In 1554, two Jews were listed in the town, in 1567 as few as three Jews inhabited Zwoleń but their number continuously grew. A privilege of December 1591 stipulated that the Jews could own up to 10 houses, but, on the other hand, they could trade and use the prayer house without restrictions of any kind. King Zygmunt III allowed them to possess 20 houses, which was provided for in a privilege issued on 22 August 1615.
In 1661, there were eight Jewish houses, 20 debt collectors, Jewish bakers, alcoholic beverages producers and vendors[1.1]. The Jews who lived there in 1671 complained that the town incessantly fell pray to robberies of marching soldiers.
An organized kehilla emerged in the 1590s. A wooden synagogue was erected after 1591, a cemetery was situated on a hill at the left bank of the river, far from the compact buildings. During the November Uprising, the cemetery suffered serious damages. The Russian army demolished and used the wooden fencing, wooden pre-burial house and wooden ohels as fuel materials.
In 1834, a huge fire destroyed Zwoleń. The synagogue, which was also damaged, was reconstructed in the same year.
In 1864, 2894 people, who lived in 325 houses (of which 93% were wooden[1.2]), populated the town. 338 residents (including 88 craftsmen, 18 tradesmen, 12 inn keepers and 220 farmers) were economically active.
In the year 1907, Zwoleń had 7266 inhabitants and 545 (505 wooden) houses. In 1915, 131 shops, excluding booths and stalls, operated within the town.
The regained independence was conductive to the development of the town. In 1921, 3787 Jews (51.2 % of the whole population) lived there. In the period between 1918 and 1939, the number of houses grew by 30% but still there was the lack of paved streets, sidewalks and lighting[1.3]. The prestige of a town was dependent on trade and small craft, which provided products for the needs of the neighboring villages. The People’s Bank, Cooperative Credit Bank and Trade-Cooperative Fund offered loans to people[1.4].
Some more important businesses conducted in 1929/1939 by Jews included sheet metal workshops of M. Diament, N. Feldberg, M. Frydman, hairdressing salons of J. Breslauer, G. Szlaferman, photographer’s shops of K. Rapaport, G. Szlaferman, tanneries of M. Goldfarb, K. Kuperberg, Ch. Wajngrot, potter’s workshops of S. Fuks, P. Goldman, B. Bojmalgrin, hulling mills of Altman, A. Bojmalgrin, J. Bursztyn, M. Cukier, A. Felsztajn, Sz. Manela, Ch. Keszenblat, A. Szlufman, tailor’s shops of J. Altman, Sz. Bartmanowicz, J. Bielman, M. Flumenbaum, N. B. Grinberg, N. Grinsztajn, Z. Grojsman, A. Kerszencwajg, Ch. Mandelman, M. Pelcman, H. Trajman, M. Wajcman, a mill of J. Goldfarb, soap works of Sz. Łuczkower, oil mills of L. Flumenbaum, L. Fuks, Sz. Małach, P. Mandelbaum, bakeries of Apel, M. Bersztel, F. Białas, M. Feldman, F. Gotfarb, N, Goldman, J. Groman, N. Kasperman, R. Kuperman, N. Zalcman, a rope factory of I. Szmeterling, shoemaker’s workshops of Sz. Branfan, B. Finkielsztajn, I. Hochman, M. Liberman, M. Likower, N. Mandelbaum, Najchauz, a woodturning workshop of I. Sztern and watchmaker’s shops of Ch. Wajnburg and S. Wolman.
Textiles were sold by H. Ajchenbaum, J. Dyment, D. Szarferc, M. Szarferc, L. Liberman, J. Miler, cattle by K. Kuperman, confectionery by I. Szyldkrot, wood by L. Fuchs, T. Grynberg, L. Zylbergield, paints by O. Bremer, Sz. Zajdenwerm, haberdashery by J. Hofman, K. Korman, L. Kuperman, Ch. Wajngrot, horses by Frydman, L. Kestenberg, D. Waserman, books by M. Goldberg, shoes by M. Akierman,M. Lukower, leather by M. Flumen, A. Lindenbaum, alcohol by Ch. R. Tenenbaum, groceries by Ch. Bojmal, A. Bojmalgrin, H. Boruchman, J. Edelsztajn, P. Mandelbaum, J. Rozenblat, P. Rozenperel, B. Sztajnhorn,S. Zyzman, tobacco by Ch. Szwarcberg,P. Taub-Zyzman, clothes by Z. Grojsman, F. Flumenbaum, grain by L. Baumalgrin, P. Mandelbaum, agricultural products by F. Zylberrajch, ironmongery by M. Ajzenman,A. Engiel,Ch. Feldsztajn,M. Wanela, Sz. Rotblat.
Ch. Bichman, R. Herszenbaum, M. Szwarcberg, Zelik Wiśnia, Josek Feldsztajn run beer houses, S. Wajsbrot owned a wayside inn and a restaurant belonged to Ch. R. Tenenbaum[1.5]. Medical assistants Jakób Breslauer, Kofman Rapoport and book seller Moszek Bencjan Goldberg can be included in the Jewish intelligentsia.
[1.1] A. Penkalla „Żydowskie ślady w województwie kieleckim i radomskim”, Radom 1992, s. 168
[1.2] E. Bajek, Na drod ze do kapitalizmu i w powstaniach narodowych, w: Zwoleń, dzieje miasta i ziemi, red. K. Myśliński, Lublin 1976, s. 115
[1.3] R. Renz, Społeczności małomiasteczkowe w województwie kieleckim 1918-1939, Kielce 1990, s.22
[1.4] List of the participants of the P.K.O. cheque transaction, Warszawa 1933, s. 743
[1.5] The Directory of Poland (including the Free City of Gdańsk) for trade, industry, crafts and agriculture, Warszawa 1930 , pp. 321, 322
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