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Collegiate Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael
Collegiate Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael
Coat of arms of Łask
Coat of arms
Łask is located in Poland
Coordinates: 51°35′25″N 19°8′0″E / 51.59028°N 19.13333°E / 51.59028; 19.13333Coordinates: 51°35′25″N 19°8′0″E / 51.59028°N 19.13333°E / 51.59028; 19.13333
Country Poland
CountyŁask County
GminaGmina Łask
 • MayorGabriel Szkudlarek
 • Total15.33 km2 (5.92 sq mi)
 • Total17,604
 • Density1,100/km2 (3,000/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Car platesELA

Łask ([wask]; German: Lask) is a town in central Poland with 17,604 inhabitants (2016).[1] It is the capital of Łask County, and is situated in Łódź Voivodeship (since 1999), previously in Sieradz Voivodeship (1975–1998). The Polish Air Force's 32nd Air Base is located nearby.


The first mention in history of Łask was in 1356. It officially became a city in 1422 by the law of the Polish king Władysław II Jagiełło.

Jews began to settle in the town at the close of the 16th century. From that time forward, the Jewish population of the town averaged between 50% and 65% of the total, typical of small shtetls of the region. The primary industries were leather tanning, textiles, and food.[2] The surnames Laski and Lasker derive from the name of the town, and many of those with the latter surname are of Jewish descent.

In the second division of Poland in 1793, the town was part of the German Kingdom of Prussia, but in 1815 it was designated as within Polish territory.

In 1903 the town was connected to the railway line and industrial plants were built. By 1939, "there were 3,864 Jews out of a total population of 6,000 people living in the town.",[3] but with the invasion of Poland and the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, Łask was occupied by the Wehrmacht and annexed by Nazi Germany. The town was then administered as part of the county or district (kreis) of Łask within Reichsgau Wartheland, and the Jewish half of the population was systematically annihilated under the racial policy of Nazi Germany.

In January 1940, it was reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that 100 Jewish citizens of Łask had been summarily executed en masse without trial because house-to-house searches by the Nazis revealed that they were armed and were planning to resist. The town's synagogue was then surrounded by the Nazis and "hundreds more" Jews were shot and killed as they tried to defend the building. With their deaths, the Nazis put the structure to the torch and it was consumed in fire.[4] By December 1940, 3,467 Jews from the town who had survived these mass murders were confined to a ghetto.

In 1941, hundreds of other Jews were brought to the area from surrounding regions. At the same time, the Germans destroyed the old Jewish cemetery in the town, and paved the sidewalks of the town with its gravestones. A year later, on August 24, 1942, a "liquidation" of the ghetto was carried out. Those who were infirm or ill were murdered outright, and all the other Jews were taken to a church outside the town. There they were examined, and 760 selected Jews were transferred to the Lodz ghetto, while the remaining 3,500 Jews were transported to the Chemno extermination camp, where they were killed. Later, the Germans hunted down the remnant Jews hiding in the town and killed them all.[5] A wall plaque in Łask commemorates "the 3,517 Lasker Jews exterminated by the Nazis during August, 1942." [6]

Following the arrival of the Red Army and the subsequent end of the war in 1945, Łask became part of the People's Republic of Poland. As of 2004, "Łask has 18,948 inhabitants [...] and there are no known Jewish inhabitants."[3]

A detachment of the US Air Force has been permanently stationed at Łask Air Base since November, 2012.[7]

See also[edit]

Notable residents[edit]

Twin towns[edit]

Łask is twinned with:


  1. ^ Population. Size and Structure and Vital Statistics in Poland by Territorial Division in 2016, as of December 31 (PDF). Warszawa: Główny Urząd Statystyczny. 2017. p. 114. ISSN 2451-2087.
  2. ^ History of the Jewish Community of Lask
  3. ^ a b The Jewish Community of Lask
  4. ^ Jewish Telegraphic Agency, January 3, 1940: Nazis Admit Mass Executions in Poland; 100 Slain in One Town
  5. ^ The Yizkor Book of Lask at the New York Public Library, 1968
  6. ^ Museum of Family History: Plaque in Lask, Poland
  7. ^ USAF activates AvDet in Poland