The beginnings of the Jewish settlement date back to the 1880s, although until the reform was implemented by A.Wielopolski, there had been a formal ban on their permanent settlement. However, Jewish merchants had been allowed to display their goods during fairs and markets. In 1827 Łagów was resided by 60 Jews, which constituted 4.5% of the whole town population. After 1862 more and more Jews began to arrive in the town. Initially, these Jews belonged to the Jewish religious community (kehilla) in Opatów. It was not until 1878 that the kehilla of Łagów was established. The synagogue, the mikvah and the cemetery were founded then. The cemetery was situated on the road to Kielce.
In 1921 Łagów settlement was inhabited by 1269 Jews i.e. 50.2% of the whole town population. They mainly lived off crafts and trade. At the end of the 1920s Jews were the owners of some important companies: S. Wajnryb’s brickyard; the lumber mills owned by S. Bajnwol, E. Feferman, B Recht, A. and. J. Spiegil, S. Wajnryb; the butcher shops run by Z. Rotman and M.Zylberman; and the Cukierki’s leather shops.
Fabric shops became the major trade points, for example, those owned by S. Dancigier, A. Kirszenberg, J. Kuperberg; as well as P. Szperling’s accessories; shops with ready-made goods run by J. Wajngust’s and A. Zylberbeg’s; grocer’s stores run by S. Baltman, K. Cukier, and C. Ickowicz; stores trading with tabacoo which belonged to J. Nisenbaum and M.Waldman; with grain owned by N. Stein; with iron run by Sz. Hercyk and H. Szterenfeld; and also beer cellars of A. Alfelbaum and M. Waldman. H. Bloch, A. Frymerman, L. Spiegiel traded in horses on a large scale. The fairs held every Thursday provided an excellent opportunity to sell these goods.
The preserved records reveal that in 1942 the members of the elected Board were: Emanuel Togerman, Mizrachist; Zelman Szpiegiel, Zionist; Jankiel Iwański, Orthodox; Rafał Wajsblum, Orthodox; Szmul Bajnwol, Mizrachist; Herszel Broner, Orthodox; Moszek Bajnwol Klajminc, Zionist; and Moszek Zylberber, Mizrachist[1.1].
The 1925 budget showed that the kehilla numbered 1400 people then. The projected revenues were to amount to 9,048 zlotys obtained from slaughter, 1,199 zlotys from membership fees and 195 zlotys from the outstanding membership fees. Rabbi Berek Szwarc residing in Łagów from September 1, 1922 earned 2,400 zlotys per year, shochets Lejba Chałupnik and Berek Rękosiński got 1,200 zlotys each.
In 1927 it was expected that 3,605 zlotys would be generated by membership fees, 9,400 zlotys by slaughter, 200 zlotys by a bath house, 100 zlotys by “the pokładne” [a payment for a permission to be buried in the cemetery], 50 zlotys by gravestones, 200 zlotys by other sources and 50 zlotys by matzah. The entire amount of fees was collected, which was a rare exception. The income provided by slaughter was bigger by 200 zlotys. However, the money planned to be gained from “the pokładne”, gravestones, matzah and other sources was not collected. 175 families were obliged to pay a membership fee, the amount of which ranged from 1 to 100 zlotys.
In 1928 the Board of the kehilla was chaired by rabbi B.Szwarc and the members were: J. Iwanicki, R. Wajsblum and Z. Szpigiel. The starosty clerk who was inspecting the kehilla accused the Board of neglecting the poor. He also criticized the fact that the Board did not have any premises for its office and all the documents were kept in the house of the chairman of the Board. In 1928 a fire destroyed the synagogue. The cost of its reconstruction was estimated at about 20.000 zlotys[1.2], which could bring the kehilla’s finances to a complete ruin.
The 1928 budget was predicted to be generated by 1,303 zlotys from membership fees and 9,050 zlotys from slaughter[1.3]. The slaughter flat fee was high in Łagów. For a ritual sluaghter of an ox or a cow a charge was 10 zlotys, for a lamb and a goat - 4 zlotys, and for a turkey and a goose -1 zloty.
Rabbi B.Szwarc earned 3,900 zlotys per year, shochet B.Rękosiński 1,950 zlotys, L.Chałupnik 1,500 zlotys, the kehilla’s secretary Jakób Zielny 780 zlotys and a meter reader 520 zlotys. 722 zlotys was intended for the treatment of the poor and the rabbi’s flat ate up 250 zlotys. The kehilla’s debt amounted to 1,300 zlotys.
[1.1] APK, UWK I, sign. 1501, p. 203.
[1.2] APK, UWK I, sign. 1641, p. 176.
[1.3] APK, UWK I, sign. 1641, p. 180.
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