (1997), index; J. Zyndul, Zajscia antyzydowskie w Polsce w latach 1935–1937 (1994), 21–27.

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