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Polska / mazowieckie

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Province:mazowieckie / warszawskie (before 1939)
County:płoński / sierpecki (before 1939)
Community:Raciąż / Raciąż (before 1939)
Other names:Рачёнж [j. rosyjski]
52.7812° N / 20.1170° E
52°46'52" N / 20°07'01" E


Izrael badacz

Raciąż is a town in Płońsk County, Masovian Voivodeship. It is situated on Raciąż Plain on the Raciążnica River (right-bank tributary of the Wkra River). It has 4684 inhabitants (2008).



Tomasz Kawski /

Żydzi z Raciąża | Nieznany

Beginning in 1618, the privilege de non tolerandis de Judaeis was in force in Raciąż. It forbade Jews to settle in the town. Jews first began to settle in Raciąż most likely in the 1640s. However, the actual development of Jewish settlement came with the partition of Poland at the end of the 18th century.

No Jewish presence was recorded in the town in 1790. There were 15 Jewish residents in 1800. According to a regulation issued by the Prussian authorities, Jewish life was to concentrate in the vicinity of Kinicka Street (presently Kiliński Street). The Jewish community in Raciąż probably began to truly develop a lasting presence in the town in the 1820s. The local Jewish community was, from the beginning, subordinate to the community in Radzanowo.

In the decades that followed, both the number and percentage of Jews in Raciąż increased. In 1827 there were 216 Jews  and in 1879 there were 2,179 (50% of the town’s total population). In 1827, the Commission of Płock Province stated that there were not enough people in Raciaża to establish an autonomous community. The Raciąż Jews renewed their efforts to establish their own independent community in the inter-uprising period (1831-1863) following an increase in its population. On 24 December 1843 the Government Commission of Internal Affairs and Clergy, taking into account the fact that the local Jews had their own synagogue (one of the biggest in Mława County, it could accomodate nearly a thousand people), cemetery (the area of around 270 square metres was leased by Jews from town authorities in 1821), baths, lower rabbi, hazzan, and shkolniks, approved the establishment of the autonomous community in Raciąż.

In the mid-19th century, the Jewish community numbered around 1,154 inhabitants, of whom 989 attended a synagogue; Hassidim from Góra Kalwaria and Otwock prayed in their sztiblech. The function of rabbi was performed by Hersz Szymkiewicz.

On 8 February 1825, a Jewish quarter was marked out in the north-east part of the town (Kiniker and neighboring streets). Many Jews appealed the orders obliging them to move to the district. The final date for moving was set for 1st April 1834. The district was formally abolished in 1862.  In 1821, a cemetery was established, and a synagogue was constructed in 1888 financed by social contribu


Local history

Tomasz Kawski /

Raciąż is one of the oldest settlements in the northern Mazovia. The first mention of Raciaz is the so-called Mogilno forgery dating back to 1065, although the date of the creation of the document is disputed. .

During the early medieval centuries (from the 13th c.) a burg (fortified town), home to a castellany (type of medieval district), existed within the territory of today’s Raciąż. From the 15th century Raciąż was the county’s capital and the headquarters of the court. A market settlement, existing in the burg, was granted Chełm civic rights by Duke Ziemowit the IV on December 15th, 1425.

Raciąż was originally the property of the Masovia dukes. It became a royal town in 1495, upon the annexing of the Duchy of Płock to the Kingdom of Poland. In 1512 it replaced Kock as the capital of the Płock bishops’ estates . Regional assemblies were held in the town from the 16th century. Masovian nobility usually gathered in the church of St. Wojciech . From the end of the 16th century Raciąż began to lose its significance. The wars of the 17th century intensified difficulties, the population drastically decreased and the town gradually declined. In 1725 the Church of St Wojciech burnt down. During the partitions Raciaż lost the status of the county capita; . In 1869 Raciaż lost its municipal rights, which it regained only in 1922. The creation of a railway connection between Raciaż and Płońsk and Sierpc in 1924 revived the local economy.

During World War II the city was incorporated into Germany under the name Ratcenz. Germans began to settle in Raciąż - colonists who immediately began to occupy important position and take over Jewish firms. The butchery was replaced by a  meat processing plant, and the school by a field bakery. All products were sent to the troops on the front .

A ghetto and labor camp were opened in Raciąż. Both Poles and Jews worked in the camp in the years1940-1942 . Two deportation actions took place in Raciąż. In October 1939, the majority of Jews were deported to Warsaw and Plock; in 1941, the few remaining Jews were depo




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