History of Jews in Opatów

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History of Jews in Opatów
silver
The Opatów Synagogue's silver items
History
Period 1545 – 1942
Population 2,034 in 1765 (largest Jewish population in Sandomierz county, Republic of Poland)

This article documents the history of Jews in Opatów, a town in Poland, located in the historic province of Lesser Poland among the hills of Lesser Polish Upland, with the Opatówka river dividing the town into two parts. Opatów is called Apt or Apta in Yiddish.

The thriving Jewish community dating back for centuries was almost entirely eradicated during the Holocaust with most victims sent to their deaths at Treblinka extermination camp and murdered upon arrival.[1] The Shoah survivors and their descendants have settled mainly in Israel, New York City and Toronto.

Jewish life from the 16th century on[edit]

Jews first settled in Opatów in the 16th century, with four Jewish families recorded in the town's documents in 1518. The first "privilege" (a document defining local rights and jurisdiction issues) for Jews in the town was issued by the contemporary owner of the town, Jan Tarnowski in 1545. The first synagogue was most likely build at the end of the 16th century. In the 1630s there is a written mention of a Jewish street (or Jewish Quarter). This ran from the north part of the city wall to the market square. The Jewish quarter was partially autonomous, and the Jews themselves were responsible for providing local security. With increased migration of Jews from Germany to Poland, the Jewish community of Opatów grew. This was in spite of the mood of the local residents who feared that the Jews would control commerce and skilled crafts. They approached the king of Poland with the request that he put a limit on the number of Jews involved in commerce and crafts, especially in weaving, baking and fur production. The king acceded to their appeal and prohibited the Jews from engaging in these areas. As a result, the town council placed many obstacles before Jewish residents when they attempted to purchase land for a cemetery and when they wanted to build private residences on their street. However, shortly thereafter the restrictions on acquiring land were revoked, and for their part, the Jews agreed to cover some of the town's fiscal expenses. By 1658, the Polish king, Jan Kazimierz, renewed the Jews' unrestricted right to purchase land and to trade in Opatów.

The development of the Jewish community of Opatów ended with the Swedish Wars in the mid 17th century. The Jewish quarter was burned, and what the fire did not destroy, the soldiers plundered. In 1656, Opatów was freed from the Swedes by the soldiers of the Polish Hetman Stefan Czarniecki. With the cessation of the fighting, the king Jan Kazimierz came to the aid of the Jewish community. In an order from 1657, he permitted them to build new houses to replace those destroyed by fire and to trade and maintain stores and butcher shops in the town. Subsequent kings confirmed these rights.

The Old Synagogue in Opatów located near the Main Square, erected in mid 17th century and destroyed by the Nazis in World War II

However, even before the Jews were able to rebuild, other calamities ensued. In 1680, a fire destroyed most of the 'Jews' Street' and this was followed by a plague that claimed many lives. In 1685, a blood libel was circulated that threatened all the Jews in the area. In a village near Opatów, a day-old Gentile infant died, and a rumor was circulated that the Jews killed him. The governor of the district, who was one of those behind the rumor, ordered the arrest of the Jewish innkeeper of the village. The Jews were then compelled to pay the governor a fine of 2,400 złoty payable over a period of three years. This fine subsequently became a permanent required payment.

In the 18th century, and especially during the time where Poland was annexed to Austria (1793–1807) when restrictions on living outside the limits of the 'Jewish Street' were cancelled, the Jewish population greatly increased. Their economic activity expanded to include new and important areas. In addition to retail business, wide ranging trade in grain, lumber, eggs, cattle and agricultural products developed. Some of the Jews controlled the marketing of local crops from the entire area. Some even leased estates and operated them on their own. The end of the 19th century saw the Jews taking an active role in the industrialization of the town. In the 1890s, Jews opened two tanneries and a sugar factory and in the early part of the 20th century a dye-works for area cottage weavers. Even with these developments, the main source of livelihood for the Jews during this time was through petty trading and skilled crafts.

Legal status[edit]

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the community of Opatów was a member of the “Country Council” of Greater Poland in the Council of the Four Lands. Delegates from Opatów participated in the meetings of the Council. Some of them were among the appraisers, who were empowered by the Council to assess the tax obligations of each and every Jewish community.

From 1666 to the beginning of the 20th century, the Jews of Opatów maintained a community register (Pinkas) that included all the regulations enacted by the its leadership. Today, the Pinkas is an invaluable source of information for researchers on the history of the community. A copy of the Pinkas was in the archives of the Central Synagogue in Warsaw but was lost during The Holocaust. From the Pinkas we learn of the independence of some of the societies (hevrot) with regards to the official community and of the dependence of the Jewish artisans (tailors and furriers) on the Christian guilds. Thus, the Jewish craftsmen were required to pay membership fees to the guilds, but the guilds specified that they had no obligation to come to their aid. At the head of the Jewish organizations was a committee of eleven men: 3 gabaim, 2 trustees and 5 accountants. The list of expenses in the Pinkas reflects the relationship between the leadership of the community to the nobility and government officials. Also included are the travel expenses of the leaders to the government in Warsaw in their attempts of intercession with the superior authorities. Among the regular expenses are the payments for cantors and singers, for the most part itinerant cantors who came to Opatów for a Sabbath or holiday to conduct services; for visiting preachers, the community had a regular preacher; aid for poor exiles, for those traveling to Israel, funds for the redemption of captives, support of wandering collectors of charity and many more items of this nature.

Jewish institutions[edit]

During the 16th century, the first synagogue in Opatów was built and the cemetery was dedicated. Later a number of charitable societies were founded – for visiting the sick, shelter, bridal dowries and a shelter for travelers. In the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century there was a school Talmud Torah funded by the community where most of the Jewish children studied.

Religious leaders[edit]

Among the rabbis who served Opatów the following names are most prominent: R. Moshe M”t [Matt] (the M”t is an acronym for Marbitz Torah – the teacher of Torah) who died in 1606; R. Ya'akov ben R. Elyakim Halpern, died 1645, who lived in Lvov at the end of his life; R. Eliezer Ashkenazi, known as “Ish Zvi,” the author of the volume Dameshek Eliezer, who settled in Eretz Yisrael in 1651. Also included are R. Shmuel ben R. Eliezer, R. Avigdor Kra – d. 1645; R. Yitzhak ben R. Zev Wolf, who because of his sharpness in scholarship was known as “R. Itzik Spitzkop [peaked-head]” from 1668 to 1674, who moved to Kraków where he died in 1682; R. Shmuel ben R. Heschel, d. 1707, the rabbi of the Kraków district. In 1701, he relocated to Kraków to serve as its rabbi, but he continued to hold that position in Opatów until 1705 when he moved to Breslau. R. Meir ben R. Binyamin Wolf Halpern, who came to Opatów from Chełm. In 1718, he represented Opatów at the Council of the Four Lands, d. 1723. During his time, R. Tzvi Hirsch Ashkenazi, the Haham Tzvi, lived in Opatów; R. Yitzhak Segal Landa, a native of Opatów, served as rabbi from 1719, d. 1767; R. Aharon Moshe Ya'akov of Kraków, from 1730, his approbations from Opatów date from 1732; R. Shaul ben R. Simha Halevi from 1768; R. Hanania Lipa Meizlis, from 1772, d. 1816; R. Arieh Leibush Harif from about 1790.

Opatów was the birthplace of the preacher (Magid) R. Yisrael of Kozhnitz (Yisroel Hopsztajn) known as the Koznitzer Maggid, one of the four founders of Hasidism in Poland. Towards the end of the 18th century, the Admor [acronym title used for head of Hasidic group – “our master, our teacher, our rabbi”] Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sasov settled in Opatów. He established a Hasidic center, one of the most important in Poland. Many Hasidim streamed to his court and some of them settled permanently in Opatów to be near their rabbi, and the community continuously grew.

Market in Opatów with faraway travelers arriving. Painting by Piwarski

The presence of the Hasidim increased the need for goods and services in the town. Many Jews now made a living by providing lodging and food for the masses of Hasidim who visited the Admor on weekdays, and especially on the Sabbath and holidays. The visitors also purchased merchandise in town and from time to time needed the services of the local skilled artisans.

The Hasidic master (Admor) R. Aharon Hacohen, author of Keter Shem Tov (The Crown of a Good Name) about the Baal Shem Tov (Besht), printed in 1795, also made his home in Opatów. The most famous of the Hasidic leaders who lived in Opatów for a time was R. Ya'akov Yitzchok, “The Holy Jew from Przhysha,” [d. 1813]. In the beginning of the 19th century, Rabbi Avrohom Yehoshua Heshl, 'the Apter Rov,' served as Admor and rabbi of the town. The author of Oheiv Yisrael (Lover of Israel), he, as well as “The Holy Jew,” were disciples of R. Arieh Leibush [d. 1811, known as “The Grandfather (Zaida) of Spola”]. After he left Opatów, R. Meir Rotenberg (d. 1827), author of Or Lashamayim (Light to Heaven), was elected as rabbi. He stood at the head of the Hasidic masters (Admorim) who opposed the approach of “The Holy Jew.” R. Shmuel Eibeszuc (d. 1884), author of Toras Shmuel (The Doctrine of Shmuel) who was also a Hasid, was chosen as rabbi of Opatów. The Admor of Opatów during his time was the son of R. Meir, R. Pinhas Rotenberg (d. 1837). The dynasty in Opatów continued with his son, R. Meir ben R. Pinhas Rotenberg.

R. Pinhas ben R. Meir was succeeded in the rabbinate of Opatów by R. Ya'akov, the grandson of R. David of Lelov, who was also a Hasidic master; his grandson, R. Arieh Leibush Lipshitz, who settled in Israel and R. Tzvi Arieh in 1909.

For many years, the head of the rabbinic court was R. Eliezer Yehoshua Epstein, who subsequently moved to Rakov[disambiguation needed] and Chmielnik.

Parts of the Apta Hasidic dynasty continued in the United States and Canada.

Jewish cultural leaders[edit]

Opatów was the birthplace of the Hebrew poet Natan Nota Shapira (1817–1897). Also making their residence there in the last quarter of the 19th century, were the poet and author, Isaac Leib Peretz (1852–1915) and his father-in-law, the maskil [enlightened] and mathematician, Gabriel Yehuda Lichtenfeld (1811–1887). He published articles in the Hebrew newspapers Hashahar and Hatzfira and also authored a mathematics textbook.

Twentieth century[edit]

The years of the Austrian occupation (1915–1918) were a period of revitalization for the Jews of Opatów. The new rulers openly permitted political parties, forbidden during Tsarist rule, to function. The branch of the Opatów Bund, which had operated underground, opened it own active club, Zukumpft (the Future). It became a center of many activities, including a drama club. However, the main focus of the town was Zionist activity, whose origins predated the war. During the war, a Hebrew kindergarten was opened. It closed in 1921 because of a lack of financing. A branch of Tzieri Zion (Youth of Zion) was founded in 1918. Among the activities of its members was collecting food and fuel for the needy.

The rising tide of Anti-Semitism in Poland did not bypass Opatów. Towards the end of the war, Polish soldiers under the command of General Haller passed through the town attacking Jews and plundering their possessions.

The Jews in Opatów between the two World Wars[edit]

During the 1920s and 1930s, Opatów was noted for the manufacture of brushes, which were famous throughout Poland. Most of the enterprises and workshops in the town were in Jewish hands. According to a partial census by the Joint from 1921, Opatów had 229 Jewish enterprises and workshops. More than half, 146 were in the area of clothing, 33 were involved with food, and 18 dealt with leather and other items. Most employed their owners and their families. Factories operated by non-Jews did not hire Jews, and the local flour mill, although owned by Jews (the Grynspan family), employed few of them.

The main occupation of the town's Jews remained as it was in the past, small trade. Jews purchased the produce from area farmers and in exchange sold them manufactured goods. Some Jews were involved in transporting people to and from the train station that was outside the town. Most of the Jews had difficulty making a living. Very few, with the exception of those who had leased large areas of forests for lumber, were well off.

In 1925, the organization of merchants and small workshops in Opatów organized a Jewish cooperative bank. Three years later, the merchants withdrew and founded their own bank. The two banks, one of the merchants and the other of the small workshops, existed until the outbreak of World War II. Opatów also had a gemach (free-loan fund) that offered interest-free loans to the needy. Also helping the poor were the traditional charitable societies for visiting the sick, provision of lodging for the needy and travelers and dowering brides. In 1930 a small hospital and a branch of the organization Ezra, which helped the poorest, were established.

During the interwar period, many of the community's children studied in the Talmud Torah that moved to a new building in 1929. A Yeshiva that functioned for five years was founded in the early 1930s. In 1923, the government opened an elementary school for Jewish children – Shabesukvah, where mostly girls studied. In 1933, it became a regular school with sessions on the Sabbath where Poles and Jews studied together. In 1925 a school sponsored by the Beth Jacob network opened for the girls of Opatów and a heder Yesodei Hatorah, under the supervision of Agudath Israel, opened for boys. The Tarbut school, where instruction was in Hebrew, opened in 1934 and each year another grade was added. It also occupied its own building.

The majority of Opatów's Jews were Orthodox and they controlled the community and its institutions. A branch of Agudath Israel started in 1921. Even so, there were active chapters of most of the Zionist political parties in Opatów. In the early 1920s, a branch of “Hehalutz” started and its members started an agricultural pioneer training center [hachsharah] in a nearby farm. A branch of Hashomer Hatzioni (the Zionist Guard), later known as Hanoar Hatzioni [(Zionist Youth) started in 1927 and in the early 1930s, a branch of the Revisionists was founded. The Zionist parties and youth movements were also involved in cultural activities and opened courses for Hebrew and conducted lectures on a wide range of topics. The average number of those purchasing the Shekel in Opatów was 300. The strength of the various Zionist parties in Opatów can be seen from the voting results for the Zionist congresses. In 1921, Mizrahi received 159 votes, Al Hamishmar received 110 votes and Hitachdut received 91. In the 1929 elections, Mizrahi received 272, Al Hamishmar received 99, Eit Livnot received 91 and Poalei Zion received 18. In 1939, the last election before the war, Mizrahi received 159, Al Hamishmar received 110, The Working Eretz Yisrael list received 91 and the General Zionists 33. There was a small branch of the Bund and a number of Jews were active in the Communist underground.

The results of the last elections for the community council were, 5 representatives of Agudath Israel, 3 Zionists, 2 craftsmen, and one representative from an independent list. The Jews of Opatów also had representation in local government. In the first elections for the municipal council in 1919, they received 19 of the 24 seats on the council; in 1927 and 1931, only 11 Jews were elected.

In 1920, Opatów's rabbi was R. Hayim Yosef Ba”ch, who signed an edict prohibiting the purchase of rabbinic positions. In 1930, after a bitter struggle, R. Shalom Rokeah (the son of the Admor of Belz R. Yisachar Dov Rokeah [the Belzer Rebbe]) was elected rabbi. He was the last rabbi of Opatów and perished in the Holocaust. The Belz Hasidim had their own prayer house. Besides that one, there were shtiblach [prayer rooms] of the Gur, Ostrovitze, Modzitz and Alexander Hasidim.

In the 1930s, there was constant anti-Semitic agitation in Opatów and in 1936 there were attacks against the Jews. On one of the market days, a group of hoodlums along with area farmers, attacked stores and stalls of Jews. They stole goods, attacked the owners and their families, tried to break into houses and injured 30 Jews. The police arrested 20 of the rioters and they were brought to trial. Thirteen of them were sentenced to short terms and the rest were freed. The Appeals Court upheld the convictions but set aside the sentences of six of them because of their age.

World War II[edit]

On the eve of World War II, Opatów had a Jewish population of 5,200. Many of them, especially the young, fled with the outbreak of the war to the eastern portion of Poland that was captured by the Soviet Union. As soon as the city was taken, the Germans burned the market square with the surrounding houses, most of them inhabited by Jews. The next day, in the local movie theater, they held between 1000 and 1500 Jews and Poles captive for two days under heavy guard and without water or food. The Jews were separated from the Poles and became objects of sadistic treatment on the grounds that they concealed weapons and planned to flee the city without first receiving permission to leave. After they were finally released to their homes, the German gendarmes seized 200 young Jews and under the heavy guard of the SS took them to an unknown place from which they did not return.

German occupation[edit]

At the end of 1939, all Jews living in large and fine houses were ordered to evacuate them and move to the Jewish quarter, one of the poorest sections of the town. The deserted Jewish homes were then taken over by German officers.

At the beginning of 1940 the Germans posted special orders for the Jews – the requirement to wear a white armband with a blue Star of David, the prohibition of buying from or selling to non-Jews, and in addition to this they were forced to make large payments. The first payment was for 60,000 Marks with the addition of jewelry and other items of value to be handed over to the Germans within 24 hours. By the beginning of 1941, the Germans had confiscated all the Jewish owned enterprises.

The Jews were required to establish a Judenrat in the beginning of 1940. At its head was M. Weissblum, a wealthy man acceptable to the entire community. The Judenrat was forced to obey all the orders of the German rulers and to fulfill all their demands. Even with all of this, Weissblum and his colleagues [on the Judenrat] sought to defend the interests of the Jews and from time to time were able to pay ransom to release Jews whom the Germans would periodically arrest. The Judenrat also used bribes to help relieve the plight of the Jews.

Opatów Ghetto[edit]

A ghetto was established in Opatów in the spring of 1941, and the entire way of life of the town changed. As was stated, before the ghetto was established the Germans had succeeded in confiscating all of the Jewish businesses and remove them from any possibility of making a living. A station of the SD, which brought terror and fear to the Jews, was set up in Opatów. The ghetto occupied Berko Yoslevitz St. and some alleyways in the area. Besides the local Jews, refugees from Warsaw and Łódź arrived. They came on their own believing that there would be more of a chance to survive the Nazi occupation in small towns. As a result of the terrible crowding and unspeakable sanitary conditions, there was an outbreak of typhus in the ghetto, especially among the refugees whose living conditions were the worst. The Judenrat and other self-help groups organized to fight the typhus plague. An infirmary operated by TA”Z (the Jewish health organization of Poland) and a hospital of 30-40 beds operated in the ghetto. A public soup kitchen provided lunches for a symbolic price for the needy, and another opened shortly thereafter. These two kitchens continued operating until the liquidation of the Opatów ghetto in October 1942.

The ghetto residents attempted to maintain an orderly pattern of life, including a school system for the children, vocational training, aid and social services. At the beginning, the Judenrat, with the help of knowledgeable and enterprising Jews, set up workshops to produce brushes. They hoped to keep as many people gainfully employed as only those with a regular job and a work permit qualified ghetto residents to receive a daily bread ration. The Judenrat also tried to convince the Germans to permit them to open a school for small children in the ghetto. In the end, a permit was issued and on 16 July 1941, a school comprising six grades and 220 children opened with instruction in Hebrew and Yiddish. The ghetto also had a Torah study group in the Beit Midrash of Ohev Yisrael. There was an agriculture pioneer training farm of the Freiheit (Dror) and Hashomer Hatzair youth groups near Opatów. They worked under the direction of the landowners and their leader was Kalman Tchernichovsky.

Initially, the Germans were satisfied with the Judenrat providing them with forced laborers and did not snatch people from the streets as they did in other places. Every day the Judenrat supplied them with 50 to 60 house workers for their domestic needs. However, the setting up of the Opatów ghetto in the spring of 1941 undermined the previous arrangement. Periodically, representatives of the Todt Company would enter the ghetto and seize hundreds of people for forced labor. The first group of young people was sent to work camps in the Lublin region. The prisoners of these camps suffered from hunger, beatings and abuse from the Ukrainians and German gendarmes. Many died of hunger or disease and there were some suicides. The Judenrat attempted to send them food packages. A short while later, the Todt Company demanded that the Judenrat supply it with 500 additional young people and threatened to have the ghetto liquidated if they did not comply. The new workers, men and women, reported on time and were sent to the notorious work camp Skarsyzko Kamienna (cf.). Shortly thereafter, another group of 200 men were taken from the ghetto to work in the munitions factory in the Starachowitze labor camp. Next came the turn of the agriculture pioneer training farm. One day the Germans entered and took a large group of young people along with their leader, Kalman Tchernichovsky. They were also sent to Skarsyzko Kamienna. Before being sent away, Tchernichovsky managed to make contact with the pioneer farm that was in Ostrowiec [Swietokrzyski] (cf.) near Opatów. He continued his work even in the forced labor camp. In 1941, Mordecai Anielewicz visited Skarsyzko Kamienna and met with Tchernichovsky and his colleagues. Yitzhak Zuckerman (Antek) also visited the members of the Opatów underground.

In the beginning of 1942, a group of Jews expelled from Silesia arrived in Opatów's ghetto. The number of residents, which had decreased because of the abductions to the forced labor camps, multiplied. At the same time, those young people who still remained in the ghetto began to organize as an underground. They even obtained some weapons that were kept in a hiding place. Meanwhile, the seizures for forced labor increased, this time by the members of the SD and the Gestapo. Those abducted were also sent to Skarzysko Kamienna and Starachowitze. At this point in time, the number of those escaping to the forests and to the Aryan side of the city grew. The ghetto's youth underground also increased its activity especially in obtaining weapons from area Poles. They maintained close contact with the Polish underground in Ostrowiec and through them met additional arms dealers. It was mostly the women who took care of hiding the weapons. On one of the winter days of 1942, the SD along with the Gestapo raided the arms repository. Immediately afterward, the enraged Germans began searching all the Jewish homes. They interrogated the ghetto inhabitants, randomly shot passersby and threatened the lives of the Judenrat. Everyone knew that its discovery was the work of an informer, but it is not known who it was.

Ghetto liquidation during the Holocaust[edit]

Between October 20 and 22, 1942, the ghetto of Opatów was liquidated. Members of the German gendarmerie and Ukrainian police surrounded the ghetto, assembled all the residents in the large sports field and carried out a 'selection.' Some 500 people that were found fit for work were sent to a forced labor camp in Sandomierz (cf.). A smaller group of a few dozen Jews, including the members of the Judenrat and the Jewish police, were returned to the ghetto under armed guard. The remainder of the ghetto population, some 6,000 in number, was taken to the train station in nearby Yashitze (Jasice), where they were jammed into trains and sent to the death camp Treblinka where they were murdered en masse upon arrival.

The Jews who were returned to the ghetto were required to gather and inventory the abandoned possessions of those who were deported and forced to clean the deserted area. On the completion of these tasks, they were taken to the cemetery where they were murdered.

By the summer of 1944, there were still some 1,500 young Jews from Opatów in the various forced labor camps – Skarżysko Kamienna, Starachowice, Radom, Auschwitz subcamp in Ostrowiec and others. Most worked in munitions factories and other units producing matériel for the Germans. These camps were surrounded by barbed wire and the Jewish forced laborers were brutally treated by the Ukrainian guards. Beatings were a daily occurrence; food was scarce and of poor quality and even water was meagerly distributed. Periodically, the sick and weak were separated, brought to the nearby forest and shot. With the approach of the Red Army to the area, the Germans killed those healthy prisoners who still remained in the camps.

Descendants of the Opatów Jews[edit]

There were 300 Holocaust survivors from Apt, most of whom were from among the forced laborers. The survivors from Opatów and their descendants have settled mainly in Israel, New York City and Toronto where active community groups of survivors and their families were formed and flourished. The 11th of Cheshvan (October 22, 1942 in the Hebrew calendar) is a date in which the descendants of the Jews of Opatów gather to remember the loss and murder of their ancestors.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Jewish History of Opatów. Part 1 to 5". Virtual Shtetl (in Polish). Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  • Hundert, Gershon David (1992) The Jews in a Private Polish Town: The Case of Opatow in the Eighteenth Century. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.
  • Apt (Opatow) Memorial Book, Tel Aviv 5726 – 1966.
  • Borstein, Y. “The Apter Jews on the Brink of the 17th and 18th Centuries,” Bletter fur Geshichte [Pages of History], volume XIII, Warsaw, 1960., pages 120-131. [Yiddish]
  • Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People [Jerusalem]: Files HM/1950, 2707, 2734, 2745, 3540a, 7094, 8213, 8214
  • Central Zionist Archives [Jerusalem]: Files – S5/1707, 1747; S6/2190; Z4/33, 2023, 3004-IV, 3569.
  • Di Ekonomishe Lage (The Economic Situation). . ., page 153. [Yiddish]
  • Gazeta Zydowska, September 9, 1940, March 7, 1941, July 16, 1941. [Polish]
  • Haint, September 9, 1930, March 4, 1931, June 19, 1931, April 30, 1933, July 9, 1933, January 8, 1935, May 11, 1938, May 10, 1939. [Warsaw Yiddish newspaper (1912–1939)]
  • Hatzifirah, May 19, 1886. [Warsaw Hebrew newspaper (1862–1931)]
  • Horowitz, Tz. H., History of the Communities in Poland, New York, 1969, pages 17–90. [Hebrew]
  • Kirshenblatt, Mayer and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.
  • Lubliner Tageblatt, January 11, 1935. [Lublin Yiddish newspaper (1919–1939)]
  • Neyeh Folkszeit, August 5, 1927. [Warsaw Yiddish newspaper (1926–1939)]
  • Schein, Y. "Materialin tzu a Bibliographie fun Yiddishe Feryedik en Polin," in Studies on the Jews in Poland, New York 1974.[Yiddish]
  • Schipper, J. Dzieje handlu zydowskiego. . .; pages 259, 308-309. [Polish]
  • Sokolov, N. “The Apta Community Pinkas,” Heasif 5654/1894, pages 135-144. [Hebrew]
  • Yad Vashem Archives: Files - 03/2343, 2344, 3001, 3572; 016/1134, 3328, 3329; 038/17; JM/355, 1822, 1827, 1863, 1864, 1867; M1/E/1295, 1877; M2/E/236; R-1/567; TR-10/945.