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Translator name :mirosix

The first accounts of Jews living in Łomża come from 1494. Łomża Jews owned at that time the synagogue and cemetery. In 1556, King Zygmunt August issued the privilege non de tolerandis Judaeis. Most of Łomża Jews moved then to the neighboring Piątnica. However, with time the ban on the Jewish settlement in Łomża was gradually abandoned. In 1598, King Zygmunt III Waza issued the privilege allowing Jews to stay in the town, but no longer than three days. The sources confirm that the Jewish community existed in Łomża in the second half of the sixteenth century. At that time Jews began to play more and more important role in the local economy. At the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, economic crisis took place in Mazovia towns and the competition between the Christian and Jewish merchants and craftsmen increased. Due to that, Jews were again expelled from Łomża. Part of Łomża Jews settled again in Piątnica and part in the nearby village Rybaki on the Narew River; it became with time the Jewish district in Łomża.

In 1808, 157 Jews lived in Łomża; they constituted 10,4 % of the total population. During the Napoleonic wars Łomża Jews also provided supplies for the French army. Judka Blumowicz was the richest of them all. He built the largest house in the town; it is said that Napoleon himself stayed in this house during the invasion to Russia. During the Duchy of Warsaw, local Jews received the permission to establish the Jewish community again. It was located at Woziwodzka Street, between the town and the Jewish district in Rybaki. The Łomża community was at that time wealthy and rabbi Zew Wolf from Śniadów provided services for them. Until they established their own cemetery in the first half of the nineteenth century, Łomża Jews buried their deceased in Śniadów. In the literature, several dates of establishment of the Łomża cemetery are mentioned. Janusz Szczepański in the book "Społeczność żydowska Mazowsza w XIX i XX wieku" gives two dates: "In Łomża, until the cemetery and burial society (Hebrew: chevra kadisha) were established in 1833, Łomża Jews buried their deceased in Śniadów." (p. 85). Footnote in the text indicates that this information was found in "Chronicle of the municipalities, Łomża". However, in another chapter of this publication we read: "To 1822 (until Jews were allowed to settle in Łomża) Łomża Jews were being buried in Śniadów. In 1822, Jewish cemetery was established in the eastern part of Łomża, nearby the castle mountain, by the road from Szumowo to the sugar refinery." (p. 115). This information comes from the book of Cz. Brodzki and D. Godlewska "Łomża w latach 1794-1866". It should be mentioned that both dates appear independently and the author does not comment upon this disaccord. Przemysław Burchard in "Pamiątki i zabytki kultury żydowskiej w Polsce" gives year 1820 (p. 67), and in many different publications (also online) it is mentioned that cemetery was established in 1830.

During the Kingdom of Poland, the authorities continued the politics of the Duchy of Warsaw pertaining the establishment of the Jewish communities in the larger towns. In Łomża the attempt to establish the Jewish district failed. It was planned to create the district within the Żydowska, Kaznodziejska, Woziwodzka and Rybaki Streets, but the plans fell through. The correspondence between the commissioner of the Łomża Region and Duke Deputy, in which the commissioner suggested to create the district within the above mentioned borders, was preserved. In the answer, Łomża Jews applied to Government Commission for the Interior and the Police to get a permission to settle in the town center. They claimed that they were involved in trade which was important for the local economy; that they could speak Polish and that they were not different from other inhabitants as far as clothing is concerned. In a reply, deputy Józef Zajączek allowed Jews to settle within an entire town.

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