web analytics
November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



The Old Shtetl Ilza (Drildz)

Ilza is a picturesque town in a valley along the Ilzanka River in south-central Poland. It is located 75 miles south of Warsaw and 18 miles south of Radom.

 

Ilza was incorporated as a town in the early Middle Ages. The first Jews settled in the city at the beginning of the 19th century. The Jews of the town called it “Drildz.” According to the census of 1827, there were 376 Jews in Ilza.

 

Ilza is one of the oldest pottery centers in Poland, dating back to the 14th century. In 1823, Lewin Selig, a Jew from Sunderland, England, established a factory in Ilza. Sunderland pottery became a flourishing industry in the second half of the 19th century, and the Jewish population grew to 2069 by 1897. In addition to the factory, Jews owned flour mills, gypsum quarries and various trade workshops. A fire destroyed the Sunderland factory in 1903.

 

Ilza was almost completely destroyed during World War I, but began the process of rebuilding and regained the status of city in 1924. After the German occupation of September 1939, a Judenrat and a ghetto were established in July 1941. Ilza’s 1900 Jewish residents were deported to the Treblinka death camp on October 22, 1942. There are no Jewish residents of Ilza today.

 

In 1837 the Jewish community first received ground for a cemetery. Located on the outskirts of the town, it was fenced in and remained the Jewish cemetery for over a century. The last known Jewish burial was in 1942. The size of the cemetery is about 3.7 acres.

 

During World War II the cemetery was vandalized by the Nazis. The Germans forced the Jews to uproot and transport the matzevot to swampy areas for road building near Radom. Many monuments were also used by the Germans for building roads between water ponds at Modjeawista, near Ilza.

 

After the war, the area of the cemetery and its boundaries were untouched and saved from further desecration. The town planted trees in and around it, thereby saving the cemetery from encroachment and other inappropriate uses – as a building site or waste dumping, etc. – found at too many other sites in Poland. It was Mr. Penkala, the former curator of monuments, who saved the Ilza Jewish cemetery.

 

The cemetery is owned by the municipality, but the adjacent property is residential and agricultural. There is some clearing of vegetation paid by a local contribution by authorities.

There are surveyors’ maps from 1937 still in existence on file with the municipality. A more recent survey was done by Adam Penkala in August 1991.

 

It has been noted that there is some indication of a mass grave outside the boundaries of the cemetery. Further investigation will be necessary to confirm this.

 

Although there are no Jews living in Ilza, the Jewish expatriates of the town have formed a group to preserve its memory and the cemetery. The first discussion of the Ilza Cemetery Restoration happened at the 2002 annual international conference of Jewish genealogists in Toronto. At a luncheon of Drildzer descendants they shared stories and photos, and the idea of preserving the Ilza Cemetery was enthusiastically discussed.

 

The group has been in contact with the Polish Jewish Cemetery Restoration Project (PJCRP), located in Buffalo, N.Y., to start initial investigations into the Ilza cemetery site. Results of the initial investigation were received from Polish contact. They also received pictures of the cemetery site, pictures of a possible mass grave, a map of the grounds and a recommendation for further steps.

 

Following numerous trips by various members of the Drildzer Society, they undertook the project to preserve their shtetl’s cemetery, where so many of their forebears were buried.

They have reported that as of November 2005, the stone wall around the cemetery was completed but all other work has been suspended until the spring thaw.

Toronto Drildzer Congregation and Society




The Toronto Drildzer Congregation and Society is approaching its 70th anniversary. It began on January 1, 1934, as the Drildzer Young Men’s Mutual Benefit Society. As far as we know, it is the last surviving landsmanschaft for Ilza. It currently has 150 members (covering four generations). Each year they hold monthly board of directors meetings, four general meetings, a picnic and a Chanukah event. The Society makes charitable donations and maintains the Drildzer section of the Dawes Road Cemetery. In addition to leading the Ilza Historical Cemetery Restoration Project, the society has initiated an exciting film project – led by Harvey Golombek and Sam Hoffer – to record the major events, history and experience of its senior members in the founding and growth of the society. The society can be reached at 326 Wilson Ave. in Toronto.


For further information see www.ilzacemetery. org




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 Ilza (Drildz)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Betar soccer fans pour out on the field at Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium, where Hamas planned to carry out a mass-casualty attack.
Hamas Planned Massive Attack at Teddy Soccer Stadium in Jerusalem
Latest Sections Stories
Rabbi Maurice Lamm

Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.

Schonfeld-logo1

This core idea of memory is very difficult to fully comprehend; however, it is essential.

Sometimes the most powerful countermove one can make when a person is screaming is to calmly say that her behavior is not helpful and then continue interacting with the rest of the family while ignoring the enraged person.

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall divide within you.”

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

There were many French Jews who jumped at the chance to shed their ancient identity and assimilate.

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

Recently, Fort Lauderdale has been the focus of international news, and it has not been about the wonderful weather.

Rabbi Sacks held the position of chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years until September 2013.

The event included a dvar Torah by student Pesach Bixon, an overview of courses, information about student life and a student panel that answered frequently asked questions from a student perspective.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

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-ilza-drildz/2006/02/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: