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Polska / łódzkie

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Province:łódzkie / warszawskie (before 1939)
County:kutnowski / kutnowski (before 1939)
Community:Kutno / Kutno (before 1939)
Other names:קוטנו [j. hebrajski]; Kutno [j. niemiecki]
52.2305° N / 19.3641° E
52°13'49" N / 19°21'50" E


Kutno – town in central Poland, capital of Kutnowski District, Łódzkie Province. It is located 72 km north of Łódź, 156 km west of Warsaw, by the Ochnia river (left tributary of the Bzura).



Sylwia Stasiak - Muzeum Regionalne w Kutnie

Sewer from Kutno | Unknown. Picture from the collection of the Regional Museum in Kutno.

The first reference to Kutno was in a market privilege granted by the Duke of Mazowsze, Siemowit IV, to the town owner, Andrzej from Radzików Kutno in 1386. Kutno was a private town and was not included in the de non tolerandis Judaeis law; Jewish settlement fell within the discretion and will of the owners. Although there is no record of the first Jewish settlement in the city, it was at some point between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

The first document that recorded the presence of Jews in Kutno was a letter from Sigismund the Old (1513), which includes within it a list of Jewish merchants – Salomon, Lewek and Moszek. The letter was a "letter of safe conduct," in which the king granted the Jewish merchants a year to repay their debt. The letter also mentioned a Jewish quarter – a settlement known as Żydowo, identifying it as being located in the eastern part of Józefów.

During the sixteenth century, Jews in Kutno were active in crafts and trade, a well-developed part of the town economy. However, it is not clear how active Jews were as a community. Only a few Jewish families lived in Kutno at the time and they had not created their own Jewish Community Council.

In 1538, at a sitting of the Sejm in Piotrków Trybunalski, the Polish nobility excluded Jews living in private towns and villages from the king’s jurisdiction. From that time on, Jews living in private estates were under local magnates’ jurisdiction. The legal and economic situation of the Jews living in the towns and villages owned by the nobility was regulated by the Act of 1539, according to which residents were not subordinate to the exclusive jurisdiction of the king, as they fell under the authority of the nobility, who was also entitled to interfere in the internal affairs of the Jewish communities in his estate. In practice, the relationship with state administration came down to paying the poll tax to the estate treasury.

Despite the above regulations, the life of Jewish settlers in the Mazowsze province was complicated. The townspeople of Mazowsze consistently tried to introduce the aforementioned law de non tolerandis Judaeis, which was often sanctioned by recognising it as a custom binding in this part of Poland. This had a major impact on the limiting of Jewish settlement from


Local history

The first records of the Kutno settlement appeared in 1301. In 1386 Kutno was granted municipal status. In 1753 a huge fire destroyed the city. In 1793 Kutno fell under Prussian rule, in 1807 it became part of the Duchy of Warsaw, and in 1815 of the Kingdom of Poland. During WWI, without any fighting, Kutno was seized by the Germans.

During WWII, in September of 1939, the biggest battle of the September campaign, later named the Battle of the Bzura, took place in the area of Kutno. As a result Kutno was seized by the German troops.





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