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Zgierz, (zgysh) (KEY) , city (1991 est. pop. 59,300), E central Poland. A textile center, it also manufactures chemicals, textile machinery, and metals. Chartered about 1300, Zgierz grew after the textile industry was established there in 1818.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2001 Columbia University Press.

Check out the links at the end of this page!

(from "Zgierz" - a memorial book, 1975).

Zgierz was a small town, situated south of Lodz, by the river B'zura, on the road from Krakow to Warsaw.Zgierz became an industrial suburb of Lodge, with German, Polish, Jewish and Russian residents. From less than 1000 habitants in 1820, the town grew, after only ten years, into more than 10,000; by 1866, into 11,341 (4280 Polish, 4326 Germans, and 2633 Jews), and by the end of the nineteen century, the town had 21,034 habitants, 1869 buildings, 316 industrial ventures, of which 29 large industries, with 284 workers. By orders of the Czar, (of 21.12.1824), the number of Jews was limited, as in Warsaw; From 1855 Jews were allowed to live in one quarter. These orders were canceled in 1865. (In 1856: 6,690 Christians and 1,637 Jews lived in town; In 1897, 3,548 out of 19,108 were Jews).

The seventies saw the development of the first Socialists circles, which led to many strikes. By 1882, Zgierz became the center of the Proletariat party of the Lodge region. Their hero was a local worker named Jan Pitrushinsky, who was killed in a strike in Warsaw.

WW1 stopped the town’s development and changed its demography (out of 21,129 people, 16,232 were Polish and by the end of the twenties, there were only 2358 Germans).However, new schools were opened (Polish and Germans) and some newspapers. Between 1931 to 1938, there were 26,618 - 27,853 habitants in Zgierz, 82% of them worked in industry and trade.

From 1903, transportation was by train to Lodge and Warsaw (the Kalish line), and by tram, to other little regional towns.

The Jewish community:

More than 400 documents were found from the community leadership (Va’ad Ha-Kehila) meetings. They were responsible for the butchery (she-chita), different Jewish schools and synagogues, bath and cemeteries, support for the poor, other religious needs and representation to the Polish authorities. They had many employees, institutions and funds, took taxes and usually directed the community.

They operated through committees: Finance, Education, Welfare and a General committee (to: She-chita, Mikveh, Eruv and other religious issues).They acted to local and national issues and world wide Jewish issues (such as pogroms in Ukraine on the one hand or celebrating the Balfour declaration, and memorials for Herzl, on the other). A decision was taken on 7.7.1918 to have all meetings in Hebrew. Issaschar Szwarc was a deputy chairman of the central committee (Va’ad Ha-khila) and member in the Finance and Welfare committees.

Jewish Institutions:

A Hebrew library - The David Frieschman library, Jewish schools, Orchestras, Youth movements, Sports clubs (like Maccabbe), Theater and drama clubs, and a variety of political parties. One, was the "Zionists union" (Agudat Ha-Tsiyonim"). After the death of Herzel, a group of educated people established the "union of Hebrew lovers", headed by Issucher Szwarc and others, promoting Jewish national renaissance and revival of the Hebrew language. They worked within schools, synagogues, shtibles, secular youth movement and Beit Midrash. They published in Hebrew press (Ha-Tsfira) and collected funds for the JNF, through social and cultural events. They changed their name to the "Zionists union" at the end of WW1, when this kind of activities became legal. They over 500 members and organized meetings and other activities.

Other parties in Zgierz, were from all spectrum: Zionists-Orthodox("Hamizrachi"),Ultra-Orthodox,non-Zionists("Agudat Yisrael"), Zionists-Socialists ("Hashomer Hats’air"), Zionist Labor party ("Hit’achdut"),another socialist-zionist group ("Gordonya"),(Zionist-right) "Betar", "Hechalutz" and the Non-Zionist Socialists ("Bund").

On this map (titled cemetery) you can see #10 Stary Rynek which is the Gliksman house where Marcel Waks grew up. The black line crossing the road is more or less the 3rd of May street and Issucher's house was where the road is now (#1 3rd of May). The photo of the market (at the top of the page) shows #10 Stary Rynek (means Old Market) in the back.

Memorial to Jewish Lodz
Info on Zgierz
Info On Jewish Zgierz
More on Zgierz
Some Historical info on the Jews of Zgierz
Jews of Lodz - Web Site