Neo-Gothic basilica minor
|• Mayor||Paweł Kędracki|
|• Total||8.05 km2 (3.11 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,300/km2 (3,300/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Parczew [ˈpart͡ʂɛf] is a town in eastern Poland, with a population of 10,281 (2006). Situated in the Lublin Voivodeship (since 1999), previously in Biała Podlaska Voivodeship (1975–1998). It is the capital of Parczew County.
Parczew historically belongs to Lesser Poland, the town lies 60 kilometers north of Lublin, and 70 kilometers south of Biala Podlaska. It has a rail station on the secondary-importance line from Lublin to Łuków, which was built in 1898.
The settlement of Parczew existed since the 12th century, lying near then-eastern border of the Kingdom of Poland. In 1401, it received Magdeburg rights town charter from King Władysław Jagiełło. The union of Poland and Lithuania (see Union of Krewo) helped Parczew to develop, as it ceased to be a border town. The town was conveniently located on one of the routes joining the capitals of the two united nations - Kraków and Vilnius. In the Union of Horodło (1413), Parczew was designated to be the location of Polish - Lithuanian councils. The town emerged as one of the centers of political life of the two nations. Parczew was visited by all kings of the Jagiellon dynasty, and the last council took place here in 1564.
Parczew had a defensive wall, with three gates, and a royal residence, where Polish kings stayed on their way to and from Vilnius. The town was the seat of a starosta, with a town hall located on the market square, two bath houses, four mills and breweries. In the 16th century, it had three Roman Catholic churches, one Orthodox church, a synagogue, a school and a hospital. In 1500 and 1544, Parczew was destroyed in Crimean Tatars raids, and in 1655, it was seized, ransacked and burned by the Swedes (see Deluge). After the wars of the mid-17th century, the town did not recover until the reign of Stanisław August Poniatowski.
Until the Partitions of Poland, Parczew belonged to Lesser Poland’s Lublin Voivodeship, and since 1815, it was part of Russian-controlled Congress Poland. In 1898, the rail line from Lublin, via Parczew, to Łuków was built, and in the Second Polish Republic, the town had the population of 10,000. During World War II, Parczew was a center of anti-German resistance. In local forests, numerous Home Army and Armia Ludowa units operated. On July 22, 1944, Parczew was freed by the Home Army, and in the summer 1945, anti-Communist unit of Leon Taraszkiewicz attacked local Urzad Bezpieczenstwa prison.
In 1955, Parczew County was created, and in 2001, the town celebrated its 600th anniversary. Among points of interest there are:
- wooden bell tower (1675),
- former synagogue (19th century),
- neo-Gothic Collegiate (1905–1913).
Jews in Parczew
An organized Jewish community existed in the town since the early 16th century. Just before the outbreak of World War II the Jewish community numbered 5,000, more than half of the town's population. During the German occupation, in the course of the Holocaust, the Jewish population was first confined to a ghetto, then its inmates were deported to Treblinka in September, 1942 and murdered there. A number of Jewish partisan groups operated in the forests around the town.
After the war, Parczew was one of the very few shtetls in which an attempt was made to re-establish the Jewish community. About 200 Jews were inhabiting the town by early 1946.
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