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Polska / mazowieckie

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Province:mazowieckie / warszawskie (before 1939)
County:ciechanowski / ciechanowski (before 1939)
Community:Ciechanów / Ciechanów (before 1939)
Other names:Цеханув [j. rosyjski]; צ'חאנוב [j. hebrajski]; טשעכאַנאָוו [j. jidysz]
52.8813° N / 20.6194° E
52°52'52" N / 20°37'10" E

Location /

Ciechanów - a city with county rights in central Poland, in Masovian Province. It lies by the Łydynia River, 102 km north of Warsaw.



Martyna Sypniewska

Jews arrived in Mazovia as early as the Middle Ages. The northern trade route ran through the region. Jewish merchants were attracted by commercial centres and customs houses in the towns and settlements situated along the Vistula River, one of them being Ciechanów. However, there is no information mentioning the century in which Jews settled in Ciechanów. The first reference of a Jewish population in the town is found in the list of Jewish communities issued in 1507, in connection with the coronation of Zygmunt I Stary. The first data on the number of Jews in Ciechanów goes back to 1567. Registers of a tax, in the amount of 1 zloty, levied upon on the Jewish population living in the Mazovian Province in 1549, confirm that in 1567 there were 11 taxpayers of Jewish faith living in Ciechanów.

During the reign of the Jagiellonians, when the royal authority was still relatively strong, Jews were quite successful in refuting the attacks of representatives of the Catholic Church, who tried to eliminate any contacts between Christians and Catholics, also in the field of economy. The situation of Jews worsened as a result of an economic crisis which occurred at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, inciting competition between Christian and Jewish merchants. New anti-Jewish privileges were then issued and Jews were banned from towns. The Swedish Deluge proved to be a particularly tragic period for Jews in Ciechanów, as well as in many other towns. The Jewish population was accused of cooperating with the invaders which resulted in pogroms committed by the troops of Stefan Czarniecki. In Ciechanów about 50 Jewish families fell victims of riots.

The first half of the 18th century proved to be a period of economic and financial stabilization for Jews in Ciechanów, thanks to a privilege issued by Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki in 1670. In the mid-18th century the Ciechanów Kahal was one of the biggest in northern Mazovia, and included the Jewish communities of Maków, Mława and Płońsk. However, in 1753, the Jews of Maków revolted and broke contacts with the community in Ciechanów. They also chose a new rabbi. The Ciechanów Kahal brought a complaint to the Committee of Rabbis appointed by Va'ad in Jarosław. It soon became clear that the Parliament had no right to decide on matters of this kind. In 1758 the Ciechanów Kahal lost its aut


Local history

The fortified town was first mentioned in 1605. From 1349 to 1526 it was the capital of the duchy. About 1400 Ciechanów was granted its town charter. About 1420 a castle was erected here. In 1526 Ciechanów was transferred to Poland.

In the 17th and 18th centuries the town was destroyed by the Swede, Russian and Saxon Armies many times. Since 1795 Ciechanów was under Russian rule, since 1807 it transferred to the Duchy of Warsaw, since 1815 it belonged to the Kingdom of Poland (Congress Poland). During World War I heavy fighting between the Russian and German armies took place near Ciechanów(November 1914-July 1915).

In the interwar period, in August 1920, there was a lot of heavy fighting between the Polish and Bolshevik Armies

During World War II, in September 1939, Ciechanów was occupied by the German Army. The name was changed into Zichenau. In January 1945 Ciechanów was liberated by the Soviet Army.


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