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Coat of arms of Kałuszyn Alternate names: Kałuszyn [Pol], Kalushin [Yid, Rus], Russian: Калушин. קאלושין- Yiddish. 52°13' N, 21°49' E, 35 miles E of Warszawa, 21 miles W of Siedlce, 11 miles E of Mińsk Mazowiecki. 1900 Jewish population: 6,419. Yizkor: Kehilat Kaluszyn (Tel Aviv, 1977-78) and Sefer Kaluszyn; geheylikt der khorev gevorener kehile (Tel Aviv, 1961). [May 2009]

Jewish settlement in Kałuszyn probably was in the mid-17th century when the owner of the city, Wojciech Opackiego, granted municipal rights to revive trade in the newly emerging urban center. Then, Kałuszyn had 200 inhabitants, but how many were Jewish is unknown. The first documentation of the Jewish population comes from 1737 when the Jews paid the municipality 600 guilders. In 1765, 566 Jews lived there, subordinate to the Wegrow kahal and perhaps were even then a significant proportion of the population Kałuszyn by the contemporaneous statement that Kałuszyn was a "small mieścina, full of Jews, [that] passed into possession of Rudzieńskich" The kahał was established in the second half of the 18th century. According to P. Fijalkowski, Kałuszyń was the only Jewish community in the land bringing together Jewish residents from neighboring parishes. Jews in Kałuszyn were about 80% of the population. "Encyclopedia Judaica" devoted much space to this community. By 1810, 1,092 Jews lived there with 339 Poles. At the end of the 18th century, huge revenues flowed with fair fees leased to Jews. Data from 1789 shows an annual income of 3,200 zł. Jews engaged mostly in crafts and leases of mills and had other factories. However, the majority of Jews in Kałuszynie engaged in small crafts like weavers, furriers, tanners, tailors, etc. Purchasers were mainly minor nobility and numerous residents and the peasants. Eleonora Bergman found that the Jewish population in the 19th century lived in areas with clear boundaries, a natural tendency to focus around the community's center--the synagogue and other community institutions. In the first half of the 19th century, Kałuszyn had 11 purveyors of pig fat, 5 butchers, 15 bakers, 16 female tavern owners, 54 kramarzy [inns?] and 1 mydlarza?. In contrast, rural Jews in the surrounding villages for the most part were distillers, brewers, and millers. The Warsaw-Terespolski road built in the 19th century through Kałuszyn stimulated the economy, developing trade and small industry. In 1840, Kałuszyn had the largest grain trade in eastern Mazowszu. Jews came from miles to the Kałuszyńskie fair to trade corn and its processed products, as well as cattle, horses, and foodstuffs. In the 18th century Jewish kałuszyńska was subordinate to the Wegrow kahał, usually composed of three or four older (superior) municipalities, and the rabbi. The main tasks of the Jewish community was to maintain synagogues, brick beit midrash, and schools and municipal services, and pay rabbis and cantors. In 1835 Kałuszyn opened a brick rabbinical school-yeshiva. In 1856, Kałuszyn had 3,670 Jews with a slaughterhouse built in 1841, Rubin and Silberman's inn with stables built in 1848 at the Old Market, a mikvah built around 1800, and the wooden charity hospital. The Jewish community was economically diverse with a group of wealthy Jews like the owners of production plants and stonemasons, but also many living at a subsistence level, mainly employed in the craft workshops or in agriculture. A huge impact on the lives of 19th century Jews and Poles were three devastating fires. After a fire in 1845, hundreds were homeless and without food. 19th century, Kałuszyń Jews were famous for tałit production. The 1863 Orgelbrand Universal Encyclopaedia lists the two talit factories. ... At the beginning of the 20th century, Kałuszyn consisted of 11,179 inhabitants of whom 9,957 were Jews and 1,1881 Catholics and others. The city had 3 candles factories, a knife factory, 3 talit factories, a vinegar factory, 4 mills, 3 tanneries, 3 gas production facilities, and two steam mills primarily belonging to the Jews, who employed dozens of people, but the main occupation of the Jewish population was a small trade and crafts. Jewish craftsmen made objects for daily use, mainly for the local population and surrounding villages, including furriers and weavers of black and white striped fabric used for talit. These Jews were politically active from the beginning. In May 1794, volunteers made Kałuszyn squadron military uniforms, underwear and shoes. They participated in the Napoleonic Wars by supplying oats for the horses and in the uprising in November 1830-1831 when the Jews came out to greet the soldiers but made them pay for the necessities they wanted. In emergencies of January 1862-1864, the Jews actively joined the army, fighting side-by-side with the Poles. Later, with Kosciuszko, Kałuszyń Jews were actively involved in the struggle for Polish independence and created uniforms for the insurgents, for which they were subjected to various types of retaliation. The first synagogue built in 1768 that burned down in 1783 during the great fire that struck the Kałuszyn was soon replaced by a new synagogue started with permission of the Bishop of Poznań, Anthony Okęckiego. The permission to build a new synagogue cost 380 ___ to the parish church. The length and width of the synagogue was 22 cubits with a height of 11 cubits. In exchange for permission to build synagogues, Jews have pledged 12 "dollars" per year "for local authorities", the parish priests. That synagogue burned down during a city fire on August 15, 1902. A new synagogue built in a few years is now the site of a gas station. In addition to the synagogue, the city had several beit midrashim in private homes. Kałuszyn was the one of 97 Jewish communities [kahals] existing in the former Warsaw province in the interwar period when the city remained predominately Jewish. In 1921, Jews numbered 5,295 (67.7%) The proportion remained generally unchanged from the beginning of the city until the outbreak of WWII. Many Jews served in the Polish army during WWI. photos. [May 2009]

MASS GRAVES: In the first days of September 1939 so many Jews escaped to Kałuszyn that the city looked looked like Fair. Tea, bread, other food products were normal prices. Kałuszyn had not yet suffered bombing. The Poles received them cordially. This situation has changed on September 11 - 12, 1939 when Kałuszyn was more than 80% destroyed. German planes bombed the railway station in Mrozach and on September 11, the city. One bomb fell near a church and killed 32 Jews. All Kałuszyn on fire. As soon as Germans came to Kałuszyn,they  issued a decree that all Poles and Jews gather at the church. Nazis grabbed the old rabbi's beard and dragged him into church. In the church, they were made to stand with hands raised and surrender everything of value. More than 500 Kałuszyn Jews were sent to the Warsaw ghetto. In 1942, they did away with the synagogue, but Nazi occupiers began mass extermination of Kałuszyń Jews in March 1941 even before moving them in September 1941 to the ghetto in the NW of the city to the tannery and Berman button factory with a fence. About 6,000 Jews were incarcerated there. Conditions were inhuman. The children were naked, cold, and starving with no coal for heat and no food. Essentially, the ghetto was a labor camp. Younger Jews were forced into road work or agricultural labor. Most died from exhaustion and hunger. Also from 1941 to 1943, groups were taken to the cemetery where pits were already prepared and the groups murdered. Awaiting execution, firefighters under German administration guarded them. Then, to liquidate the ghetto, those still surviving were taken to Mrozy station and put in freight cars to Treblinka. The ghetto was empty. [May 2009]

OLD CEMETERY: The older cemetery was located where today the building of the Municipal Authority is located. Most likely, the cemetery existed to the interwar period. [May 2009]

NEW CEMETERY: The second Jewish cemetery, a 4-hectare plot, was established probably in the early 1920s right behind the Catholic cemetery. During WW II, this cemetery was the mass executions site of more than 1,000 Jews from 1941 to 1943. Poles shot by the Germans for helping Jews also were buried here. David Pelner, resident Kałuszyn, recalls those years: "These were the dead bodies of children, the elderly, women and men. The smell of corpses was unbearable." Currently, no gravestone or marker gives information about these people. The local Roman Catholic Church has a wall built of matzevot found the Jewish cemetery in Kałuszyn. The put a plaque on a pillar in 1990 at the initiative Father Czesław Bednarczyk that says: "Kałuszyn 1939 - Poles in 3000, Jews - 6500". Mr. Jan Jagielskiego of the Jewish Historical Institute can provide a translation of the inscription on gravestones. Several matzevot are in the museum at the School of Podstawowej in New Groszkach, the village located four kilometers from Kałuszyn to remind the next generations of the presence of their former Jewish neighbors. Map. [May 2009]

THIRD CEMETERY: In January 2007, Andrej Murawskiemu found another cemetery with gravestones near Kałuszyn.  Matzevot 1: Baasha daughter of Moshe blessed memory. She died 27 kislev (5) 683 years. Let her soul have a share in eternal life "(date of death: 17 December 192. Matzevot 2: "... the son of Eliezer. Lament his departure and let his soul into heaven. May his soul has a share in eternal life". Matzevot 3: "Let this stone shall be a witness, and the monument a sign. Husband and equitable right, righteous, who enjoyed the toil of his hands through life. Aharon son of Diva. Szwat He died 17 months (5) 659 years. Let his soul have a share in eternal life "(date of death: 17 January 1899) [May 2009]

I visited the cemetery at Kaluszyn in 1985. The local residents said it was adjacent to the non-Jewish cemetery. We went to the spot and found only a large pasture land with some cows grazing. Source: Sheldon Schorer; e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [date?]

KALUSZYN I: US Commission No. POCE000569

Alternate Yiddish name: Kalushin. Kaluszyn is located in Siedlechie (Siedleckie) province at 52°13 21°49, 68 km from Warsaw and 30 km from Siedlce. The cemetery was located on Pocztowa Street. Present town population is 1,000-5,000 with fewer than 10 Jews.

  • Town: Urzad Miasti I Gminy, ul. Pocztowa, tel. 766-18, 765-36.
  • Interested: Towarzystwo Przyaciot Katuszyna [Society of the Friends of Katuszyn].

1921 Jewish population 5033. The last known burial was during 19th century. The isolated urban flat land has no sign or marker. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all with no wall, fence, or gate. No stones are visible. The cemetery is non-existent. No traces exist.

Cezary Ostas, Siedlce, ul. Pomorska 1/68, tel. 290-95 completed survey on 10 Sep 1992 using the Urban Historical Study of Kaluszyn. He visited the site on 10 Sep 1992.

KALUSZYN II:     US Commission No. POCE000571

See Kaluszyn (I) for town and history information. The cemetery is open with no caretaker. The last known burial was during WWII. The isolated rural/agricultural flat land, near other cemeteries, has no sign or marker. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all with no wall, fence, or gate. The size today and before WWII was 3.0 hectare. No stones or known mass graves. Municipality owns property is used for Jewish cemetery only. Adjacent properties are agricultural. The cemetery was vandalized during WWII. No care, threats, or structures. Rarely, private visitors stop.

Cezary Ostas, Siedlce, ul. Pomorska 1/68, tel. 290-95 completed survey on 9 Oct 1992 using Stadium Historzyczno Urbanistrynir Kaluszyn. He visited the site on 9 Oct 1992.

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 September 2009 17:53
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