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The first Jews settled in Świerże between 1537 and 1550. In 1565, the town population was 210,
including 14 Jewish families. The shops and inns in the town were mostly owned and operated by
the Jewish residents. In 1769 there were 120 Jews. In 1900 there were 480 people and 315 Jews.
In the 19th century, Świerże's small industry consisted of water mills, brickyards, windmills, wood tar
distilleries, and alcohol distilleries. In 1822 it lost its city charter. In 1852, a cholera epidemic stroke the
town. In the 1850s, there were nine grocery shops, five meat shops, five textile shops, four shops with
household equipment, a butcher shop, a drug store, and three catering facilities all in Świerże.
World War I had a severe impact on the town as well, with many of its buildings destroyed during that war.
In the period preceding World War II, Świerże was the second richest municipality in Chelm county,
following Wojslawice. Jews dominated the local trade. From 1910 to 1918, Josef Mordko Arbuz was
the town rabbi . In 1918, Świerże was inhabited by 2,180 people, including 290 Jews (13%).
In Spring of 1940, the Nazis established a Jewish ghetto in Świerże. In December of 1940,
about 80 Jews from Krakow were brought there. The total number of people in the ghetto was around
1,000 Jews. In October, 1942, the Jews from Świerże were forced to walk to the Sobibor
Death Camp. The distance was 40 km. The Jews of Świerże were all murdered.
The synagogue in Świerże was located in the southern part of the marketplace, on
Lwowska Street. It was destroyed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. No material evidence of
the synagogue was preserved. The Jewish cemetery in Świerże was set up in the 19th century, in
the park near the palace, at the corner of Piaskowska and Mlynska Street. The Nazis desecrated
the cemetery during the Holocaust. A few gravestones were preserved, with visible Hebrew inscription
on the matzevot. The cemetery is not fenced and there no memorial to the victims of the Holocaust
in the town. The Jewish community had a steam bath near the slaughter house in the town.
The neighboring town of Dorohusk had 1,075 inhabitants at the start of WWII, including 430 Jews.
During the interwar period, in 1929, the following people ran grocery stores in Dorohusk: Mr. E.
Rosenberg, M. Rosenberg, M. Wajngarten, C. Werber and L. Zygielman. Moreover, B. Alter and Sz.
Zylbersztein owned general stores. In addition, Abram Alter and Ch. Hercman had teashops.
At Zwyciestwa Street there was a butcher house also owned by Abram Alter.
During the German occupation, all Jewish inhabitants of this village were murdered.
Please review the site content below. Zachor - We Remember.
[History] [Wikipedia - Swierze]
[Cemetery] [Destroyed Synagogue]
[Yizkor Book for Neighboring Town, Dorohusk]
Click to subscribe to Swierze
Learn more at the Sobibor Remembrance Project
Jewish friends and neighbors. In this photo, a Pole from Swierze literally carries a Jewish
woman to the Gestapo. (Ita Spiller / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive)
Join the Swierze group on Facebook!
Village of Świerże:
- Article: Expelled Radom and Cracow Jews Resettled in Provinces (1941)
- Swierze Jewish Genealogy eGroup
Families of Swierze:
- Fuks family
- Sztatman family
Rabbis of Swierze:
- Josef Mordko Arbuz, early 20th century
Holocaust Survivors of Swierze:
- Rachel Katz Zeitlin
- Moniek Listhaus
- Chana Leah Orenstein
Notable People of Swierze:
- Max Leon, American broadcaster
- Sobibor Labor Camp (with photos)
- Jewish Records Indexing Poland - Świerże
- Jewish Vital Records in the Polish State Archives
Remember Your Family:
- The DNA Shoah Project: Connecting Descendants
- Central Judaica Database - Museum of History of Polish Jews
- Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors on Facebook
- Guide to the YIVO Archives
- Holocaust News/Events from Generations of the Shoah Int'l
- Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database
- JewishGen Family Finder
- JewishGen Holocaust Database
- JRI-Poland: Search for Your Family
- Museum of History of Polish Jews Introduction
- Yad Vashem: Search for Your Family
- Yad Vashem: Submit Names of Your Family Members
- Yad Vashem Requests Photos of Shoah Survivors and Families
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