Remember Jewish Leczna - Genealogy Group

Pronunciation: Lench-nuh

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The Jewish community in Leczna dates back to at least 1501. In 1674, the Jews constituted 33% of the
547 individuals living in town. In the years 1668, 1678 and 1681, Leczna hosted the annual gathering
of the Council of Four Lands. During the 1864 "January Uprising" against the Russian Empire, one of the
captured rebels was lieutenant Rachmiel Borensztajn, a Jewish resident of Leczna -- who was killed.

In 1840, there were 1,754 Jews among 2,715 citizens of Leczna. The town became one of the key
centers of Hasidic Judaism in Europe. 1,617 Jews lived in Leczna in 1922. The community owned a
synagogue, a mikveh, a prayer-house, a pre-burial house and a cemetery. By 1935, the Jewish
community included 2,273 people and the non-Jewish community included 1,889 people.

In 1894, many candidates ran for the position of municipal rabbi, including: Chil Litman, Lejzor
Kirshenbaum from Radom, Jankiel Leder from Brzezin, Szmul Symcha Gutfinger from Lublin,
and Juda Newler from Bajewo. Lejzoz Israel Kirszenbaun, born in 1861, received 87 votes out of 112.
Rachmil Bromberg, born in 1879, also served as rabbi. His wife was a granddaughter of Chaim
Kowartowski. In the middle of the 1920s, Josef Berson ran for the rabbi's position against Bromberg.

In 1922, the Municipal Council of Leczna consisted of Szol Bromberg (president) and Chaim
Lichtenberg (deputy). In 1927, the Municipal Council comprised: Szol Bromberg (president) and
members: Lejb Kowartowski, Chaim Joel Lichtenberg and Jankiel Puterman. The secretary was
Hersz Wajsman. In 1928, Lejb Kowartowski was appointed president and Abram Edelsberg joined.
In 1936, eight people were chosen for the Municipal Council: Josef Rabinowicz, Rachmil Elenbogen,
Abram Cederbaum, Chaim Icek Frochtman, Icek Frydman, Chaim Edelsztajn, Jankiel Borensztejn
and Chaim Lejzor Perelman. The council consisted of 4 orthodox Jews, 2 General Zionists,
1 Revisionist Zionist and 1 Folkist. Jewish political groups received the majority of mandates in the
election to the Town Council in 1919. In order to prevent the Jewish parties from winning in 1927,
Trebaczow was incorporated into Leczna. In the election of June 26, 1927, 7 councilors out of 12
were Jewish: Judka Korn, Szol Bromberg, Rachmil Elenbogien, Chaskiel Geldman, Dawid Sztrejcher,
Chaim Josef Najszteter and Jankiel Frydman. Four Jews and five Poles had their medical practices in
Leczna. Estera Minc (nee Mandeltort) was a dentist who had her practice in town. Berensztajn also had
a medical practice. There was also a commmunity trade bank, a credit bank, and a health fund in Leczna.

With the Nazi occupation, Poles and Jews were forced under a curfew. Jews were forced to wear a
yellow star on their chests and later on their arms. Jews were no longer admitted to cafe's, hotels or
bars. As a results of the Nazi regulation forced upon Polish Jews by Reinhard Heydrich, a Jewish
ghetto was established in Leczna and all Jews were forced to move into its borders. After the ghetto
was established, the supervision was given to Ukrainians who had been trained at nearby Trawniki.

A segregation fence between the Jewish and Polish communities was built. In January 1940, a local
Judenrat was established by the Nazis. Judenrat members included Icek Chaim Fruchtman (Chair),
Dawid Rabinowicz (Deputy Chair), Rachmiel Elenbogen, Icek Frydman, Jankiel Borensztejn,
Chil Zylbersztejn, Chaim Edelsztejn, Abram Cederbaum, Chuna Fiszman, Moszek Wolf Cukierman,
Judka Grinbaum and Motel Rochman. Mosze Nachman Bromberg, age 23, replaced Elenbogen in '41.

Young Jews who were able to work were sent to the labor camp at nearby Milejow in the spring of 1940.
They worked on road construction on the road from Leczna to Milejow. The workers used primitive tools
or worked with their bare hands. Following the orders of the occupation authorities, Jews in Leczna
were ordered to Belzec in 1940 and 1941. Adolf Izrael Flater, who was a doctor of medicine, took
care of some of the town residents. The Judenrat provided medical care for ~400 of the slave workers.

A Jewish local mutual help committee was established in July 1940 and headed by Icek Zylberstein.
Other members of self-help or health organizations in Leczna included Mendel Cukierman (chazzan),
Mordko Josef Weinfeld (trader), Berek Halpern (trader), Hersz Fruchtman (teacher), Abram Mendel
Fijnkielsztejn, Abram Josek Goldzak, Jojna Chaskiel Fajnszmidt, Chaim Zbar, Sara Goldbat, Dawid
Altman. Motel Borensztejn and Iser Wejnberg.

Between March and July 1942, Jews from Czechoslovakia and Bohemia were sent to the Leczna
ghetto. The population of the ghetto grew from 2,191 in March 1941 to 3,000 in October 1942.
The first transport to the Sobibor extermination camp was on October 25, 1942. About 3,000 Jews,
mostly elderly and children, were sent away. In September, 1943 the Germans murdered 23 Jews at
Kanalowa Street and 50 Jews at Lancuchowa Street. 970 Jews were murdered during Yom Kippur, 1943.
Wojciech Wieczorek, the author of Szkice z prowincji ("Memories from the province"], describes
the event: "Next to the synagogue there was quite a large square, with a ravine on its one side. The
ravine was grooved a long time ago by rains and thawing snow. The ravine went down to the Lublin
road, near the Swinka River Valley. It was the place where Jews in the rows of four each were walked
from the ghetto. Afterwards, a machine gun did its job. Jews were killed not only in groups but also
individually. Later, the Germans threw hand grenades into the pit where dead bodies lay. Then, Jewish
policemen were ordered to cover the bodies with a layer of ground." More than 2,500 Jews who lived in
Leczna prior to the war were murdered by the Nazis. Most of them were sent to Sobibor on three
deportations -- the first one on April or May 1942 (200 people), on October 23, 1942 (3,000 people)
and on April 29, 1943 (300 people). The Jewish community ceased to exist.

The Great Synagogue in Leczna, located at 19 Boznicza street, was erected around 1655. The
synagogue was burnt twice, in 1846 and 1881. It was then rebuilt, though he was hit again during WWII.
The 1846 fire was particularly bad, and most of the Jewish quarter burned including Ryneks 1, 2, and 3,
Nowa Street, Rynkowa Street, and Boznicza Street.

Between 1939 and 1944 the synagogue was used by the Nazis as a storehouse. After a new
synagogue was built nearby, the building became a museum for Jewish community and town history.

Next to the old synagogue stands a smaller and newer one, at Boznicza 21. The synagogue was built
at the beginning of the 19th century and at first hosted the community schools and a prayer space.
As happened with the old synagogue, the new synagogue was also burnt down in 1846 and 1881. It
was re-built only in 1859 and the second time no 1894. It was renovated in 1992.

The Jewish cemetery on Pasternik street dates to at least 1639, and the last burial took place at 1942.
Before World War II, the cemetery was surrounded by a brick wall. No traces of matzevot remain.

Please review the site content. Zachor - We Remember.

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[Leczna - Virtual Sztetl]
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Learn more at the Sobibor Remembrance Project



A photo of students at the public school in Leczna, 1939. In the photo is Sima Korn.


A pre-war photo from Leczna.


A pre-war photo from Leczna.


This is a photo of the S.S. men in nearby Cycow, with some of their victims.
Neither Leczna nor Cycow have Yizkor books to memorialize the victims.

Rabbis of Leczna:

- Szlomo Jehud Leib Leczne, 19th century
- Joszua Lejb Ostrowski (1843-1856)
- Chaim Boruch Kowartowski (1856-1885)
- Chaim Szyja Biderman (1885-1889)
- Lipa Ringelhajm (1890-1893)
- Lejzor Israel Kirshenbaum, Belzec victim (1894-1907)
- Henoch Gringlas
- Mendel Cukierman, Shoah victim (cantor)
- Rachmiel Bromberg, Shoah victim

Survivors of Leczna:

- Syma Najberg (Sabina Korn)
- Roman Litman

Remember Your Family

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