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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 – a town in northern Poland, by the Orzyc River, Mazovia Province, Przasnysz District, a seat of a rural and urban commune; situated 52 km north-west of Ciechanów and 140 km north of Warsaw.



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

The name of Chorzele derives from the Proto-Slavic word for a horse: orz or horz. It is also the origin of the name of the Orzyc River and the Chorzele primeval forest covering the surrounding areas. The name “Chorzele” was used for the first time in a donation certificate of 1444 issued by Duke Bolesław IV of Warsaw for the benefit of Wacław from Jaworów. In 1473 the owners of the land – Wacław from Jaworów and a family from Chorzele – exchanged Chorzele with Duke Janusz II of Mazovia for 10 voloks of land in the Zambrów County.

The early 16th century was a period of growth for Chorzele. Th town had 10 inns, a forge, an ore mine and two mills. The number of inhabitants is estimated at about 150 people. In 1529, after the death of the last Piasts, the Duchy of Mazovia was incorporated into the Kingdom of Poland. Consequently, Chorzele became a royal village being constituing a part of the Ciechanów Land in the Mazovia Province (in the Starostwo of Przasznysz until the end of the 16th century).

Chorzele received the status of a town on 15 May 1542. The charter under the Magdeburg law was issued at the order of King Sigismund the Old in Vilnius. Chorzele received 60 voloks of land and Piotr Goryński from Ojrzanów was granted voytship. The Goryński family subsequently transferred this endowment and other privileges to Wawrzyniec Gadomski, the first historical voyt of Chorzele, exercising power in the town together with lay judges. Starting from 1553, all documents issued by the town authorities were stamped. At the time, the town belonged to Queen Bona, the wife of King Sigismund the Old, who led to the establishment of a parish in 1551. Shortly thereafter, the first church was probably erected in the town .

Based on the survey of royal estates carried out in 1565, it is known that the town had 792 inhabitants living in 121 houses at the time. Moreover, there were two mills (including a private one), a bog iron forge and a dozen or so breweries. Many town inhabitants were craftsmen. In the first quarter of the 17th century, the town experienced a slow but steady growth, as indicated by the survey of 1617. In the second half of that century, however, Chorzele fell into decline as most of the towns and cities in the Republic of Poland, mainly in the wake of the wars in which the country took part




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