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Polska / mazowieckie

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Province:mazowieckie / warszawskie (before 1939)
County:ostrołęcki / ostrołęcki (before 1939)
Community:Ostrołęka / Ostrołęka (before 1939)
Other names:Остроленка [j.rosyjski]
53.0874° N / 21.5562° E
53°05'14" N / 21°33'22" E


Tomasz Kawski /

Ostrołęka - a city with county rights in central Poland, in Masovia Province. It lies 51 km south-east of Warsaw, by the Narew River.



yarek shalom

Pocztówka z Ostrołęki, ok. 1936 r. | nieznany

Jews began to settle down in Ostrołęka only in the last decade of the 18th century. In 1794 grounds were assigned for a Jewish cemetery. A synagogue was also built. One of the first rabbis was called Isaac. In 1812 Ostrołęka was inhabited by 14 Jewish families (4 stall keepers, 3 bar-keepers, 3 butchers, a watchmaker, a hatter, a circumciser and a teacher). They were living near the market square. In 1824 their number increased to 73. They occupied 6 houses, 3 of which were located by the market square and the rest in the streets leading to it. The other Jews rented their houses in different parts of the town. In 1826 limits of Jewish quarters were established, and they consisted of Koński Targ and the following streets: Cygańska, Magazynowa, Różańska, Solna, Piaski, Folwarczna and Tylna. Two families were allowed to stay elsewhere on condition they build a brick house. Jewish settlement was promoted by the location of a handicraft village on the outskirts of town. Jews began to set up first bigger workshops and enterprises dealing with amber treatment, milling and spinning. The Bondi family, descending from Austria, were pioneers of the last. Its members established a cotton mill in 1829. In 1832 the factory was enlarged, providing employment for 20 people. Its products won prizes at exhibitions in 1839 and 1842. A considerable group of Jews found jobs regarded as agriculturally related, among others wood distillery, birch tar manufacture, amber treatment. Others were preoccupied with traditional crafts (glazing, butchery, shoe-making, tailoring etc.), bar-keeping, city tax rental and trade.

During the anti-Russian uprising 1830-1831 Ostrołęka was partly destroyed. Among others, the synagogue burned down. Prayers were said in a wooden house in Różańska Street whose condition and locality were far from perfect. In 1832 Mordka Fishel Yakovitsch Shapiro aspired to the dignity of the rabbi. In the forties of the 19th century, the rabbi or, what is more likely, assistant rabbi in Ostrołęka, was a man called Itzhak. At the same period it was undertaken to build a synagogue. Efforts to gain the support of the government for the investment in 1841, 1842 and 1848 were futile. The construction began thanks to an interest-free loan (1500 roubles)of Haim Tykociner and it was completed in 1856.

In 1862 the Jewish district was formally abolished. At t


Local history

Tomasz Kawski

The earliest evidence of the settlement is linked to grad or grod (Slavic term for fenced and fortified area), which later came to be known as the Old Town. It was located opposite the estuary of the River Omulwia to the River Narew. A trade settlement was founded at the cross-point of waterways and trade route from Mazovia to Prussia. In 1373 the town status was awarded according to the stipulations of Chełmno Law. The privileges granted in the 15th century namely in the years of 1427, 1436, 1437 respectively provided the town and its population with favourable conditions for growth and development. The annexation of Mazovia Province to the Kingdom of Poland in 1526 greatly expanded these opportunities. Local agricultural and forestry produce was transported on the Rivers Narew and Wisła to Gdańsk, where it was then exported to Western Europe. Beer brewing played a key role in local commerce. In 1564 there were 335 households and approximately 2000 dwellers in Ostrołęka. Trades taken up by the residents constituted inter alia shoemaking, fishery, brewery, butchery and milling.
Due to the efforts of the town authorities a bridge was constructed on the River Narew. In 1563 much of the town was destroyed in fire blaze. In 1577 Cheap Loan Foundation in Ostrołęka was established, which granted low interest loans to artisans. In 1597 King Zygmunt III granted the residents a privilege to serve at the royal court and a right to hunt in nearby forests. Despite its privileges the town gradually fell into decline. In 1616 there were 203 households. Further development was hindered by Swedish Wars in the mid-17th century.
The extent of the damage inflicted underlined the fact that in 1660 out of 60 municipality farm lands available for farming only 6 were being permanently cultivated. The beginning of the 17th century brought about further damage. The city was captured by the Swedish and Russian military units several times. However, the second half of the 18th century saw gradual economic recovery. The merchants established new trade routes with Gdańsk, Królewiec and Warsaw.
In 1792 there were 300 properties in Ostrołęka and its suburbs. Ostrołęka was notably noted in the history of Poland during The Bar Confederation as well as Kościuszko and November Uprisings. During the latter one, on 26 May 1831 the Russians finally defeated Polish forces


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