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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 are connected with a stronghold existing there since the 11th century. At the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries, a trade settlement developed there, in the town’s suburbium. Płońsk was first mentioned in historical documents in 1155. In the period from 1422 to 1426 Prince Siemowit IV granted town rights to Płońsk under the Kulm (Chełmno) Law.

In the 14th and 15th centuries the County of Płońsk was owned by the Mazovian duchesses. Duchess Katarzyna founded the monastery of the Carmelites and confirmed the location privilege; moreover she equaled the rights of Płońsk to those of Raciąż and Mława. After incorporating the region of Mazovia to the Kingdom of Poland, Płońsk was raised to the rank of a royal town – a county town where land courts were held.

The following kings granted new privileges to the town: Sigismund I (1527), Stephen Bathory (1576), John III Sobieski (1677), August II (1720), August III (1749) and Stanisław August Poniatowski (1767). Płońsk was severely destroyed during the Swedish Deluge in the period from 1655 to 1660. Only 21 out of 130 town real estates were preserved. The amount of land cultivated by the townspeople decreased from 23 wlokas (old-Polish unit of area) to 1.25 wloka. One mill functioned there. Four out of 22 town craftsmen continued their professional activity. One more century of political chaos in Poland was an obstacle for the town’s development.

In 1765 Płońsk was still ruined. There were only 27 houses there, while 42 lots remained empty. At the end of the 18th century tannery began to develop in town. In the next century several small enterprises were established in Płońsk, mainly: a brickyard, a brewery, a vinegar factory, a mead factory and an oil plant. Shoemaking, cooperage and pottery developed. In 1924 the first railway line was established. During World War II mass executions of local people were carried out in Plonsk.

After the war, local industry grew, in particular food industry and agricultural services. At present, Płońsk is a local administrative, production, commercial and cultural center of its region.

Geography and administration:

Until the 18th century –Kingdom of Poland, Płock Province, Płońsk County

1793 – 1807 – Prussia

1807 – 1815 – the Duchy of Warsaw, Department of Płock, Pułtus


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