Polska / łódzkie
|בתי כנסת, בתי תפילה ועוד||בתי קברות||אתרי זכרון ליהודים שנרצחו||יודאיקה במוזיאונים||אחר|
|פרובינציה:||łódzkie / łódzkie (לפני 1939)|
|מחוז:||łaski / łaski (לפני 1939)|
|קהילה:||Łask / Łask (לפני 1939)|
Łask is a town situated in the Łódź Province, in the county of Łask, and it is the seat of the urban – rural municipality. It is located on the Łaska Height, on the Grabia River. From 1975 to 1998 Łask administratively belonged to the Sieradz Province.
The town of Łask is part of the Łódź agglomeration, 35 km far from Łódź. The following towns, situated near Łask, belong to the largest in the province: Pabianice, Wieluń, Bełchatów, Zduńska Wola and Sieradz.
Jewish people began to settle in Łask in the 16th century. A significant influx was observed in the 17th century, when the town belonged to Stanisław Wierzbowski. He granted some privileges to Jewish people, e.g. freedom of religious practices, trade and craft. The only limit concerned a ban to settle in the area of the market square and collegiate church.
In that period the Jewish district was formed in the western area of Łask, along Żeromskiego and Kilińskiego Streets. A synagogue was built in Żeromskiego Street, and a cemetery was located nearby. A Jewish inn was opened at the town outlet. The Jewish kehilla of Łask, as well as the Christian community, suffered from numerous disasters in the 17th century, among others two fires dated 1624 and 1688, and a plague killing 25% of the town population.
In the 18th century, the town became property of the Załuski family. They regulated Jewish legislature, which gave Jews the right to join unions, so many of them came to Łask. The kehilla at that time embraced also the following neighboring towns: Burzenin, Pabianice, Zelów, Widawa, Szadek and Zduńska Wola, which had the name Czekay then. Another fire, in 1747, burnt down the synagogue. Its building was rebuilt in 1752. At the end of the 18th century, Beniamin Hilel, an architect, built a new synagogue.
In 1764, 890 Jewish people lived in Łask, and there were several famous rabbis in that period: Izrael Ithamar, Meir Eliakim Goetz, Pinkas Zelig and Mosze Leib Zilberberg. In 1793, the Jewish population of Łask amounted to 1,327 people, which constituted 77% of the total number of citizens.
In the 19th century, in the era of industrial development, most workshops belonged to Jews. The branches that developed fast were tannery, textile and food industries. At that time, the Jewish community was mostly Chasidic, and they had an own house of prayer near the synagogue (a dairy was located there during the war, and after its demolition, the “LOK” [the League for Country Defense] building was constructed there).
At that time the town population grew considerably, in 1827, it amounted to 1,984 people, 1,270 of which were of Jewish origin. In 1897, the number of inhabitants was 4,210 people, with 2,862 Jews in it. 204 out of 363 building plots were owned by Jewish people. The best known rabbis were: Dawid Meisel (died
Alongside with town rights, Łask was granted the privilege to hold fairs on Saint Frances’ Day. In the 15th century the town developed economically and gained a new urban shape, whereas its inhabitants became more and more prosperous. In the same century a market square was established and surrounded with bourgeoisie houses. Moreover a town hall was built there. The 15th century witnessed the development of craft unions in Łask, mostly of shoemakers, potters, brewers, blacksmiths and other professions. The craft union played a significant role in the town’s life, craftsmen belonged to the urban patriciate, decided about electing town mayors, councilors and aldermen.
At the beginning of the 16th century, the town was granted the right to organize more annual fairs, which resulted in an influx of merchants and tradesmen, and provided the townsmen with additional incomes, necessary to rebuilt the town after the great fire of 1523. The Łaski family contributed the most to fast town development in the 16th century, as thanks to their acquaintances with famous politicians and scholars they made Łask world famous.
After the prosperous 16th century the situation of the town deteriorated. In 1624 another great fire broke out, destroying thoroughly almost 150 houses. The town suffered also from the Swedish Deluge. As a result of long wars and massive devastations, the inhabitants were no longer able to restore it. Moreover, the number of craftsmen was decreasing. Another fire, which broke out in 1474 and burnt down 258 houses, worsened the situation. At the end of the 18th century, Łask was the second largest town in the Sieradz Province, with the population of about 1,700 people (the largest town was Piotrków then).
In the 19th century a cholera epidemic afflicted the town, followed by a fire in 1848, which destroyed 160 houses. However, the town population began to increase: there were 1,600 inhabitants in 1810, and about 3,800 in 1860. After the fires, the market square was reconstructed, being given the current shape. It was also agreed that only brick buildings can be constructed in this part of the town. In 1811 there were only 4 of them, but their number grew up to 56 in 1827. Then, routes to Pabianice, Piotrków and Sieradz were marked out, changing thoroughly the road structure of Łask.
In 1867, as a result of part