ZAWIERCIE (Rus. Zavertse), city in Katowice province, S. Poland. Jews settled in Zawiercie in the latter half of the 19th century when the city underwent rapid industrial development. Zawiercie was then in Congress Poland. Jews came to the city from the communities of *Radom, *Belchatow, *Wielun, and Wloszczowa, and became mechanics, smiths, tailors, weavers, clerks, bookkeepers, and tradesmen. In the last third of the century wealthy Jews established a glassworks, an iron foundry, machine, and textile factories. The Gincberg brothers invested 3.5 million rubles in a cloth factory which employed over 200 Jewish workers. There were 1,134 Jews in Zawiercie in 1887 (27% of the total population), and 3,158 (18.5%) in 1897.
At first there was no organized community life in the city and the Jews relied on the services of the neighboring community of Kromolow. The first local synagogue was built in the 1880s. The ḥasidic movement exerted a strong influence on the community. In 1915 Zawiercie was declared a municipality and there followed a period of intense communal development. The Zawiercie community numbered 6,095 (21%) in 1921, and 5,677 in 1931. Between the world wars there were two Jewish schools.
B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wiekach XIX i XX (1930), 29; Carat i klasy posiadające w walce rewolucią 1905–07 w Królestwie Polskim (1956), index; I. Schiper, Dzieje handlu żydowskiego na ziemiach polskich (1937), index; Zawiercie ve-ha-Sevivah – Sefer Zikkaron (1958; Heb. and Yid.).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.