KehilaLinks Raczki, Poland
Alternate spellings:  Raczki [Pol], Rotzk [Yid], Rachki [Rus], Rackos [Lith], Rotchky, Ratzk
Raczki Location

RACZKI - Northeast Poland -12 mi NW Augustow, 10 mi SW Suwalki - 5359' N, 2247' E. (Raczki is both a town and administrative district (Gminy Raczki). 2001  Polska Organizacja Turystyczna

Raczki Historic Timeline

650-400 BC first settlements on the banks of the river Rospuda.
1514 King Sigismund I (from Vilnius)  gives privileges to Rackowicz brothers. Stanislaw Rackowicz builds the famous Dowspuda mansion along the river.
1795 After the 3rd partition of Poland Raczki and all of Suwalki were under Prussian rule in the department of Bialystock.
1799 Raczki had 168 houses and 1008 inhabitants who were mostly farmers.
1807 Duchy of Warsaw was established and Raczki was assigned to the department of Lomza.
1815 Kingdom of Poland (Congress Poland) part of Russian Empire. Raczki is part of Augustow wojewodztwo (province). See Jewishgen
1826 Encyclopedia Londinensis Vol XXI (London) reports population of 600, chiefly Jews.
1850 Economic stagnation, lack of prospects for development, frequent fires result in only 140 numbered houses and 1279 inhabitants.
1863 resurrection by insurgents of Russian army begins and by 1870 Raczki lost its town charter.
1867 Kingdom of Poland divided into 10 gubernias and 84 powiats (sub-districts). Raczki is now part of Augustow powiat in Suwalki Gubernia. See Jewishgen
1886 Raczki had 2807 inhabitants and 194 houses including 11 brick. There were two breweries, tanneries, candles makers and 19 trade companies. Of the 16 streets, only one leading to the bridge was paved.
1888 fire burnt down 98 houses
1904 Russian defeat in war with Japan results in weaking of Tsarist regime and outbreak of revolutionary struggles in the area.
1907 another great fire burns a large part of town including 73 residential buildings
1914 Raczki receives rail link from Suwalki and Prussian border and WW1 begins
1921 Raczki has 252 houses and 1558 inhabitants
1938 Raczki has population of 1841 with 1377 Roman Catholic, 413 Jews, 27 Evangelicals, 5 Orthodox, and 19 others. 
1939 September - Raczki seized by Russians. In an agreement with Germany Russians left at beginning of October and Germans occupied. Jews were deported first to Suwalki, then to Lithuania and the death camps.

all data from Gminy Raczki Official Web Site except as noted.

The Jewish History of Raczki

The Jews of Suwalki have collectively written two Memorial Books for Suwalki city and the surrounding shtetls which include Raczki.  These are known as Yizkor Books written in their own words by Jews who survived the Nazi Holocaust. Hundreds of such books from the Jewish communities of Europe are now online and in various stages of translation to English by the  Jewishgen Yizkor Book Project. The 1961 version edited by Berl Kagan is partially completed at Suwalki Yizkor Book. Check the contents for chapters related to Raczki (pages 347-348; 649-650) and other related vignettes from the nearby areas. Read these moving stories that tell how these shtetls developed, how the people lived, and how most were sadly destroyed.

19th Century Raczki Documents

Raczki is one of many Jewish shtetls where no vital records (births, marriages, deaths) have been found. However, we do have two original secondary types of records that give the names of Jewish taxpayers in the town of Raczki and surrounding villages. These lists only include the name of the head of household (probably all males) and occupations. The earliest of these is an 1826 taxpayer list and the second is a similar list from 1863. Both lists were found in the Suwalki archives by Alex Friedlander, a noted Suwalki area genealogist, whose own family came from Suwalki Gubernia.
The 1826 list had 49 indivduals and  uses the patrynomic names which helps link fathers and sons.  By 1863 surnames were frequently used and these help identify close male family members but not necessarily the relationships. The general rule for surnames was one unique surname for each family in the same area. The 1863 List for Raczki has 243 residing in Raczki and 23 from nearby small towns.  

The 1863 list consists of 8 alphabetic sublists that were likely created from nearby streets or close neighborhoods.  We have no detailed maps of Raczki but one 1886 reference states that Raczki had 16 streets.

The most numerous occupation is the Polish word handlarz which can mean merchant, dealer, peddler or huckster. The 2nd and 3rd largest occupations are tailor and shoemaker. Most other occupations are basic trades. The top 12 occupations by frequency are:

handlarz [dealer/peddler] 110 41.8%
krawiec [tailor] 34 12.9%
szewc [shoemaker] 33 12.5%
wyrobnik [day-laborer] 25 9.5%
rzeznik [butcher] 9 3.4%
zdun [potter] 9 3.4%
piekarz [baker] 5 1.9%
kowal [blacksmith] 4 1.5%
nauczyciel [teacher] 4 1.5%
czapnik [cap-maker] 3 1.1%
powroznik [rope maker] 3 1.1%
rybak [fisherman] 3 1.1%
15 others occupations 21 8.0%
TOTALS 263 100.0%

 Both lists are available by clicking here.

Raczki Links

Interactive Google Map   

Raczki - Jewishgen Communities DataBase on

Gminy Raczki - official Polish website  

Google Translate - Polish to English  translate text, web pages or documents.   note:  this tool is not 100% accurate and was erroneously translating 'Raczki' as 'Handles'

Suwalk-Lomza Interest Group for Jewish Genealogists

JRI Poland

Polish State Archives - databases

Polish Genealogy Society of America
Raczki researchers/descendants are encouraged to submit additional material and suggestions (documents, maps, photos, videos, histories, references, family stories, etc.) to the Webmaster below.   
JewishGen KehilaLinks

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Last Updated on February 4, 2014  

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