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Polska / mazowieckie

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Province:mazowieckie / warszawskie (before 1939)
County:żyrardowski / błoński (before 1939)
Community:Żyrardów / Żyrardów (before 1939)
Other names:זשירארדאוו [j. jidysz]; Жирардув [j. rosyjski]
52.0486° N / 20.4459° E
52°02'54" N / 20°26'45" E


Tomasz Kawski

Town in Mazowsze Province on the Łowicko-Błońska Plain on the Pisia Gągolina River. It has 41.110 inhabitants (2008).

Distances:  Mszczonów 10 km, Wiskitki 4 km, Łódź 82 km, Warsaw 48 km.



Tomasz Kawski

Tłum Żydów pod ślusarnią Skalskiego na końcu ul. H. Sienkiewicza obok małego boiska Liceum – blisko likwidowanego getta | Nieznany

The first Jews settled in Żyrardów in 1840, but their greatest influx came in the 1870s.  The newcomers stemmed mostly from nearby towns, Mszczonów, Wiskitki and Grodzisk. 

The increase in settlement was closely connected to the industrialization and urbanization of Żyrardów.  A Jewish section arose gradually in the Ruda area neighboring Żyrardów.  It was made up of about 200 houses at Fabryczna, Bagno, Kolejowa and Przejazd Streets, at the intersections of Wąska, Targowa and Szeroka Streets and Dittricha and Hiellego Avenues.  Beginning in the middle of the 19th century, a Jewish community infrastructure began. 

A Jewish cemetery was founded in 1850.  A small rented house served as the house of prayer.  In the 1870s it was in a state of ruin.  In 1874 Count Sobański donated a plot of land worth about 1,100 rubles at Szulmana Street to the local Jews to allow them to build a synagogue.  Construction started shortly on a sizeable brick building.  Hielle and Dittrich, owners of the Żyrardów factory also contributed 500 rubles to its construction, as well as 10 rubles for the repair and renovation of the old house of prayer.  The social-occupational structure was typical of a small-town Jewish community.  Merchants and artisans, who fulfilled the needs of the workers’ community, dominated.  Relatively few Jews had other occupations.  Standing out among the latter were the industrialists Dawid and Mejer Pines and Hersz Wein, who owned a distillery.  They later sold it to Dauman.  This factory continues to exist as a part of the Polmos concern.  The brothers Jan, Ludwik and Wilhelm Schmidt founded three tanneries in the village of Teklinów near Żyrardów.  The brothers Max and Herman Oxner were the proprietors of a weaving mill and a large bookshop in Żyrardów.  The Zyskind family owned extensive forests near the settlement and several lumber mills and carpentry workshops.  World War II put an end to the existence of the Jewish settlement in Żyrardów. 

On October 1, 1940, a ghetto was created between Fabryczna (today Okrzei), Familijna (today Mireckiego) and 1 Maja Streets.  About 1,000 people from neighboring towns, mostly Sochaczew (ca. 900), Aleksandrów Łódzki and Mszczonów were forced to settle in the ghetto alongsi


Local history

Tomasz Kawski

Żyrardów’s beginnings were linked to the construction of a factory settlement in 1830 on the Guzów estate.  A thick forest covered the land as late as the 17th century.  In the 16th century, there was mining of iron ore.  Because the area had easy access to water, in 1829 a spinning mill owned by Filip de Girard was transferred from Marymont in Warsaw to Ruda Guzowska.  Soon, a settlement sprang up around the growing linen mill, and it was named Żyrardów. 

A railway line reached it in 1848. The mill was among the largest and most modern mills in Europe. In the second half of the 19th century the mill and factory settlement grew, and in 1857 the German industrialists Karol August Dittrich and Karol Hielle acquired the enterprise. An industrial and residential-social complex for the workers, which covered an area of 70 ha, aimed to fulfill architects’ visions of the ideal city.  With industrialization and urbanization, the town became increasingly multi-ethnic and multi-religious.  Scots, Frenchmen, Englishmen and Irishmen appeared next to Poles, Germans, Russians, Jews and Czechs.  Catholics lived next door to Protestants, Orthodox Christians next to Jews.  With the growth of industry, social and economic conflicts arose. 

The date of April 23, 1883 appeared on the calendar of the Polish workers’ movement as the date of the first mass strike on Polish lands.  Leftist political parties, with their socially and politically radical slogans, grew in popularity among the workers of Żyrardów beginning in the late 19th century.  For this reason, the town gradually acquired the name “red.”  World War I deeply affected the life of the town.  In 1915 retreating Russians transported the majority of factory machinery and stores of raw materials deep into Russia.  Production was halted.  Some of the shop floors were blown up. 

In 1916 the German authorities gave the settlement town rights.  In 1919-1923 the state took over the factory.  The profits gained from the significant rise in production in this period were largely lost after the factory’s acquisition by the French Marcel Boussac consortium in 1923-1936.  In subsequent years, the factory was again nationalized. 

Following World War II, li





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