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The Old Shtetl Kiernozia

No details are available on the origins of the village of Kiernozia. It existed as early as the 15th century as part of the estate of the noble family Szarpski. In the 60′s of the 19th century it was owned by members of the Lasutski family. Kiernozia’s position astride the road from Lowicz to Plock influenced its development. It was a center of trade and industry for local agriculture, and fixed market days came to be established.


In 1784 King Stanislaw August Poniatowski granted the district governor permission to hold six additional annual fairs. In 1807 the village was incorporated into the Principality of Warsaw, and from 1815 until World War I was part of Congress Poland. During the war, Kiernozia was occupied by the German army from 1915 until they retreated in 1918.


There is no specific data on the beginnings of Jewish settlement in Kiernozia. Jewish habitation is not mentioned before the early 19th century. In 1808 the Jewish population is listed as being 28 percent of the general population, numbering 48 people. The Jews were employed in small trade and handicrafts. According to statistics from the 1870′s, Jews owned eight shops and 11 workshops. In the period between the two world wars, Jews were involved in the same occupations.


There was an organized Jewish community in the latter half of the 19th century. A synagogue and religious school existed, but there was no cemetery, and the Jews of Kiernozia buried their dead in the cemetery at Lowicz. The rabbi of that period was Avraham Noah Neumann. Between the two wars the rabbi was Moshe Bezalel Frankel, who was killed in the Holocaust. Many of the Jews of Kiernozia, and the young people in particular, leaned toward Zionism. There was a branch of Beitar with some 40 members. Jewish children went to the traditional cheder schools and to the municipal Polish school.


In 1921 there were a reported 284 Jews in Kiernozia, comprising about 39 percent of the general population.


With the outbreak of war in 1939 and the approach of the German army, many Jews left their homes and fled eastward. On September 16 Kiernozia was bombed by German planes. The synagogue was destroyed and 20 Jews were killed or wounded. The village was occupied two days later. That same day the Jews who had remained in Kiernozia were rounded up and sent to Zychlin, 12 miles. away. The deportees were kept under the open sky and without food the whole night, and then sent to forced labour camps. A few days later the Jews were allowed to return to Kiernozia, and found their houses looted.


In March 1940 the Germans set up a ghetto enclosed by a fence in two streets. The Poles who had been living there were removed from their houses and the Jews herded into them. Each day the Germans took males aged 15 to 60 for forced labor.


On July 1, 1940, the Germans brought some 240 Jews from surrounding villages into the ghetto. In December of that year there were about 650 Jews in the ghetto. In March 1941 the Germans dismantled the ghetto and the Jews of Kiernozia were transported to the Warsaw ghetto where they shared the fate of its inhabitants and weresent to Treblinka, where they were killed.


The fate of the Jewish community of Kiernozia can be found in Yad Vashem’s “Pinkas Hakehilot,” Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Vol. IV, Warsaw and Its Region, Jerusalem 1989.


Although it is known that the Jews of Kiernozia were killed at Treblinka, there is no symbolic tombstone for the community of Kiernozia in Treblinka.


See www.zchor.org/kiernozia



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


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More Articles from Shmuel Ben Eliezer
Arnold Fine 2008

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.

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.

Growing up in the U.S. during the second half of the 20th century, I, along with most people, know very little about the First World War. The little that I did know was about the trench warfare in France and Belgium. The Eastern Front was barely, if ever, mentioned and usually stated that it ended with the Russian Revolution and overthrowing the Czar.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/the-old-shtetl-kiernozia/2006/04/05/

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