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Translation of Rymanow chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Polin
Translation of Rymanow chapter from
Published by Yad Vashem
Published in Jerusalem
Published in Jerusalem
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Our sincere appreciation to Yad Vashem for permission
This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland,
Volume III, pages 356-358, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
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(district of Rymanow, Lemberg region)
(East of Krakow, south of Rzeszow and south east of Krosno)
|Jewish population||General Population||Year|
Rymanow was established in 1376 by a feudal family in the area. The principal mainstay of the settlement was provided by agriculture and the trade of wines from Hungary. Towards the end of the 19th century, mineral water sources were discovered and the place became a health spa. Many bathhouses were established as well as lodging facilities for the visitors to the spa. Documents from the second half of the 16th century indicate that Jews were already there and Rymanow seemed to be clear of anti-Jewish restrictions. In 1570, a Jew named Abraham received permission to open a blacksmith workshop. In 1567, Rymanow has already 7 Jewish families Several years later, in 1577, another Jewish family joined the community and in 1591, the Jewish community of Rymanow consisted of 20 families.
The Jews were also involved in the commerce of wines that were imported from Hungary. The trade of wines was actually forbidden to Jews because of the religious restrictions regarding the kashrut laws affecting wines, namely wine that is touched by a gentile or non-observing Jews is not kosher for blessings. The Rabbi of Krakow in those days, Rabbi Meir, the son of reb Gedalia known as the Meharam of Lublin demanded that the Jews of Rymanow desist from dealing in wines. The local Jews refused to abide by the ruling stating that the community can not abide by this ruling. Eventually, the rabbis permitted the Jews to deal in wines.
Many Jewish traders visited the fairs of nearby Krosno although only Jews that lived in Krosno were permitted to trade at the fairs. Non-Krosno Jewish merchants faced the possibility of forfeiting their merchandise if caught trading at the fair. The personal security of the merchants themselves was risky to say the least. Nevertheless, Jewish traders managed to overcome with great difficulties the various obstacles placed on their way to trade. We must also add that the local non-Jewish population did not fully endorse the various anti-Jewish trading bans thus enabling people to get around the restrictions.
At the beginning of the 17th century, the Jews of Rymanow were ordered to appear in court to face the charge of desecrating the Christian holidays. The charge was posted by the bishop of Przemysl who claimed that the Jews traded on Christian Holy days.. The Jews were found guilty and punished. With the annexation of the area to the Austrian Empire, all the fiscal laws were immediately applied to the Jewish merchants that caused great financial difficulties. The Jewish community also had to provide financial maintenance for Jewish families that were send to work the land. Rynanow had 13 families that were relocated in accordance with the edict to force the Jews to become productive.
At the beginning of the 19th century, most of the Jews of Rymanow were involved in leasing , commerce, and various trades. With the discovery of the water spa sources, the health spa business flourished and increased the economic strength of the city. Jews owned the inns, the restaurants and the health baths that provided the accommodations for the visitors. Jews also provided transportation to the visitors from and to the city. The number of visitors somewhat declined during the period between the world wars. Still, the visitors kept the local commerce active. Jews also peddled merchandise throughout the area and they also provided in their workshops various needed necessities.
The development of Rymanow was also accelerated due to the fact that it became a Hassidic center when Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Rymanow decided to reside permanently in this hamlet towards the end of the 18th century.. He established a Hassidic dynasty that will spread the name of the community far and wide. Many Hassidim now journeyed to the rabbi and provided the local Jewish community with income for they needed lodgings and food. The Rabbi's court yard provided employment for many waiters, servants, guides, messenger bearers, maintenance people and sextons.
The Jews of Rymanow suffered greatly from the typhoid epidemic that swept through the area in 1893 and from the fire of 1904 that destroyed 100 homes, the synagogue and the home of the rabbi.. The Jews managed to restore the synagogue prior to World War I but it was eventually totally destroyed during the shoa. During the Russian occupation of Rymanow (1914-1915) many Jewish homes were destroyed and many Jews left town never to return. With the end of World War I in Novemeber of 1918, a pogrom against the Jews started. The American Joint organization and former residents of Rymanow in the USA helped the Jews to recover somewhat from the war ravages. Between the great wars, the Jews dealt primarily in commerce. In 1920, the small Jewish stores started to reopen their businesses and the peddlers started to sell their merchandise across the country side. The Joint extended financial help and assisted in the creation of a mutual help fund in 1929. The fund granted 70 loans totaling 4,970 zlotys at the height of its activity. There was also a social service organization, Tomchei Aniyim or charity assistance that provided social help.
Already in 1593 there was an organized Jewish community in Rymanow that had a synagogue and a cemetery that served many communities in the area. Rymanow was one of the 17 Jewish communities in the district of Shidlow. The community was under the spiritual guidance of the Rabbi Menachem Mendel who was formerly head of the Judicial council of Krakow, later rabbi of Frysztak and then settled permanently in Rymanow in 1795. He was a student of the famous Rabbi Elimelech of Lejansk. Rabbi Mendel was a famous Hassidic Rabbi of his time and his books Menachem Tzion, Divrei Tzion- or words of Menachem, and Torah Menachem made him very popular and well known. His seat as Rabbi was assigned to his student Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh of Rymanow in 1827. He was better known as Reb Hirsh Mesharet or Reb Hirsh the servant. His son ascended the position and was known as Rabbi Yossef Hacohen. The latter did not occupy the seat too long, and the son-in-law, Rabbi Asher Yishayahu Horowitz filled the post for a short period of time. He was the youngest son of the Rabbi of Dzikow. In 1905, he moved to Krakow and established a congregation of Hassidim of Rymanow. He was much imbued with the Hassidic ways and exercised a certain influence on the Hassidim. He was a supporter of the Hibat Tzion movement in Galicia and helped establish a settlement of Galician Jews in Palestine. He was elected as President of the council of the Zionist Hibat Tzion movement in Tarnow in 1897. His seat as Rabbi of Rymanow was given to his son, Rabbi Tzvi who perished in the shoa.
The head of the Jewish community of Rymanow was Shlomo Zalenfreint. He headed the community for 40 years, well into the 19th century. He was also the head of the Zionist movement and participated in the first Zionist Congress. The Zionist clubs started their activities in Rymanow towards the end of the 19thcentury while the organized political Zionist parties started their activities during the first years of the 20th century. The first Zionist branch was opened in 1904 and was called Ahava- or love. The office ceased its activities during World War I but resumed the activities following the war in the twenties.
We witnessed the creation of the General Zionist branch, the Mizrahi branch, the ' Revisionist branch,. The youth movement Shomer Hatzair opened a youth branch that will be very active until the outbreak of WWII. In 1924, a branch of Ezra was opened as well as a branch of Halutz Hatzair. In 1929, a branch of Noar Hatzioni was opened to be followed by a branch of the Revisionists. At the elections in 1929 for the Zionist Congress the General Zionists received 40 votes, Mizrahi 17 votes, labor 17 votes and the Revisionists one vote. The same electoral pattern was followed in the succeeding elections. The adult branches and youth clubs of the various Zionist parties were very active; they had their own libraries and clubs. Even a local paper named Rymanow Word appeared until 1935. The Agudat Israel opened a branch office in Rymanow in 1929.
Most of the Jewish children of Rymanow attended the traditional heder or Hebrew school. In 1930, a school for girls- a Beit Yaakow- was established by the Agudat Israel. The Jewish population was well represented at the municipal council, 40-45% of the councilors were Jewish.. The assistant council president was usually Jewish. The anti-Semitic atmosphere of the thirties was felt in Rymanow. No Jew was granted a license to sell tobacco in 1935. The anti Jewish campaign increased in intensity. Anti -Jewish posters were plastered over the hamlet calling for a boycott of Jewish stores. Some stores even had groups of people preventing Poles from entering the stores. Jewish peddlers were threatened and injured in 1936 on their routes to the villages. Gangs of Poles even smashed the windows of Jewish stores. This campaign continued until the outbreak of the war in 1939.
The Germans entered Rymanow on September 8th, 1939. The next day, all Jews were ordered to assemble at the market place of the hamlet. They had to stand for hours with their hands in the air. They were humiliated and abused. Then the women and children were sent home and only late in the evening, were the men sent home. On September 17th, 1939, the Germans published an edict that all Jews must leave Rymanow within a day. Most of the Jews abided by the order and began to move in the direction of the river San. Only 160 Jews were permitted to stay in Rymanow. Slowly most of the Jews returned to the hamlet. About 300 Jews remained in Eastern Galicia that will soon be occupied by the Russians. The Jews in Rymanow suffered economically and in the summer of 1940, all Jewish properties were recorded and all Jewish stores and workshops were aryanized- or seized and placed in the hands of trusted Germans.
In 1940, Jews were brought to Rymanow from nearby places and from distant towns namely Krakow. The Jewish population thus expanded greatly and reached 3000 souls. The economic situation worsened in 1941 and the J,S.S (Jewish Self Help) local branch opened a public kitchen that distributed daily hundreds of meals to the needy. Medical Assistance was also given to the sick. The ghetto in Rymanow was established in 1941 and the economic situation of the Jews worsened.
Starting 1942, the Germans began a policy of massive hunts for young Jews to be sent to the labor camps. On August 3rd , 1942 a large group of Jewish workers was sent to the death camp of Plaszow. On August 13th 1942, the selection of the Jews of Rymanow took place. The able bodied people were sent to death camp of Plaszow near Krakow, a few dozens were shot on the spot, a group was sent to the village of Barwinek and the rest of the Jewish population was driven on foot to the nearest railway station from where they were sent to the death camp of Belzec.
A Russian prisoner of war cap was established in Rymanow in 1941. Later they also established a Jewish labor camp. The inmates came from all over the area. In April of 1943, the camp received a transport of Jews from the Tarnow ghetto. The number of Jewish workers reached at the time the number of 150 inmates. The latter primarily worked at the train station loading and unloading merchandise. In July of 1943, a group of inmates were sent to the death camp of Szebnie. During the transit some Jewish workers escaped. The Germans caught three escapees and killed them.
About 300 Jews of Rymanow survived the war. Twenty of those were camp survivors. The rest spent the war years in the Soviet Union or hidden by gentiles in the area.
Yad Vashem Archives, M-1/E 2291/2325, M-1/E 1818/1682,
M-1/Q 1858/405, M-1/Q 1420/205, M-1/Q 1167/38,TR-10/777;016/1764;
Central Historical Archives of the Jewish People in Jerusalem;
HM/712, HM/7102, HM/701, HM/7099
Central Zionist Archives; Z-4/226-24B; Z-4/223-23; Z-1/414, Z-4/2997-II,
Shomer Hatzair Archives, 83 (3)
AJDC Archives; countries-Poland, medical report 377, Reconstruction 344.
Die Yiddishe Shtimme 7/2/1929, 8/2/1929,22/2/1929, 10/5/1929.
Yiddisher Arbaiter 3/1/1908, 5/12/1912, 12/12/1913,3/4/1913, 22/12/1918
' Hamagid 30/8/1844, 1/1/1897,19/8/1897
Hamagid Hachadash 21/9/1893.
American Joint Archives; Poland, Reconstruction 399.
'Hamitzpe (newspaper) ; 19/4/1904, 24/6/1904, 1/7/1904,9/5/1913.
Divrei Akiva 25/8/1922, 10/4/1923, 12/12/1933.
Chwila (newspaper) 30/11/1919, 17/11/1933, 10/12/1933, 3/4/1936, 12/4/1939, 12/5/1939.
Nowy Dziennik (newspaper) 14/7/1935
Nasza Walka 24/2/1920, 21/4/1920, 8/8/1927,23/8/1928.16/8/1929,7/9/1929,9/10/1929,31/12/1930, 24/1/1931,15/7/1931, 21/8/1931, 22/8/1931,6/8/1932, 31/5/1934, 15/1/19345, 10/3/1935,21/3/1935,3/5/1935, 16/6/1935, 16/7/1935, 4/10/193530/1/1936,20/1/193817/3/19384/3/19397/6/1939
Wschod 17/10/1902, 7/1/1903, 22/6/1904, 2/11/190428/4/1905
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