The first reference to the presence of Jews in Horodło dates back to 1507. They were recognized as rightful citizens by the town's Christian community in 1565[1.1].
In the late 16th century a Jewish cemetery was established and the first wooden synagogue was erected here in 1628 at the latest.
Khmelnytsky’s troops organized pogroms against Jewry in Horodło, as a result of which almost the entire Jewish community of the town was slaughtered. However, as early as the beginning of the 18th century or, according to other sources, somewhere in the mid-century , the local community here was revived[1.2].
Horodło Jews earned their living mainly as tradesmen and artisans. In 1765 there were 220 Jews who possessed 29 houses and 8 shops in Horodło[1.3]. The community ran a wooden synagogue, a bei hadmidrash and one or two Jewish cemeteries[1.3].
In 1767, there were 342 Jews in Horodło [1.5]. A complaint was filed by the local Jews against their fellow believer, Jankiel at that time. He refused to sell kosher meat and was exporting it abroad instead[1.6].
The Jewish community in Horodło dealt with merchants from Moscow. In 1798, Fiszel and Herszko Falersztenow, Icek Kler, Herszek Lander and many other Jews stood surety for Moscow merchants by paying duty on oxen, horses, tallow and vodka in Uściług[1.7]. They transported wheat to Zamość and Włodawa, salted herrings to Dubienka, vodka to Lviv, honey to Rejowiec and potash to Opalin and imported wine from Kazimierz. Moreover, the Jewish people from Horodło floated wood to Gdańsk, imported oxen from Ukraine and were involved in the production and sale of alcoholic drinks[1.8]. The craftsmanship in Horodło was predominantly controlled by Jews[1.9].
In 1850 an old wooden synagogue burnt down but was replaced by a new brick one as soon as 1865[1.10]. In the mid-19th century, after the old Jewish cemetery (or cemeteries) had been closed down, a new necropolis was founded by the road to Strzyżów, not far away from a Catholic cemetery[1.11].
A Hassidic movement was well-developed in Horodło. Hassidic Jews had their own shtibel in the town. Most of the local rabbis were the followers of Izbica and Radzyń-born tzadikim. However, other shtibels of the followers of tzadikim from Góra Kalwria, Turzysk and Bełz existed here too[1.12].
In the latter half of the 19th century Jekutiel Ber Josef Eliezer Gelrnter served as a rabbi in the town. In 1865 Horodło was inhabited by 1,635 people, out of which 366 were Jewish (22%)[1.13]. From 1889 to the time of the Nazi occupation, Mosze Lejb Halevi Berman, Gelernter’s son-in –law, held the position of rabbi here. There were 2,112 inhabitants in Horodło in 1897, out of which 717 were of Jewish descent (33%.)
During World War I, Jews opened a soup kitchen for the needy.
In the interwar period Horodło was inhabited by 2,495 dwellers, including 747 Jews (30%.)[1.14].
[1.1] K. Wróbel-Lipowa, Kultura materialna..., p. 24.
[1.2] Horodlo [entry] in: The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, eds. S. Spector, G. Wigoder, vol. I, New York 2001, p. 529; K. Wróbel-Lipowa, op.cit., p. 28; conf. Horodlo [entry] in: Pinkas ha-kehilot; entsiklopediya shel ha-yishuvim le-min hivasdam ve-ad le-aher shoat milhemet ha-olam ha-sheniya: Poland, vol. VII: Kielce and Lublin, Jerusalem 1999, pp. 145-146.
[1.3] Horodlo [entry] in: Pinkas ha-kehilot… op.cit., pp. 145-146.
[1.4] Horodlo [entry] in: Pinkas ha-kehilot… op.cit., pp. 145-146.
[1.5] K. Wróbel-Lipowa, Kultura materialna..., p. 28.
[1.6] K. Wróbel-Lipowa, Kultura materialna..., p. 36.
[1.7] K. Wróbel-Lipowa, Kultura materialna..., p. 37.
[1.8] K. Wróbel-Lipowa, Kultura materialna..., p. 18.
[1.9] G. Rąkowski, K. Antoniak, Polska egzotyczna: przewodnik, p. 217.
[1.10] Horodlo [entry] in: Pinkas ha-kehilot… op.cit., pp. 145-146.
[1.12] Horodlo [entry] in: The Encyclopedia … op.cit., p. 529; Horodlo [entry] in: Pinkas ha-kehilot… op.cit., pp. 145-146.
[1.13] Horodlo, Pinkas Hakehillot Polin , http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/pinkas_poland/pol7_00145.html, [accessed on January 2nd 2009].
[1.14] R. Dąbrowski, Mniejszości narodowe na Lubelszczyźnie w latach 1918-1939, Kielce 2007, p. 43.
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