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BELCHATÓW
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The Old Market (Stary Rynek) ca 1900
drawing by Andrzej Selerowicz
 

[Belchatow in Yiddish letters]
("Belchatow" in Yiddish) 

Welcome to the KehilaLinks Home Page for Belchatow, a small town in Central Poland (Latitude 51º 22', Longitude 19º 23'). During the time of the czars (Kingdom of Poland) it was located in the gubernia of Piotrkow Trybunalski.  This site was created to share information on Jewish Belchatow and to commemorate the Jewish community that was virtually wiped out in the Holocaust. (Other spellings: Belchatov, Belkhatov.) This includes a small Jewish community that developed in nearby Grocholice (a village now part of Belchatow) that affiliated with Belchatow in the late 1800's.

To begin exploring this site, click on a main topic to the left or click on Site Map here or on the bottom of each page.

What's New? This site is constantly being updated. Be sure to return often to see the most recent additions:
 

The Story of the Przedborski Family
         (From Belchatow, Lodz, and Tushin)

This book has been donated by Yehiel (Al) Volchik, grandson of Chil Lajb Przedborski, with the permission of Malka Yoskovich-Gilad, writer and daughter of Faiga Fella Przedborski Yoskovich Z"L, whose memories the book is based on.  The book contains the original version written in Hebrew with English translation and inclusion of later photographs and family updates.  
Photographs and information from the book will be available on this page soon.

  Be sure to look at the section for stories about the lives of  Belchatowers since the Holocaust. Many became leaders in their communities and Jewish organizations. Others were involved with successful businesses, government organizations, fulfilling hobbies and pursuits, enriching the lives of family and friends. This is a place to share their lives and to honor the memories of those who are no longer with us.  Please submit brief write-ups about yourself or your Belchatower family members for this part of the Belchatow KehilaLinks site. Photos can be included. [updated 4/15/2013]

The original Belchatow Yizkor Book in Yiddish is now online in digitized format on the New York Public Library's website. Translated chapters and photographs are available on the Yizkor Book site hosted by JewishGen. Latest new chapters include:  "Belchatow 1914-1922" by Avraham Laib [added 12/11/2010] and "On the Border of Two Centuries" by Zalman Pudlowski [added 11/5/2011].

 
Highlights:

Menachem Sharon, Z"L, leader of the Belchatower landsmannschaft in Israel and former diplomat to Poland, donated a listing of over 6,000 names and birthdates of Jews living, or listed on records, in Belchatow before World War IIThis list is now a searchable database on JRI-PolandClick here to see a listing of the surnames in this database on JRI-Poland's website.

The "Belchatow Holocaust Chronology" compiled by Sam Faivish, a survivor from Belchatow, for his book, My Story, © 2002, edited by Andrea Knight.

A translation of the section on Belchatow from the 1929 Polish Business Directory Project of JRI-Poland in cooperation with JewishGen.

Translation of J. M. Pukacz's reminiscences of Chaim-David Kaufman's Shoemaker Shop and home, including anecdotes about the daily life of poor Jewish Belchatowers, the silent movies at the cinema, baking matzoth, and other events. 

Blueprints for the "new" Belchatow Synagogue drawn up by the architect in January 1889. 

A list from the State Archives of  177 families who paid their contribution for the new synagogue in 1891.

A list of the 112 candidates who ran for election to the Kahal's Jewish Community Council in 1936. In addition to their names and political affiliations, this list includes year of birth, occupation, and address in Belchatow for each candidate.

A list of the 43 Jewish candidates who ran for election to the City Council in 1927. In addition to their names and political affiliations, this list includes age, occupation, and address in Belchatow for each candidate.

A list of names and birth years of 593 children who were killed in the Chelmno Death Camp in August 1942.

Translation of an article published in the Polish Slowo Zydowskie [Jewish Voice], in 2001. It discusses Jewish publications in the Belchatow/Piotrkow Trybulnalski area.

Two documents found at the USHMM list the Holocaust survivors from Belchatow who went to Lower Silesia (Dolny Slask) after the war and formed a Landsmannschaft there.

The translation of the section on Belchatow from Pinkas Hakehillot Polin is online, on the Yizkor Book Project site hosted by JewishGen. According to its Preface, this book, written in Hebrew, " is the first in a series of volumes dedicated to the Jewish communities of Poland and is part and parcel of the Pinkas Hakehillot project, whose aim is to establish a memorial to European Jewry which was destroyed in our lifetime." 

Visit the website dedicated to the Jewish Survivors of Belchatow, containing photographs provided by the families of people in them. Several of the survivors pictured have strong desires to identify and hopefully locate their fellow Belchatowers who shared their growing-up years as well as the horrible years of the Holocaust experience with them.  This site is set up to respond to that desire and hopefully to provide faces to those descendants researching their roots in Belchatow.

Read about Andrzej Selerowicz and his new website, which contains an interactive street map of Jewish homes in Belchatow in the early 1900's.


NB: Volunteer translators are still needed to translate into English many chapters of books and journals about Belchatow originally written in Yiddish, Spanish, or Polish.

 
Click here for the JRI-Poland Projects for Belchatow.

Click here for JewishGen Searchable Databases.

Click here for Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names

Click here for Historical Records in the Central Archives in Poland.

[photo of two brothers and tombstone]

Shmuel and Hymie Reich designing the tombstone for their father,
Levi Ben Rab Simha Reich, ca. 1923

(Photo provided by Lisa Webne-Behrman, grand-niece)
(Click on photo for larger view)

Click here to read a translation of the article, by Josef Reich (Levi's other son),
 "Belkhatov Without Jews" on the Yizkor Book Project site hosted by JewishGen.
 It recounts his return visit to Belchatow after the war and the situation he found there,
 including pieces of his father's tombstone. 

Click here to see other photographs taken in Belchatow before WWII. 

 

Jewish Records Indexing - Poland Projects for Belchatow (JRI-Poland)

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Belchatow Shtetl CO-OP Project
Indexes of birth, marriage, and death records microfilmed by the Latter Day Saints (Mormons)  covering the years 1809-1888 in Belchatow

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PSA (Polish State Archives Project) -- search for "Belchatow"
Indexes of Jewish vital records not microfilmed by the Mormons (LDS)

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Inventory of Belchatow vital records
Inventory of the records indexed from the LDS microfilms and the PSA Project 

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Surname Lists of family names appearing in vital records:
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Surname List for LDS Films

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Surname List for PSA Project

Searchable Databases

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JewishGen Family Finder: Search by surname or town.
We strongly urge you to go to the JewishGen Family Finder site to register the surnames and places you are researching. This will provide you with the opportunity to contact others with an interest in those same surnames and places. We also strongly urge you to contribute to or update your family data in the Family Tree of the Jewish People.

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JewishGen Family Finder (for BELCHATOW)
Would you like to connect with others researching BELCHATOW?
Click the button to search the JewishGen Family Finder database.

 

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Family Tree of the Jewish People
The Family Tree of the Jewish People (FTJP) is a cooperative project among JewishGen, Inc., the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) and the Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora (Beit Hatefutsot). The central purpose of the FTJP is to enhance Jews’ ability to connect and re-connect their families and to increase interest in Jewish genealogy. JewishGen offers a freely searchable database on this website. We urge you to contribute to or update your family data in the Family Tree of the Jewish People
 

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Yizkor Book Translations  
Yizkor (Memorial) Books written by groups of former residents of the towns are wonderful sources for learning about life in these towns before and during the Holocaust. 

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JRI-Poland (Jewish Vital Records)
Search the entire JRI-Poland database of Jewish birth, marriage, and death records by surname and town. 

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JewishGen Databases (complete list of all searchable databases)

 

The Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names

bulletSearch The Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names on the Yad Vashem website.

 

Records in the Central Archives in Poland Pertaining to the History of the Jewish People

Belchatow (wojewodztwo Lodzkie) 1833-1911

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Records of the community and its accounts, 1822-66 
   (AP [Archiwum Panstwowe], Lodz, A.P.Rz.G [Anterioria Piotrkowskiego Rzadu Gubernialnego])      

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Tax records, 1843-66    
     (AP Lodz, K.W.K)    

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Correspondence concerning cheders in Belchatow and Rozprza, 1890-99
     (AP Lodz, L.D.Sz [ Lodzka Dyrekcja Szkolna])      

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Ratification of community elections and accounts; appointment of a new rabbi, building a new synagogue in a suburb of the town, renovation of mikveh; list of sale of synagogue seats, 1890-1911 (Russian language )
     (AP Lodz, P.Rz.G.W.A)     

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Complaint of two Jewish estate managers; fines for evading conscription. 1898-1902 (Russian language)
      (A.P. Lodz, P.Rz.G.W.P. [Piotrkowski Rzad Gubernialny. Wydzial Prawny])

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Request to register Bikkor Holim (sick care) Society 1910-11 (Russian language)
      (AP Lodz, P.Rz.G.K.P.)

Source: Polish Jewry: Bibliographical Series, 4, Guide to the Sources for the History of the Jews in Poland in the Central Archives,  The Central Archives For the History of the Jewish People, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Center for Research on the History and Culture of Polish Jews, 1988

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Contributors:

Lisa Webne-Behrman, Phyllis and Hiller Bell, Lester Bilsky, Riva Bojarski, Martin Bornstein, Sheindle Cohen,
 Louis (Ludwik) Dzialowski, Boguslaw Dziedzic, Katie Eisenstadt, Sam Faivish, Alan Frishman, Mariusz Gieras, 

Rafal Gorniak
, Claudia Weiss Greve, Arthur Haft, Ada Holtzman, Jacob Jakobowicz, Peter Jassem, Marek Karpinski,
Jerry Liebowitz, Roni Seibel Liebowitz, Hena Machabanski Lipman, Hadassah Lipsius, Krzysztof Malczewski, Zvi Margalit,
Irene and Victor Miller, Jacobo M. Pukacz, Leif Rosenstock, Dana Rothschild, Petje Schröder,
Andrzej Selerowicz, Menachem Sharon, Yehiel (Al) Volchik, Esther Krisman Warschaw

Technical Support:
Jerry Liebowitz

This site is hosted at no cost to the public by JewishGen, Inc. and is part of the KehilaLinks Project.
If you find this site of value, your Jewish Gen-erosity is greatly appreciated.

This site last revised on April 15, 2013.

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