The first records of the kehilla of Grodzisko Dolne date from as early as the middle of the 18th century. In 1754 there was a synagogue and a Jewish cemetery in Grodzisko .[1.1] In 1891 the independent kehilla was dissolved and the Jews from Grodzisko became subordinated to the Leżajsk Kehilla, but they still maintained a synagogue, a cheder and a cemetery . From 1909 Eliezer Horowitz (1881–1943) was rabbi and tzaddik there, later on he moved to Tarnow, where he was killed by the Nazis. After World War I the number of Jews in Grodzisko decreased .[1.2] The main cause was their migration to bigger towns (Lwów, Kraków, Rzeszów, Przemyśl), and also abroad. They searched for new ways of earning their living and improving their life conditions .[1.3] According to data from a census carried on in 1921, the Jewish population of Grodzisko Miasteczko amounted to 367 people (62.3% of the total number of residents), whereas the number of Jews in the remaining villages, which later on were incorporated into the Grosdzisko Dolne Municipality, was much smaller. Those villages were: Chodaczów – 12 people (2.6%), Dębno – 73 (3.7%), Grodzisko Dolne – 101 (3.3%), Grodzisko Górne – 12 (0.5%), Opaleniska – 4 (0.8%), Wólka Grodziska – 5 (0.5%), Zmysłówka – 39 (5.4%) .[1.4] In 1930 Grodzisko Miasteczko was included into the boundaries of Grodzisko Dolne .[1.5] According to data from the Municipality Office 422 Jews inhabited Grdzisko Dolne in 1935 .[1.6] They lived mostly in the area of the former Grodzisko Miasteczko. Józef Burszta supplied a detailed description of that area: „Around the «market square» and the adjacent streets we had about seventy wooden houses in 1939, inhabited by 82 Jewish families at the end of 1931 , dealing with all kind of trade and different crafts. Those houses were surrounded by 43 houses of poor residents. The former, Jewish houses looked quite good, however the latter, inahabited both by Jewsh and the farmers, were poor cabins referred to as «kucze», only several of them were in better condition” .[1.7] Not many families lived in the remaining villages of the Grodzisko Dolne Municipality. In Opaleniska – a considerably poor village – there were two families before World War II: the Szmula family, who ran a grocer’s shop with his wife, the widow after Majer, and the Bunaś family, who kept a small farm and a piece of forest.[1.8] The Jewish population of the Grodzisko Dolne Municipality still in 1870 had its own Kehilla with the seat in Grodzisko. From the time it was dissolved until World War II, Jews living in that area belonged to the Leżajsk kehilla . In Grodzisko Dolne (former Grodzisko Miasteczko), similarly to Leżajsk, Jews maintained a synagogue, a Jewish cemetery, a ritual bath (mikvah) and a slaughterhouse, where shechita was performed- the ritual slaughter of cattle and poultry (chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks). Besides there were chadarim where boys from the age of three learned the religion of Moses. Thus local people did not have to go to the far located Leżajsk. The synagogue and the services held there constituted the center of the community’s life. A very old synagogue, built of carved wood, was situated on the top of a hill whereby all the streets and lanes of the old Grodzisko Miasteczko crossed. It was of high artistic value. Ilex Beller, born in Grodzisko in 1914, who emigrated in 1928, recalls is such a way the building constituting for him and his family the place of religious services: „On the hill there is a beautiful wooden one storey construction with two rows of windows with small square panes. Time changed the color of wood from grey to brown. The square roof, covered with sweet zinc glittered in the sun. On the first store a long balcony runs through the whole length of the synagogue- and it is the gallery for women. To enter it you pass through arched oak doors. The large room is beautifully decorated, colorful, lit by copper chandeliers. The vault- wooden arches- are delicately sculptured and decorated with glit. Velvet curtains were embroidered by young girls from Miasteczko. In the middle there are several stairs and a small door leading to the balcony, a large room for women. We can hear their cries during the prayers dedicated to the deceased. I often hear my mother’s voice, she cries the loudest. Ceiling painting – plants and animals symbolize the twelve generations of Israel. The Lion, which represents Jechuda’s generation, looks at me with its human eyes and I have remembered that look for my whole life. (...) The synagogue is closed during part of the week, it is opened on Friday night for the Shabbat and during religious holidays. People attending the synagogue are simple people- craftsmen, traders, coachmen and Jews from other villages, who come on foot to hear «the word in Yiddish». One of the poorest are the beggars sitting by the entrance, in ragged clothes, holding prayer books and listening carefully to the prayers, although they do not understand them they say completely convinced: Amen. A wooden prayer house was located not far from the synagogue and as other houses, it was opened day and night. The Hassidim go to pray there in the morning, in the evening and on their way to work. Each of them brings a bag and in it a tallit and teffilin, to unite with the «Minian» prayer group. Sometimes they remained there all day long to study texts. Young Talmudists 15-16 years old, studied all the time, they were too intelligent to go to the cheder but too poor to go to a rabbi school in a big town. They danced in a group, leaned forward, wrapped their side curls around their fingers and recited texts in parts, which moved people internally. Among them there were those who married a daughter of a rich merchant and their father in law maintained them for long years. Others married in town and became small traders. To enable them to study the Torah – their wives had to earn the living for the family” .[1.9] In the 1880s there were two chadarim in Grodzisko, with 22 students. In the same period, in Lezajsk, there were six chadarim, attended by 85 boys .[1.10]In the middle of the 1920s in Grodzisko Miasteczko there were already three chadarim ran by three teachers (melamdim). Mordechaj-der-Szames taught the youngest boys, first of all the Hebrew alphabet. Nute-der-Mełamed taught the Bible and commentary to it to boys 8-9 years old. The oldest boys attending the cheddar until the Bar Mitzvah (confirmation) at the age of 13, were taught Gemara by Dawid, an old Jew. The shechita ritual slaughterhouse, was located nearby, and it was ran by Haskale, another old Jew, and still further the brick mikvah was situated, which offered steam baths and baths in bath tubs, with inside a source enabling access to running water. Behind the synagogue, at the far end of Grodzisko Miasteczko there was a Jewish cemetery, surrounded by a robust, high brick wall with a locked gate. Examples of religious conduct of the Jews from Grodzisko could be observed every day. Prayers were told three times a day: at sunrise, at noon and at sunset. Appropriate prayers and blessings were also told before meals. Prayers were told in Hebrew, whereas Jews communicated in Yiddish, called ‘mame łoszn’ – the mother tongue. All Jews could read and write in that language. Religious holidays were solemnly celebrated, both the every week’s Shabbat as all the remaining Jewish holidays . The Jewish marriage and wedding had a very spectacular character; similarly the funeral. Due to the fact that Jews from Grodzisko constituted a small community, at the same time very consolidated, almost all its members participated both in wedding ceremonies as well as in funerals. One of the weddings in Grodzisko was described by Ilex Beller: „I remember Gołda’s wedding, the beautiful fiancée of Meilech (a trader). When the long expected day came, four coaches drawn by beautiful horses, trimmed with white ribbons and feathers, were hired. Ten men dressed as ‘Cossacks’ escorted them to the station to welcome the bride and her family, whereas half of the village waited for the procession to come. The coaches galloped through the village without stopping. Then two ‘Cussacks’ went to negotiate with the bride’s father, as she had been kidnapped for ransom. Her release was sealed with four bottles of vodka, then she was set free. Afterwards she was led through the wonderfully lit synagogue full of guests. The future husband declared putting the ring on his future wife’s finger: «In the name of the law of Moses of Israel you become my lawful wife with this ring». The rabbi says the prayer which people repeat in silence. Then he reads the Ketubah in Aramaic, which is the language used for all acts by the rabbis. The wedding contract says that the husband needs to respect the physical, moral and social life of his wife. The bridegroom breaks a glass with his foot for good luck. Everybody congratulates him and shout «Mazel-tow». Then all the guests go to the wedding reception, boys light torches. Through the whole village, where windows are opened the wishes can be heard: «Let it bring us good luck. Mazel-tow. Soon it’s going to be your children’s turn». (...) The family and guests occupy their seats around the bride and groom, the orchestra is playing, the Marschalik [wedding dance leader] improvises songs. Golden chicken broth and wonderful meats are served and vodka. Tongues go loose, the Hassidim start dancing. The father in law dances in «Micwa-tencl» with his daughter in law. (...) The orchestra, with its leader, Chaim (the barber) the violin player, play a waltz, a polka, a Krakowiak. Mordechale-Psachie-dem-Glers announces the hit of the ball: a dance called «colondance», known in the village from generations and passed over from mothers to daughters. In reality nobody knew where it had come from and what the lyrics meant. The boys stand in a row on one side, the girls on the other side, Mordechale is in the center, gives the rhythm «forward colondance pa, pa, pa». To the measure of music the dancers, holding hands, move forward, then boys change their partners, who are delighted with it. Much time passed till I understood after my long stay in France what colondance meant. It was a minuet, an old French dance. But how this dance of the French aristocracy found itself in our village remains a mystery which I have never succeeded to solve” . The extermination of Jewish people during World War II interrupted for ever the history of Jews from Grodzisko which had lasted for many centuries, and at the same time it ended the mutual Polish-Jewish history. From the small group of Jews who had managed to survive the Holocaust nobody decided to return for good to their home town. The synagogue was pulled down still during German occupation. The Jewish cemetery was devastated in the period, where several years ago Rywka Becher from Israel founded a gravestone to commemorate her family and all the Jews from Grodzisko who had been murdered during World War II only because they were Jews. During World War II the Germans dispossessed the Jewish population. The majority escaped to Russia, several people had been hidden by local residents and the remaining 125 people were executed and buried in the local Jewish cemetery. In 2006, to commemorate that event, an obelisk with a plaque in Hebrew was unveiled. When the Nazis occupied the town, on September 27, 1939 part of the local Jews were displaced behind the San River, to the Soviet occupation zone. Part of them emigrated to Russia, crossing secretly the border on the San River, others went into hiding. In 1941the number of Jewish inhabitants in Grodzisko amounted to approximately 750 people, most of them from outside the town. When the ghetto was dissolved the Nazis executed about 200 Jews in the local Jewish cemetery. Jews underwent repressions, they were disposed of buildings and land on September 12, 1941 . In Budy Łańcuckie located nearby, the Nazis killed the 25 Jews hiding there. After World War II Jewish population disappeared from the demographic map of Grodzisko. Most Jewish houses were pulled down. New buildings replaced them, also in the market square. The Jewish cemetery was preserved and the memory of the tragedy those people experienced. During the war the cemetery was completely devastated so only fragments of matzevot were preserved. The Jewish cemetery in Grodzisko Dolne comes from the 18th century. It is situated on a hill, about 500 meters north west from the center. Its area is devastated and covered with bushes. Fragments of several matzevot were preserved in the cemetery, the remaining part was used as construction material by local residents. The cemetery occupies the area of 0.5 ha. ]] Besides, the bishop of Przemyśl, Wacław Sierakowski, ordered to close the Jewish school i.e. the prayer house, because it had been built without his consent. In historical records the information was found that the cemetery had been located outside the town’s boundaries and that the community had hired a Christian guard to keep an eye on it .[1.11]ery in Grodzisko Dolne comes from the 18th century. It is situated on a hill, about 500 meters north west from the center. Its area is devastated and covered with bushes. Fragments of several matzevot were preserved in the cemetery, the remaining part was used as construction material by local residents. The cemetery occupies the area of 0.5 ha.
[1.1] The first records of the kehilla of Grodzisko Dolne date from as early as the middle of the 18th century. In 1754 there was a synagogue and a Jewish cemetery in Grodzisko .In 1754 the construction of a new synagogue began in the place of the old wooden one .[[refr:|The first records of the kehilla of Grodzisko Dolne date from as early as the middle of the 18th century. In 1754 there was a synagogue and a Jewish cemetery in Grodzisko .In 1754 the construction of a new synagogue began in the place of the old wooden one . Besides, the bishop of Przemyśl, Wacław Sierakowski, ordered to close the Jewish school i.e. the prayer house, because it had been built without his consent. In historical records the information was found that the cemetery had been located outside the town’s boundaries and that the community had hired a Christian guard to keep an eye on it . In 1785 Grodzisko Dolne and Grodzisko Górne were inhabited by 275 Jews, whereas the total number of inhabitants in town was about 2,800 and it belonged to the most beautiful places in the Przemysl land. The Jewish population amounted to 364 people at the end of the 18th century, but in 1835 only 168 people lived within the boundaries of the local Roman Catholic parish, whereas in 1870 the Jewish community numbered 444 people . The Jewish minority, which amounted to 1,200 people in the 19th century, brought a considerable economic development to Grodzisko Dolne . The Kehilla of Grodzisko maintained a prayer house, a rabbi and a cemetery.[[refr:|Michalewicz Jerzy, Żydowskie Okręgi Metrykalne i Żydowskie Gminy Wyznaniowe w Galicji w Dobie Autonomicznej, Kraków 1995, p.134
[1.2] Gazeta Grodziska i okolic, 1995, no. 4 (27), p.4
[1.3] Wierzbieniec Wacław, Żydzi w województwie lwowskim w okresie międzywojennym. Zagadnienia demograficzne i społeczne, Rzeszów 2003, p. 48-51.
[1.4] Skorowidz miejscowości Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, vol. XIII, Województwo lwowskie, Warszawa 1924, p. 27-28.
[1.5] Burszta Józef, Wieś małopolska. Studium struktury i organizacji społeczno-przestrzennej wsi Grodzisko w powiecie łańcuckim, Poznań 1997, p. 58.
[1.6] Burszta Józef, Wieś małopolska. Studium struktury i organizacji społeczno-przestrzennej wsi Grodzisko w powiecie łańcuckim, Poznań 1997,p. 9.
[1.7] Burszta Józef, Wieś małopolska. Studium struktury i organizacji społeczno-przestrzennej wsi Grodzisko w powiecie łańcuckim, Poznań 1997, p. 57.
[1.8] Sigda Justyn, Chłopak z Opalenisk (wspomnienia), Borek Stary 2006, p. 51-52.
[1.9] Beller Ilex, Ils ont tuē mon village (main schtetl), Paris 1981, p. 25-26.
[1.10] Gąsowski Tomasz, Zarys dziejów Żydów leżajskich [source:] Dzieje Leżajska, ed. J. Półćwiartek, Leżajsk 2003, p. 566.
[1.11] Krochmal Jacek, Bożnice i cmentarze żydowskie na terenie rzymskokatolickiej diecezji przemyskiej w połowie XVIII wieku, Przemyśl 2004, p. 36
[1.12] Krochmal Jacek, Bożnice i cmentarze żydowskie na terenie rzymskokatolickiej diecezji przemyskiej w połowie XVIII wieku, Przemyśl 2004, p. 36
[1.13] Michalewicz Jerzy, Żydowskie Okręgi Metrykalne i Żydowskie Gminy Wyznaniowe w Galicji w Dobie Autonomicznej, Kraków 1995, p.134
[1.14] Burszta Józef, Wieś małopolska. Studium struktury i organizacji społeczno-przestrzennej wsi Grodzisko w powiecie łańcuckim, Poznań 1997, p.60
[1.15] Michalewicz Jerzy, Żydowskie okręgi metrykalne i żydowskie gminy wyznaniowe w Galicji doby autonomicznej, Kraków 1995, p. 134-135.
[1.16] Beller Ilex, I Ils ont tuē mon village (main shtetl), Paris 1981, p. 11-12, 29.
[1.17] Beller Ilex, I Ils ont tuē mon village (main shtetl), Paris 1981, p. 88, 90, 92.
[1.19] Gazeta Grodziska i okolic, 1993, no. 4 (27), p.5.
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