Polska / łódzkie
|Synagogues, prayer houses and others||Cemeteries||Sites of martyrdom||Judaica in museums||Andere|
|Province:||łódzkie / inne (before 1939)|
|County:||bełchatowski / piotrkowski (before 1939)|
|Community:||Bełchatów / Bełchatów (before 1939)|
|Other names:||בעלכאטאוו [j. jidysz]; בלחטוב [j. hebrajski]; Belchatow [j. niemiecki]|
Karolina Klauzińska /
Bełchatów – a city in central Poland, in Łódź Province, capital od Bełchatów County. It is located 54 km south of Łódź and 161 km southwest of Warsaw, by the Rakówka river.
In the 19th century, Bełchatów was a private property of the Kaczkowski family. It was one of the 246 towns where Jews could settle without any limitations. The town's owners believed that Jewish inhabitants would positively influence the local economy. In order to develop Bełchatów's industry and trade sectors, the Kaczkowski family invited a group of wealthy Jews to live in the town and provided them with construction sites, a cemetery, and a prayer house.
In 1809, 11% of the town's population was Jewish. Just 11 years later, in 1820, this percentage rose to 45% and in 1864, Jews constituted 80% of the town's population. At first, their only occupation was trade. During the times of the Duchy of Warsaw, however, Jews were prompted to work in the production sector. The first Jewish cloth manufacturers were employed in Leon Kaczkowski's workshop. Some Jews of Bełchatów worked as merchants, while others owned yarn warehouses. The biggest warehouses were owned by Jews named Birnbaum and Warszawski.
Jews also worked in their own weaving mills. In 1867, 13 out of the 16 small weaving workshops in Bełchatów were owned by Jewish people. In total, they employed 95 workers. Another Jewish-owned business operating in Bełchatów at the time was the cloth workshop owned by Mendel Tusk and Lajzer Warszawski (who also ran a steam sawmill). Chaim Tusk, meanwhile, was the proprietor of a big cloth shop and a cloth production plant. In 1899, his business employed between 35 and 70 workers, depending largely on the season.
In the years directly preceding the Second World War, a number of new factories were opened in Bełchatów. Among these factories were a plant owned by Zysla Działowska, which used power-looms and employed 32 workers, and Daniel Baran's weaving plant, which had 31 power-looms and 31 employees. Among other Jewish factory owners were: Daniel Frej, the Epsztajn brothers, Rozencwajg & Co., and Szaul Berger. The cloth factory owned by Perec Frajtag, with approximately 200 employees, was one of the biggest businesses operating in Bełchatów at the time[refr:|Belchatów, in: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities in Poland, Volume I (Poland). PinkasHakehillotPolin, Jerusalem 1976, pp. 70–77.]].
Cottage industry started to develop in Bełchatów independently from the factory
The first mention of Bełchatów can be dated back to 1391. In 1617 a Franciscan monastery was built here. In 1743 Bełchatów received town rights.
After the II Partition of Poland Bełchatów became part of Prussia. In 1801 the first textile manufacture was started after which the textile industry developed fast.
In 1807 Bełchatów joined the Duchy of Warsaw and in 1815 became part of Congress Poland.
During the January Uprising in 1863 a few skirmishes between the insurgents and the Russian forces took place near Bełchatów. In 1869 the Tsar revoked Bełchatów’s town rights.
During World War I the town was taken over by German forces.
The city was incorporated in to the so called “Warta Region”. In January 1945 Bełchatów was freed by the Soviet forces.