web analytics
April 1, 2015 / 12 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


The Old Shtetl Gostynin

The town of Gostynin was founded in the 13th century. It is located on the Skrwa Lewa River, approximately 60 miles northwest of Warsaw and 14 miles southwest of the city of Plock.


The official Jewish community of Gostynin dates from about 1765, though there are reports of Jews owning the town brewery and a malt factory in 1626. In 1765 the community had about 157 members. In 1779 a wooden synagogue was built near the marketplace. The structure burned down in 1899. By the end of the 18th century, Jews formed 26 percent of the population of Gostynin. They were involved in trade, innkeeping, tailoring, the fur business and as butchers.


Between 1823 and 1862 there were special residential quarters for the Jewish population. Yehiel Meir Lipschuetz, a local Chasidic leader and rabbi, lived in Gostynin in the 19th century. By 1921, 1,831 Jews formed 27 percent of the population. There are some estimates that almost 4,000 Jews lived in Gostynin on the eve of the Holocaust, though a more reliable number is 2,269. Jews lived, primarily, in the center of town. The synagogue and beit hamidrash were situated north of the market, near where the train station now stands.


The Jewish community of Gostynin suffered the same fate as thousands of other Jewish communities during the Holocaust. When the German army entered the town in September 1939, there were mass arrests of Jews, and Jewish property was looted and destroyed. The synagogue, which had been rebuilt in 1899, was ordered dismantled so that the wood could be used for fuel for the houses of new German inhabitants of the town. Exorbitant fines were levied by the Nazis against the Jewish community. In January 1941 a ghetto was set up in the town. It occupied the area of Plocka, Buczka, Wojska Polskiego and Bagnista Streets, and was an open ghetto at first. It was later enclosed with barbed wire.


Approximately 3,500 Jews from Gostynin and the nearby town of Gabin (Gombin) lived in the Gostynin Ghetto and were employed in laundries and tailor shops. In August 1941, transports of Jewish men and women to the Konin Concentration Camp and other camps began. The ghetto was liquidated during June and August of 1942, with most ghetto inhabitants being deported to the Chelmno extermination center near the village of Chelmno-nad-Ner, and the rest being taken to the Lodz Ghetto and the Konin Concentration Camp. Other sources report that the ghetto was liquidated on April 16-17, 1942, with 2,000 Jews being taken to the Chelmno death camp.


Gostynin once had two Jewish cemeteries, the “old” and the “new.” The old Jewish cemetery was located in the northeastern part of the town, on a side street that was called the “Lane of the Dead.” The new Jewish cemetery was located on Goscinna Street. No traces of either cemetery exist today. The site of the new Jewish cemetery on Goscinna Street is now owned by the Gostynin municipality and is occasionally cleared of grass and tree saplings. Adjacent properties are recreational and residential. No burials have taken place in the cemetery since 1942.


There are no Jewish residents in Gostynin today. In existence are a number of memorials to the former Jewish community of Gostynin. One large marble plaque is in the Chamber of the Holocaust Memorial Museum on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Gostynin is included in the “Valley of Communities” memorial at Yad Vashem, also in Jerusalem. A Yizkor book for Gostynin, Pinkas Gostynin, was published in 1961 as a joint publication of the New York and Israel Gostynin landsmann groups. Only the Israeli Gostynin landsmann group exists today.


It is not known whether any of the former Jewish sites in Gostynin have markers, though there are a number of war-related markers in the town and in the town cemetery. As was common during the communist era, the wording of the various monuments does not “specifically” refer to Jewish residents of the town. A very well-done promotional booklet for the town of Gostynin, written in Polish, German and English, does refer to Jewish residents of the town and to the murder of most of these Jews by the Nazis during World War II. This booklet was published in recent years. Most of the Jewish vital records of Gostynin were destroyed during the war; some records from ca. 1917 to 1938 are still found in the town’s Civil Records Office.


Former residents of Gostynin are living today in the New York City area and in various parts of Israel. Those with ancestral connections to the town can be found in North America, South America, Israel and England.


Shmuel Ben Eliezer can be contacted at jpolin2@aol.com 




About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Old Shtetl Gostynin”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Obama Stops Punishing Egypt for Dumping Muslim Brotherhood Prez
Latest Sections Stories
Food-Talk---Eller-logo

While we are all accustomed to the occasional recipe substitutions – swapping milk for creamer, applesauce for oil – gluten-free cooking is a whole different ballgame.

Something-Cooking-logo

Until the year I decided to put a stop to all my tremors. I realized that if I wanted my family to experience Pesach and its preparations as uplifting and fulfilling, I’d have to relax and loosen up.

Teens-032715

David looked up. “Hatzlacha, Dina,” he smiled. “I hope everything goes well.”

In 1756, when the ominous threat of Islamic terror against Jews reached Tunis as well, Friha became one of its tragic victims.

Are we allowed to lie for shalom bayis? It would seem so, but what might be a healthy guideline for when it’s okay and when it’s not?

The connection between what I experienced as a high school teenager and the adult I am today did not come easy to me.

Isn’t therapy about being yourself; aren’t there different ways for people to communicate with each other?

Jack was awarded a blue and gold first-place trophy, appropriately topped off with a golden bee.

Participating in ManiCures during the school day may feel like a break from learning, but the intended message to the students was loud and clear. Learning and chesed come in all forms, and can be fun.

Building campaign chairman Jack Gluck has led the effort over many years.

When using an extension cord always make sure to use the correct rated extension cord.

There was no question that when Mrs. Cohen entered the room to meet the teacher she was hostile from the outset.

Szold was among the founders and leaders (she served on its executive committee) of Ichud (“Unity”), a political group that campaigned against the creation of an independent, sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael.

My friend is a strong and capable Jewish woman, but she acted with a passivity that seemed out of character.

More Articles from Shmuel Ben Eliezer
Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Lauder receiving a special album from Rabbi Maciej Pawlak, director of the Lauder-Morasha school in Warsaw.

In 1989 he hosted a dinner for 157 young Jews with the late Rabbi Chaskel Besser and the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in Poland was born.

Part of the reconstructed Gwozdziec Synagogue.

The Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews is designed to tell the whole thousand-year story of the Jews in Poland.

I REMEMBER WHEN I first started working at the Jewish Press 18 years ago, Arnie who was in charge of the newsroom, took me under his wing…

The official beginning of World War II was September 1, 1939. On that day German soldiers invaded Gdansk after bombarding the city with a military warship. As part of the Polish Government’s official series of events marking seven decades since the start of World War II, Poland’s Jewish community and the Jerusalem-based “Shavei Israel” organization held a special ceremony yesterday in the Gdansk synagogue to commemorate the outbreak of the war, which paved the way for the Holocaust.

The official beginning of World War II was September 1, 1939. On that day German soldiers invaded Gdansk after bombarding the city with a military warship. As part of the Polish Government’s official series of events marking seven decades since the start of World War II, Poland’s Jewish community and the Jerusalem-based “Shavei Israel” organization held a special ceremony yesterday in the Gdansk synagogue to commemorate the outbreak of the war, which paved the way for the Holocaust.

September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

In September 1939 the Germans started establishing ghettos in the occupied territory of Poland. Ghettos played an important role in the Jewish extermination policy. They were filled with Polish and Western European Jewish deportees. The ghettos differed in times of existence, size, internal organization, and living conditions. The Germans called them ” death boxes” (Todeskiste). The city of Lodz belonged to the Wartheland District and the Germans changed its name into Litzmannstadt.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/the-old-shtetl-gostynin/2006/03/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: