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Polska / mazowieckie

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Province:mazowieckie / warszawskie (before 1939)
County:przasnyski / przasnyski (before 1939)
Community:Chorzele / Chorzele (before 1939)
Other names:כאזשעל [j.jidysz]; Хожеле [j. rosyjski]
53.2590° N / 20.8967° E
53°15'32" N / 20°53'48" E


Tomasz Kawski

Chorzele is a town on the border of Masovia and the Kurpiowska Plain, on the River Orzyc.Its population amounts to 2,807 inhabitants (2008).


Distances: Warsaw 122 km, Przasnysz 27 km, Ostrołęka 53 km, Olsztyn 70 km, Białystok 164 km, Łódź 211 km



Tomasz Kawski

Jews started to settle in Chorzele at the end of the 18th century. They resided in one of the houses and were manufacturers of cheap and shoddy clothes and leather coats. They dealt with all kinds of trade. In 1811, in the Duchy of Warsaw, an attempt was made to create a Jewish quarter. It was designed to be located in Zduńska Street (33 houses and 12 parcels) and Bagnowo Street (6 houses and 3 parcels). All Jews had to move to that quarter to begin with 1 January 1814. The only exception were: those who possessed a sum of at least 20,000 złoty in cash, had no debts, were bankers or “open and decent merchants”, could read and write in Polish, French or German, sent their children aged 7 or over to public schools and did not differ in clothing from other residents of Chorzele. However, when the French Army was defeated in Russia, the plans to crate the Jewish quarter were cancelled.

In 19th century Jews started to open small industrial works. In the 1830s the Hersz Lerner tannery employed over a dozen workers. Leather of better quality was sold to merchants, whereas the worse type was bought by local shoemakers to produce cheap footwear for local residents. There was a watchmaker – Abram Kahn and a cauldron maker – Lewin Szczuciner in Chorzele.

At the beginning of the 20th century Abram Przysuskier owned the local brewery, Lichtenstejn and company, as well as Sz. Salomon and company possessed mills and D. Berlinka a cereal factory. In the 1930s  the brickworks in Przasznysz and Niskie Wielkie were led by  Jews from Chorzele: Mendel and Pinchas Przysuskier. Local Jewish merchants profited from the border location of the town. Both legal and illegal trade flourished. Members of the Jewish kehilla in chorzele specialized in illegal trade. They exported wood, poultry, dairy products, dried mushrooms, vegetables, fruit and oats legally. From Germany they imported legally used clothing, and they smuggled coal, silverware, lace, shawls, and precious stones. In the other direction they smuggled, among others, saccharin. The Jews of Chorzele (the Goldsztajn brothers, Elijahu Bejmisz, Heniek Pszenica, Naftali Zabłudowski) also rented the Prussian fish ponds. They went to Prussia each Sunday, fished till Thursday and went back to Chorzele. The Lachower, Gwizd and Nickies families specialized in fish trade on a large sc


Local history

Tomasz Kawski

Geography and administration:

Until 18th century – Kingdom of Poland, Masovia Province

1795-1807 Prussian State

1807-1815 Duchy of Warsaw, Płock department

1815-1918 Russian Empire (Kingdom of Poland), Płock gubernya (province in Imperial Russia), Przasznysz county

1918-1939 Poland, Warszaw province, Przasnysz county

1939-1945 Germany (Third Reich), East Prussia Province, Ciechanów Regierungsbezirk (province in Germany), Przasnysz county

1945-1975 Warszaw Province

1975-1998 Ostrołęka Province

Since 1999Masovia Province, Przasznysz county

The oldest records of a settlement on the border of the Chorzele forest date back to 1444. The town was located in 1542, and in 1551 King Zygmunt I of Poland granted it town rights under Magdeburg Law. New privileges were issued by subsequent rulers in 1690, 1757 and 1776.

The town inhabitants mostly dealt with trade with the neighboring Duchy of Prussia. Craftsmen specialized in wheelwright’s work and brewing. Bog iron ore was excavated in the vicinity of Chorzele and it was processed in small iron foundries. The wars of the second half of 17th and beginnings of the 18th centuries led to the collapse of the town. The Napoleonic Wars led to further damage at the beginning of 19th century.

Industry appeared in the 19th century. A cloth factory, leather tannery and distilleries were opened. Moreover, several windmills and two breweries were established. Part of the inhabitants lived on smuggling goods through the nearby border with Prussia (2 km away). Oxen and horses, purchased in the region, belonged to the most important export goods. During the Polish January Uprising (1863-1864) the town and its neighborhood were the stage for several skirmishes of the partisans with the Russian Army. The town lost town rights in 1869 and regained the status in 1919. The damages sustained during both world wars prevented town’s development.

Chorzele is nowadays a center of food and wood processing industries, forestry and services. A railway station of the line from Ostrołęka to Wielbark, built during the First World War is located outside the town.


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