The beginnings of Jewish settlement in Waręż can be traced back to the 16th century. At the end of the 18th century, Jews already formed an organised community. In this period, Waręż became one of the centres of Belz Hasidism. The movement was a dominant ideology among the local Jews; it strongly opposed the influence of Zionists, who did not come to the town until the interwar period.
During the period of Partitions, Waręż came under the Austrian rule. In 1880, the town had 911 Jewish inhabitants, who constituted ca. 68% of the population (1,336 people in total). Over the following years, the number of Jews living in the town grew proportionally to the development of Waręż and reached its peak at 1,486 (invariably constituting ca. 65% of the population). Soon, however, people started to emigrate and move to bigger towns. Right before WWI, Orłowicz estimated the population of the town at 1,500 people, including 1,000 Jews. Using vaguely anti-Semitic wording, he wrote that in Waręż there was “the palace of the Łomnicki Counts in the market square, surrounded by dirty Jewish houses”[1.1].
The population shrank significantly after WWII – 520 Jews lived in the town in 1921, constituting 54% of all the town’s inhabitants. Under the Second Republic of Poland, Waręż lost its former significance. Only the seat of a municipality in Sokalski County and the property of the Hulimek family were located there. Jews worked in trade (textiles, varied goods, leather, tobacco, grain, iron) and crafts (tinsmithing, tailoring, carpentry). There were six innkeepers in the town, e.g. Erdman, Grüner, Reiman i Unger. O. Steinberg owned a groats production plant, while Schifschüler and Süsser ran an oil mill. L. Schichter had a wool combing plant. There were also several slaughterhouses[1.2].
After the outbreak of WWII, most local Jews fled to the Soviet territory. The town itself was located in the German occupation zone. In the years 1941–1942, a German labour camp was open in Waręż; several hundred Jews were murdered there. In 1942, all Jewish people still living in the town were killed in the German extermination camp in Bełżec.
- Rąkowski G., Ziemia Lwowska, Pruszków 2007.
- Warenz, [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, vol. 3, eds. S. Spector, G. Wigoder, New York 2001, p. 1424.
- Waręż, [in:] Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich, vol. 12, eds. F. Sulimierski, W. Walewski, B. Chlebowski, Warsaw 1892, p. 950.
- Warjaż, [in:] Hołokost na territorii SSSR, ed. I. A. Altman, Moscow 2009, p. 132.