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

The Jewish History of Raczki

The Suwalki survivors of the holocaust have collectively written two Memorial Books for Suwalki city and surrounding shtetls including Raczki.  Hundreds of such books  are online and in various stages of translation by the  Jewishgen Yizkor Book Project.  These are very poignant stories related to the birth, life, and fate of the Jewish communities in Europe.  

The 1961 Suwalk Yizkor Book [Yisker Bukh Suvalk, 826 pages, Yiddish] edited by Berl Kagan in New York is currently in translation to English with many small chapters already completed.

The 1989 Suwalki Yizkor Book  [Sefer kehilat Suvalk u-benotehah, 439 pages Hebrew, 57 pages English, dozens of memorials with photos and large necrology index] edited by Yehuda Alroi and Yosef Chrust and published in Tel Aviv.  The English chapers are already indexed and the published version is online at the NYC Public Library.

Both books have excellent Tables of Content and indexes to names and places.

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) became part of Russian Empire. Raczki was part of Augustow province. See Jewishgen
1826 Encyclopedia Londinensis Vol XXI (London) reports population of 600, chiefly Jews.  The first known surviving Raczki document of any type lists 49 adult Jewish men which would imply a significant Jewish population.
1850 Economic stagnation, lack of prospects for development and Numerous 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 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. There were 16 streets (only one paved).
1888 another major 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 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 deported remaining Jews to Suwalki, then to Lithuania and the death camps.

The Last Two Raczki Ship Arrivals

We have added over 800 records for Raczki emigrants over a period of about 100 years.  The last two of these ship arrivals is the 1947 passage of Aron and Lisa (Nussbaum) Derman (b1926 Raczki) who arrived in New York on a little boat after surviving the horrors of the Holocaust. Their story appears on the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Website.  Lisa's sister Pola and mother  did not escape.

New Raczki Data 

Raczki has no known vital records (civil records: births, marriages, deaths) or census data for the 19th and early 20th century. However, there are many ship arrivals and related immigration documents that specify Raczki as the last residence or birth place. The shiplist data give the important birth year and last know name usage. They can also link families who traveled together and in later years they add key data such as occupations (abt 1840), ethnicity/nationality (abt 1850), and by 1900 full destination names and addresses.  

19th Century Raczki Documents

Two original taxpayer lists give the names of male Jewish taxpayers in the town of Raczki and surrounding villages at two fixed years in the 19th century. While not a census this give the names of Jewish familes who paid taxes or were likely eligible for military service.

Click here for both lists:   1826 and 1863

These lists include the head of household and working male adult children as well as occupations.  The 1826 list had 49 individuals with patrynomic names which 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. There are 8 alphabetic sublists that may be 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%

Raczki Links

Interactive Google Map   

Raczki - Jewishgen Communities DataBase on

Gminy Raczki - official Polish website  

Suwalk-Lomza Interest Group for Jewish Genealogists

Polish Genealogy Society of America

The Desruction of Ratsk (Suwalki Yearbook, 1961 ed).

JewishGen KehilaLinks

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Copyright  2013-2019  Raczki, Robert Zavos, Webmaster and Site Coordinator, All rights reserved.

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Last Updated on March 10,2020
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