Print | A A A | Report a bug | 45 271 717 chars | 84237 photos | 781 video | 116 audio | 1921 towns

Janów (woj. podlaskie)

Polska / podlaskie

Synagogues, prayer houses and others Cemeteries Sites of martyrdom Judaica in museums Andere


Province:podlaskie / białostockie (before 1939)
County:sokólski / sokólski (before 1939)
Community:Janów / Janów (before 1939)
Other names:Янув [j.rosyjski]
יאנוב סוקולסקי[j.hebrajski]
53.4678° N / 23.2327° E
53°28'04" N / 23°13'57" E


Natalia Michałek /

The municipality Janów is located on the peripheries of the Knyszyn Forest, in the north-eartern part of the Podlaskie voivodeship, in the district Sokółka. The village lies 40 kilometres away from the eastern border. Kumiałka, a tributary of the Biebrza river, flows through the municipality of Janów.



Natalia Michałek /

Jews started to settle down in Janów near Sokółka in the 17th century or at the beginning of the 18th century. In 1719, Konstanty Brzozowski, the Bishop of Vilnius, allowed for the local Jews to build a synagogue, which was eventually erected in 1740. In 1739, Jews bought most of the shops and market stalls located at the market square. At the end of the 18th century, the village had more Jewish than Polish inhabitants. In 1775, for example, Janów was inhabited by 214 Christians and 221 Jews. This ratio remained unchanged until the beginning of the 20th century, when many Jews migrated to the USA due to financial reasons.

The Jews of Janów owned several prayer houses and a cemetery established in the 19th century. They earned their living through trade and crafts. Jewish people sold wood and grain and ran a number of mills. In 1870, Israel Davidson, an eminent historian writing about Jews in the Middle Ages, was born in Janów. In 1897, there were 1,797 Jews living in the town (the total population was 2,296). WWI cause a major decrease in the number of residents. According to the 1921 Census, Janów had only 1,027 inhabitants.

After the outbreak of WWII, numerous Jews escaped to the town from the Nazi-controlled Central Poland. In June 1941, when the north-eastern parts of Poland, previously controlled by Soviets, came under the German rule, Janów became a labour camp. In August 1941, a ghetto was established in the town; all Jews who could not be placed there due to lack of space were sent to Suchowola. The ghetto was liquidated on 2 November 1942. Its inhabitants were transported to a transit camp in Kiełbasin (Rus. Kolbasino) near Grodno and later sent to Nazi death camps in Treblinka and Auschwitz.


  • Janow Sokolski, [in] The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, ed. S. Spector, G. Wigoder, vol. 1, New York 2001, p. 562.

  • T. Wiśniewski, Bóżnice Białostocczyzny. Heartland of the Jewish Life. Synagogues and Jewish Communities in Bialystok Region, Białystok 1992, pp. 156–158.



Local history

Natalia Michałek /

The village of Janów, which was a town in the past, has nowadays 832 inhabitants. The town got its name in the 18th century after the proprietor of the Sapiehas estate, Jan. Until the 13th century the area of Janów was inhabited by Yotvingians. Remains of their presence in the neighbourhood are numerous settlements and barrows (e.g. the barrow in Jasionowa Dolina dating back to the 5th century or the barrow in Teolin from the 4th century)

The village was probably set up in 1703 by the sword-bearer of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Kazimierz Sannicki. The settlement which was called Przybudek at the beginning was established at the area inhabited by the lumberjacks who had colonised the old Lithuanian forests. Janów got the town character in years 1709-1712. People who contributed to the development of Janów and to obtaining the city rights in the middle of 18th century were Jerzy Stanisław Sapieha and his wife, Teodora. Sapiehas determined where the market, the church and the synagogue for significant numer of Jewish inhabitants should be erected. Jerzy Sapieha founded the first wooden church of St. George in Janów. Nowadays the church is at the cemetery because it was moved in 1904 when a new brick neo-Gothic church was built.

The urban structure which is preserved till now was designed by the Vice-Chancellor of the Lithuania, Antoni Tyzenhaus. It was his merit that the town was developing dynamically. In the second halfth of the 18th century Janów was the capital of one of the six provinces in the region of Grodno. In 1791 the earlier city rights of Janów were confirmed. The town lost them after the decision of the Tsar administration at the turn of the 19th and 20th century.

In 1795 1013 people lived in Janów. There were 5 streets, 174 houses, 18 breweries, 15 distilleries and several looms in the town. At the end of the 19th century the population of the town numbered over 2.000 people, the halfth of it being Jewish.

Milling and founding industry were growing. After the Third Partition of Poland the town was shortly (till 1807) under the Prussian rule again. The arms of Janów dates back to these times.



Genealogical Indexes

Resources for Jewish Family History

People who like this city: