Polska / mazowieckie
|Synagogues, prayer houses and others||Cemeteries||Sites of martyrdom||Judaica in museums||Andere|
|Province:||mazowieckie / warszawskie (before 1939)|
|County:||żuromiński / sierpecki (before 1939)|
|Community:||Bieżuń / Bieżuń (before 1939)|
|Other names:||בייזון [j. jidysz]; בייז'ון [j. hebrajski]; Бежунь [j. rosyjski]|
A town in the Masovia province on the Rącicka Plain on the river Wkra
Road distances: Sierpc 20 km, Warsaw 119 km, Brodnica 50 km, Łódź 150 km, Rypin 34 km, Działdowo 39 km
The beginnings of the Jewish settlement date back to the first half of the 18th century. The owner of the town at that time, Andrzej Zamoyski allowed the Jews in town. There were 20 Jewish families living in the town in the year 1764. In 1794 there were 97 Jewish craftsmen and small merchants working in the town, including: 1 textile merchant, 4 fabric merchants, 1 bookbinder, 1 glazier, 2 owners of haberdashery stores, 6 tailors, 9 merchants, 1 fur maker and 2 butchers. In the 1760s or 1770s a wooden prayer house was constructed in the place of the former barracks of the Saxon army. The existing prayer house fell into ruin in 1839 so efforts were made to get a loan of 3000 złotys in order to build a new one. The newly constructed synagogue was not properly built and collapsed in 1872. The next synagogue, built in the Mauritian style and designed by the architect S. Kmita, was erected in the years 1902-1904. The Synagogue Administration of Bieżuń had 508 members in 1830. There were 5 cheder schools in the town in the middle of the 19th century. The yeshivah , where the basics of Torah were taught was established in 1912. The bankers from Poznań – Weiss and Santor founded a large sawmill in the 1870s. The boards and buildings materials were bought by contractors from all over the Congress Kingdom (other name for the Kingdom of Poland within the Empire of Russia), whereas the wood was floated through the Wkra, Narew and Vistula Rivers to Gdańsk. Another business enterprise was a Jewish- owned tannery. After the outbreak of the First World War, the withdrawing Russian army relocated all Jews from Bieżuń. Regardless of the danger connected with it, some of them returned to the town. The beginning of the 20th century saw the advent of Zionist movement. The proper development of the Jewish national movement was initiated by Lejb Kelman after his arrival from Warsaw. Between the two World Wars period there were frequent tensions between the two camps (the orthodox and the Zionist) within the authorities and institutions of the Jewish commune. The polarization of attitudes and influences within the Bieżuń Jewish community is clearly illustrated by the results of the local elections of 1931. Bund received 38 percent of the votes with the Zionist and orthodox movements getting 30 percent each. A number of organizations actively participated in the life of the c
Geography and administration:
Till 18th century – Kingdom of Poland, Duchy of Masovia, Płockie County
1793-1807 Prussian State
1807-1815 Duchy of Warsaw
1815-1918 Russian Empire (Kingdom of Poland), Płock Governorate (since 1837), Sierpecki County
1918-1939 Republic of Poland, Warsaw Province, Sierpecki County
1939-1945 Germany (Third Reich), East Prussia Province, Ciechanów Regency, Sierpecki county
1945-1975 Warsaw Province
1975-1998 Ciechanów Province
Since 1999 Masovia Province, Żuromiński County
The first settlement existed in 13th century. The Płock Castellan (alderman), Jędrzej from Golczew expanded the settlement and built a defensive castle guarding the northern border with the nearby Teutonic Knights State. The town rights, based on Chełmno law, were granted in 1406. The fortuitous period of the development of the town lasted from the 15th to the middle of 17th century.
In 1619 the town burnt down. It was rebuilt relatively quickly. The privileges were confirmed by the Polish Kings, new ones were issued. Thanks to the efforts of the owner, Jan Kretkowski, the town was relocated to the Magdeburg law.
During the 1655-1660 Swedish-Polish war Bieżuń was completely destroyed and lost its town function. The town was re-located in 1787 on the initiative of its owner, the Great Chancellor of the Polish Crown, Andrzej Zamoyski. Zamoyski converted the castle into a magnificent magnate residence.
A small number of industrial estates were created in 19th century. The majority of the inhabitants were still farmers, partially craftsmen and merchants. The location, distant from major communication routes, did not help the development of the town. The consequence of recession and repressions after the Polish January Uprising (1863-1864) was the rendering of the town rights in 1869. The town only regained its status in 1994.
It is now a local trade and service centre for its farming neighborhood. A few small scale industrial works operate in the town. The Museum of a Small Town (Muzeum Małego Miasta) was established in Bieżuń in 1974.