home news about us the heritage projects partners properties

  II Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Marii Konopnickiej w Zamościu  
   start        program        gallery        previous editions        contact    
"To Bring Memory Back" edition 2006-2007

Centrum Kształcenia Zawodowego linia

Who are we

Center for Professional Education in Wysokie Mazowieckie

The group participating in the project consists of 10 students of 1st and 2nd classes of the Auto Mechanic School.  
We are members of the Circle of Young Regionalists, created last year under the program "Dream School". Our coordinator is Karol Głębocki (karolus2@gazeta.pl) - teacher of history and member of the Friends of Wysokie Mazowieckie Society.

Why we do this project

We are part of the community of a small town who wants to build its identity through the dialogue with the past. We feel obliged to remind the inhabitants of Wysokie Mazowieckie that our town was, throughout the ages, a meeting places for many different cultures and religions, creating a unique atmosphere.
National and religious structure was differential  in Wysokie Mazowieckie. There were many Catholics, Orthodox, Greek Catholics, Jews and Protestants as well. We want to discover this multicultural heritage and bring back the memory of it. Working on the project “To bring back the memory” we’d like to document the history of Jews in our town. We believe it will help us to understand the world and ourselves better.

Jewish community in our town

The oldest mention about the town can be found in so-called “Konrad’s Documents” from 1203, where it appears as a village Wysokie. Around 1239 the town belonged to Swiecko castellany and was called a settlement. In sources from 15th century Wysokie appears as a name of a king’s settlement founded by Kazimierz Jagiellon who just before 1492 ordered to give the city rights to Wysokie. Alexander Jagiellon, a great count of Lithuania, demarcated the new town’s borders and designated its privileges. In 1503 Alexander, already as a Polish king, gave to Wysokie the Magdeburg rights, confirming in that way the inhabitants’ privileges and adding some new. In the second half of the 16th century Wysokie got into Radzivill hands, later it was a property of other dynasties. Frequent changes of owners and historical circumstances delayed the town’s development.
The precise date of Jewish settlement in Wysokie is hard to trace. Jews appeared on the area of a Catholic parish in Wysokie Mazowieckie in 1674. An assessor who made the capitation registry recorded that in Brzozki Brzezinskie (a village situated 4km from the town) lived “in an inn a Jew with his wife, son and daughter”. Where did Jews appear on the town’s area? Anatol Leszczynski in his work “Podlasie Jews history 1487-1795” informs that the first mention about the Wysokie Mazowieckie Jews comes from 1734.
According to dean’s visitation in the church in Wysokie, I can define the date as 1722. The visitation revealed that “in the town were 10 Jews who have a synagogue built not long ago” and that “on the parish area are four lessees plus the fifth in the town”. Basing on parish books I stated that Jews took on lease inns in the following villages in the parish: Brzoski Tatary, Brzoski Stare (Gawrony), Bryki and Brok (about 5km away from the town).The origin of the Jewish community in Wysokie Mazowieckie can be dated for 1722, because in that time there were 10 Jews (minian) living in the town and they could build a synagogue. It was a kind of minor-kahal, not fully authorized (it didn’t take part in sharing taxes; it didn’t have all the judging rights). In A. Leszczynski’s work which was mentioned before, I found information saying that Ciechanowiec city government held the jurisdiction over Jewish community in Wysokie Mazowieckie and other towns and villages in the region.We know about the origins of Wysokie Mazowieckie’s kahal thanks to the Arba’ Aratzot’s meetings. A document from 1725 describes a disputation between communities of Ciechanowiec and Wegrow. They disputed about the jurisdiction over Wysokie Mazowieckie’s Jews. Both suitors presented their arguments, but none of them had any written documentation. The Council of Four Lands decided to hold with the judgment until next meeting which was to take place in winter 1725-1726. Till then any of the communities couldn’t take control over the Jews of Wysokie and taxes from Wysokie ought to be shared 50-50 between both sides. In 1765 the kahal of Wysokie Mazowieckie was mentioned as an independent community with its own rabbi and parnas. In 1798 the parson of the catholic parish mentioned about the tribute (in tallow and meat) that Jews had to pay to the parson.
Prussian inspection from 1799 tells about the percentage of Jews in Wysokie Mazowieckie. Among 869 inhabitants, 276 were Jewish, which was 32% of all. Quick development of the Jewish community in Wysokie could have been caused by limitation of the afflux of Jews to royal towns where they were forbidden to dwell. The situation was different in private towns where the owner, noticing his own business, respected townsmen’s opinions. Probably the activity of Andrzej Piotrowski, who was then the owner of the town, could influence on the afflux. Thanks to his struggles, king Stanislav August Poniatowski gave to Wysokie a privilege to organize fairs, that caused a movement in merchant and craft. Jews in Wysokie, just like in other towns, occupied with merchant, craft and taproom, they actuated economical life and affected on the town’s culture.

Compiled by Karol Glebocki

What we do in the project

  • We want to make interviews with the native inhabitants of Wysokie Mazowieckie who remember the Polish Jews living here before the war; 
  • We will gather the pictures showing social, cultural and commercial activity of the Jewish community;
  • We will share our knowledge with the society of our town and other students of our school;
  • We will prepare an exhibition related to the subject;
  • We will make a catalogue of the Jewish cemetery in Wysokie Mazowieckie, we will try to discover its history;
  • We will write articles and publish them in local newspapers and on the FODŻ website.

What we are going to do next

It's a secret...

What are we proud of

1.       Taking part in the program "To Bring Memory Back".
2.       Starting cooperation with the Friends of Wysokie Mazowieckie Society.
3.       Organizing exhibitions about our town’s history.
4.       Organizing trips to Wysokie Mazowieckie’s Jewish cemetery (September 19th, 2006)
5.       Learning about the symbols on matzevot.


Recommended links


zachodniopomorskie lubuskie pomorskie wielkopolskie kujawsko - pomorskie dolnośląskie warmińsko - mazurskie podlaskie mazowieckie łódzkie opolskie lubelskie śląskie świetokrzyskie małopolskie podkarpackie

  Submit your e-mail address to receive our newsletter