Birthplace of Bolesław Prus
|Gmina||Hrubieszów (urban gmina)|
|• Mayor||Tomasz Zając|
|• Total||33.03 km2 (12.75 sq mi)|
|Elevation||200 m (700 ft)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Hrubieszów [xruˈbjɛʂuf] (Ukrainian: Грубешів Hrubeshiv, Yiddish: הרויעשאוו) is a town in southeastern Poland, with a population of around 18,212 (2016). It is the capital of Hrubieszów County. Between 1975 and 1998, it was part of a small Zamość Province and, since 1999, Hrubieszów is within the Lublin Voivodeship.
Throughout history, the town's culture and architecture was strongly shaped by its Polish Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic and Jewish inhabitants. The entire Jewish community of the town, however, perished in the Holocaust. Hrubieszów is also the birthplace of Polish writer, novelist and author of popular books Bolesław Prus, and entrepreneur and Holocaust survivor Henry Orenstein.
The origins of the town go back to the early Middle Ages, when a Ruthenian defensive gord existed on the Huczwa river island. It was probably part of the so-called “Cherven Towns”, and was first mentioned in 1254, as a hunting settlement located among forests.
In 1366, Red Ruthenia, of which Hrubieszów, then called Rubieszow, was a part, was annexed by the Kingdom of Poland. Some time in the late 14th century, a wooden castle was built here, as a residence of a local governor. Probably in 1400 Rubieszow received a town charter from Poland's king Władysław II Jagiełło, who visited it in 1411, 1413 and 1430. A castle and church were later added. Casimir IV ordered the construction of a route from Lublin to Lviv passing through Rubieszow. The town was destroyed several times by Crimean Tatars, who raided this area in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, and by the rebellious Cossacks.
After the first partition of Poland in the late 18th century Hrubieszów was annexed by the Austrian Empire. In 1800, Stanisław Staszic founded the Hrubieszów Agricultural Society, the first cooperative organization in Europe, which existed until 1945. The name of the town was changed in 1802 from Rubieszow to Hrubieszów. In 1809 the town became part of the Duchy of Warsaw, then in 1815 it became part of Russian-controlled Congress Poland, within the Lublin Governorate. In 1909, its population was 15,000. In 1918, it became part of the Second Polish Republic.
During World War II, the region witnessed the Zamość Uprising. Many inhabitants, including the 7,000 residents of the town's Jewish ghetto, perished in the holocaust. The city is also notable for being the site in May 1946 of the largest joint action by the partisans of the Polish anti-communist Freedom and Independence movement and those of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.
After World War II, what remained of the town's Ukrainian population was expelled to the Soviet Union.
The Jewish population numbered 709 in 1765, 3,276 in 1856, 5,352 (out of 10,636) in 1897, and 11,750 in 1939.
The German army entered the city on 15 September 1939, and immediately organized a series of pogroms. Ten days later the Germans withdrew and the Soviet army occupied the town, but after a fortnight returned it to the Germans, in accordance with a new Soviet-German agreement. Over 2,000 Jews, having experienced the Nazi terror, left with the withdrawing Soviet army. On 2 December 1939, 1,000 Jews from Hrubieszów and 1,100 from Chełm were led on a death march to the Bug River, where 1,500 died. In early 1940, about 6,000 Jews, including refugees, were confined to a ghetto.
In June 1942, around 3,000 Jews from the ghetto were sent to the Sobibor extermination camp where they were all killed. The second deportation from Hrubieszów took place on 28 October 1942, when 2,500 Jews were deported to Sobibor and killed. Around 400 who resisted were executed at the Jewish cemetery and the last 160 Jews were sent to a forced labor camp in Budzyń.
In the summer of 1941, Julek (Joel/Jakób) Brandt, a leader of the Zionist youth movement Betar from Chorzów who was a relative of the chairman of the Hrubieszów Judenrat (Jewish Council) Samuel Brandt, arranged for several hundred members of the Betar youth movement in the Warsaw Ghetto to work on local farms and estates, including one in Dłużniów and Werbkowice. Before the war, the estate in Dłużniów had belonged to Maks Glazermann, a Jewish engineer from Lwów who was left to run the property. Among those sent to Dłużniów was a young woman from Warsaw named Hanka Tauber. Her account of what went on there was recorded in the ghetto diary of Abraham Lewin.
Most of the Betar youth were killed in the spring of 1942 and in subsequent months together with the local Jewish population. A small number, however, managed to return to the ghetto and later took part in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Julek Brandt escaped from a transport heading for the Sobibor extermination camp. He was denounced by locals who tuned him over to the Gestapo in Hrubieszów. There he was put to work by Gestapo Obersturmbannführer Ebner, who named him chief of a small work camp on Jatkowa Street. At the end of 1942 or the beginning of 1943, Brandt was executed by Ebner.
National road 74 runs through the town, continuing to the road border crossing with Ukraine at Zosin-Ustyluh located about 20 km to the east. In 2015 the road was rerouted to a newly built bypass avoiding the town centre. A wide gauge Hrubieszów–Sławków Południowy LHS railway runs through the town. A normal gauge railway runs parallel to it. Neither carry any passenger traffic as of mid-2017. Lublin Airport is the closest international airport, located about 120 km away by road.
Notable residents of Hrubieszów have included:
- Yosef Almogi, member of the Israeli Knesset
- Bolesław Leśmian, poet
- Henry Orenstein, toymaker, poker player, author, and entrepreneur
- Bolesław Prus, novelist
- Milton Rokeach, psychologist
Others with ancestry from the city include:
Hrubieszów boasts a number of monuments:
- An outdoor sculpture of Bolesław Prus.
- Orthodox church with 13 cupolas (1875).
- Saint Nicholas Catholic Church (17th-century).
- Madonna of Ceaseless Help Catholic Church (1903-5).
- Du Château manor complex, housing a regional museum.
- Madonna of Sokal Catholic Church.
- Jewish cemeteries (Old and New)
- "Polska w Liczbach". Data from Central Statistical Office (Poland). Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- "Remember Jewish Hrubieszów - Genealogy Group". chelm.freeyellow.com. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
- Krakowski, Stefan. Jewish Virtual Library: Hrubieszow, Poland, Retrieved on 6 December 2013.
- Libionka, Dariusz and Laurence Weinbaum, A New Look at the Betar 'Idyll' in Hrubieszów, Yad Vashem Studies, volume XXXVII (2009).
- Official website of Hrubieszów
- Hrubieszów information service
- Hrubieszów Jewish genealogy site
- Official Hrubieszów County website
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