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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.



Martyna Rusiniak-Karwat /

Pocztówka z Ostrołęki, 1926 r. | nieznany

Jews only began to settle in Ostrołęka in the last decade of the 18th century, with an area for a Jewish cemetery being designated in 1794. A synagogue was also built around the same time. One of the first rabbis was named Izaak.

In 1812, Ostroleka’s Jewish population comprised 14 families with the following craftsmen: 4 shopkeepers, 3 innkeepers 3 butchers, a watchmaker, a hatter, a circumciser and a teacher. All lived in the vicinity of the market square. In 1824, their number grew to 73. They lived in six houses of which three were by the market square, and the remaining were on a street leading to it. The remaining Jews rented houses in different parts of the town.

In 1826, the boundaries of the Jewish quarter were set and encompassed the Horse Market and the streets: Cygańska, Magazynowa, Różańska, Solna, Piaski, Folwarczna and Tylna. Two families were allowed to live outside the area provided they built a brick house.

The development of the Jewish settlement was propelled by the craft village located at the outskirts of the town. Jews began to set up larger craft workshops for processing amber, milling and spinning. Pioneers of the latter were the Bondi family of Austrian origin, which established a cotton mill in 1829. In 1832, it was expanded and, providing employment for 20 people. The company's products received awards at exhibitions in 1839 and 1842. A sizable group of Jews found employment in jobs that were treated as farming, including tar production, and amber processing amber. Others were involved in traditional crafts (glaziery, butchery, shoemaking, tailoring, etc), inn-keeping, leasing of local taxes and trade.

During the 1830-31 uprising, Ostrołęka was partly destroyed and the synagogue was burned. Services were then conducted in a wooden house on Rożańska street, the condition and location of which left much to be desired. In 1832, Mordka Fiszel Shapira made efforts to take over the position of rabbi.

In the later 1840s, the rabbi or, more likely, the assistant rabbi in Ostrołęka was someone named Izaak. In the same period, efforts were undertaken to build a synagogue. Attempts to get the government to support the building made in 1841-1842 and in 1848 failed. The construction started only thanks to an interest-free loan for 1500 rubles given by Chaim Tykociner. The work was comp


Local history

Tomasz Kawski /

The first evidence of the presence of settlers in Ostrołęka is associated with a fortified settlement, which later came to be called Stare Miasto (Old Town). It was situated across the small River Omulwia, an estuary of the River Narwia, on the trade route from Masovia to Prussia. Then, the small fortified settlement developed into a trade settlement, and it is certain that in 1373 it already had town privileges under the Chełmno law, which is confirmed by the privilege granted by Siemowit III, Duke of Masovia.

The privileges that followed in 1427, 1436 and 1437, provided convenient conditions for the town to grow, and they were extended after Masovia was incorporated into the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland in 1526. The Ostrołęka Crown Land (Polish: Starostwo ostrołęckie) became the property of Queen Bona. The basic source of wealth for the town were farm and forest (from Kurpiowska Forests) products floated up the Rivers Narwia and Wisła to Gdańsk from where they were exported to Western Europe. Beer played the most important role in the local trade. In the 16th century, among the professions that the townspeople were involved in included mainly shoemaking, fishery, beer making, butchery and milling industry.

The wars (especially the Swedish Deluge) and the epidemics that took place in the 17th century led to the collapse of the town, which was confounded by the damage caused by the Northern War (1702–1709) and the occupation of the Swedish and Russian armies. It was not until the second half of the 18th century that the town saw noticeable economic recovery, and the traders renewed their business contacts with Gdańsk, Królewiec and Warsaw.

A Cavalry Brigade commanded by General Antoni Madaliński was stationed in Ostrołęka in the months that preceded the outbreak of the Kościuszko Uprising. In March 1794, he refused to carry out a demobilisation order and set off towards Kraków, which was the beginning of the insurrection.

As a result of the third partition of Poland the town became part of the Prussia partition, in Płock Department of New East Prussia. From 1807 on, it was in the Duchy of Warsaw, and from 1815 on, in the Kingdom of Poland (Russian partition, Płock Province). On 26 May 1831 the Russians defeated the Polish army in the battle of Ostrołęka, which started the collapse of the Novem


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