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Polska / mazowieckie

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Province:mazowieckie / warszawskie (before 1939)
County:płoński / płoński (before 1939)
Community:Płońsk / Płońsk (before 1939)
Other names:פלונסק [j. hebrajski]; Плоньск [j. rosyjski]
52.6230° N / 20.3754° E
52°37'22" N / 20°22'31" E

Location /

Płońsk - a city with county rights in central Poland, in Mazowieckie Province. It lies 67 km northwest of Warsaw, by the Płonka River.



Tomasz Kawski

The first remark on Jews living in Płońsk dates back to 1448. In 1507, the Jewish inhabitants paid 5 zlotys of coronation tax. In 1578 the local Jewish kahal had 24 taxpayers.

In the 17th century the first and a  were raised in town. However, the Jewish community in Płońsk was subordinated to the kahal in Ciechanów until the middle of the 18th century.

The principles of Jewish-Polish coexistence were formally regulated in 1768 by a special agreement. From 1768 to 1777 the town council allowed Jewish people to trade, produce mead and sell spirits. In 1765 the Jewish community owned 20 houses.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Shlomo Zalman Posner established in and around Płońsk a unique program of Jewish agricultural settlement. In 1831, 298 out of 502, who lived in the village Kuchary, worked in cotton mill owned by Posner; however, the project collapsed and the former workers returned to the town.

In 1816 the first plan to establish a Jewish district for 172 families was issued. However, there was a fire in the town in 1926, as a result of which many buildings burnt down and a number of Jewish families were left homeless. Establishing one Jewish district was then considered purposeless from the practical point of view. The inhabitants of Płońsk were mostly Jews, who owned squares and houses around the whole town. Jews were only recommended not to build nor buy houses neighboring to the Polish ones. In 1827, the town authorities built 50 barracks for the families, who lost their shelters due to the fire. 50 families settled in there. Until 1844 only some of them managed to move to new houses. The remaining ones were still crowding in the barracks, notwithstanding pressures of the town authorities.

The main source of income for Jews in Płońsk was still trade. In 1844 Hersz Senior, Josef Fenkiel, Mosiek Bornsztejn and Abe Cemach were the ones who traded on a large scale. The first one traded in kosher meat and foreign alcohol; the remaining three traded in Polish goods sold in ells. Twelve stall owners were in charge of small trade. Owners of taverns and tenants of various town fees also belonged to the wealthy town Jewry.

In 1819, 28 out of 32 taverns in Płońsk belonged to Jews. One of the wealthiest Jews was Gotfryd Bittner, who owned two taverns. The local financial elite included als


Local history

Tomasz Kawski /

The beginnings of Płońsk reach to a stronghold standing there since the 10th century. At the turn of 12th century, a trade settlement developed behind the stronghold’s walls. It may have been a place of greater importance than it was previously thought, as indicated by elements of a construction using notch technique for connecting logs, typical for the time of early Piasts, which discovered in 2007. Płońsk might have been a part of the “triangle” of Piast grads, which was a starting point for their expansion to Mazowsze. The abovementioned archeological discoveries were dated using dendrochronological method to year 978/979. In addition, similar elements of even older settlement complex were found nearby: a pier, dendrochronologically dated to 862 and an oak well from 953.

First written mention of Płońsk comes from 1155, from a document issued by Duke Bolesław IV Kędzierzawy. Since the 1350s and until the end of the 15th century, Płońsk and its grounds belonged to various Mazovian duchies (mainly Duchy of Płock), with an exception of a short period at the end of 14th century when it was given as a guarantee to the Teutonic Order. Around year 1400, Duke Siemowit IV granted town rights to Płońsk under the Chełmno Law.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Płońsk estate was owned by the Mazovian duchesses. Duchess Katarzyna founded the monastery of the Carmelites and confirmed the town’s location privilege; moreover she equaled the rights of Płońsk to those of Raciąż and Mława. After the incorporation of  the region to the Kingdom of Poland in 1495, Płońsk was raised to the rank of a royal town (in Płockie Province) – a county town where land courts were held. New privileges were granted to the town by the following kings: Zygmunt I Stary(1527), Stefan Batory (1576), Jan III Sobieski (1677), August II (1720), August III (1749) and Stanisław August Poniatowski (1767).

Płońsk was severely damaged during the Swedish Invasion in the period from 1655 to 1660. Only 21 out of 130 town real estates survived. The amount of land cultivated by the townspeople decreased from 23 wlokas (old-Polish unit of area) to 1.25. Only one mill functioned and just four out of 22 town craftsmen continued their professional activity. A century of political chaos in Poland was another obstacle for the town’s development. In 1765, Płońsk was sti





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