Polska / mazowieckie
|Synagogues, prayer houses and others||Cemeteries||Sites of martyrdom||Judaica in museums||Andere|
|Province:||mazowieckie / warszawskie (before 1939)|
|County:||grójecki / grójecki (before 1939)|
|Community:||Warka / Warka (before 1939)|
|Other names:||וורקא [j. hebrajski]; ווארקע [j. jidysz]; Варка [j. hebrajski]|
The town is located in Mazowieckie Province, on the edge of the Warsaw Flatlands and the Kozienice Flatlands, on the Pilica River. It has 11.300 inhabitants (2007).
Distances: Radom – 44 km, Czersk – 21 km, Warsaw – 58 km, Kielce – 122 km, Łódź – 129 km, Lublin – 122 km.
Tomasz Kawski /
The oldest mention on local Jews in Warka dates back to 1581, but a proper settlement only began in the mid-18th century. That is when the first elements of the community infrastructure were established: a cemetery and a wooden synagogue.
The main impulse for the growth of a local Jewish community was that Warka became the seat of a tzaddik dynasty in 1829. In that year, Izrael Icchak Kalisz (1779-1848) settled in the town. Influenced by David Biedermann, a tzaddik from Lelów, he became an adherent of Hassidism and a disciple of Jaakow ha-Levi Horowitz from Lublin and later of Simcha Bunem from Przysucha. After the death of the latter in 1829, he went to live in Przysucha and became a leader for some of the local Hassids. Later, he moved to Warka. Izrael Icchak Kalisz’s teachings were published in the books Ohel Icchak and Huccak Chen. His disciples, who later became tzaddiks, were: Jaakow Arie Gutermann from Radzymin, Jechiel Danziger from Aleksandrów and Dow Ber from Biała Rawska.
Jaakow David, his oldest son, started a dynasty in Mszczonów. Mordechaj Menachem Mendel Kalisz from Warka, his younger son, resigned as his successor in favour of Szraga Fajgel from Grójec. A few months later Szraga Fajgel died and Mordechaj Menachem Mendel Kalisz was forced to take the post and run the Hassidic manor in Warka. He was famous for being continuously silent, which he believed was his personal way of praying, and which earned him the nickname ‘the Silent Tzaddik’. After his death in 1868 his son Symcha Bunem took the post, soon to relocate the manor to Otwock. Following Symcha Bunem departure to Palestine in 1905, Menachem Mendel of Maszewice (died in 1919) became the Tsaddik; however, he was acting as a Tsaddik only for Otwock and Warsaw. In 1897, 2,548 Jews resided in the town.
In the 19th century proponents of assimilation from nearby Warsaw began arriving in Warka. Their influence in the late 19th century and early 20th century was marginal. It was not until Zionists arrived in town that the Hassidic primacy was finally being threatened. The followers of Zionism became particularly active in the interwar period, when they opened a Hebrew library, drama club and a local division of the Hashomer Hatsair youth organization. The Zionists were oppon