Jewish District of Zelow


All records of Jewish citizens from Zelow (also the duplicates in archives) were destroyed by the Nazis during WWII. Therefore genealogists will be confronted with big problems in finding the names of their ancestors. Some documents of the shtetl survived, however, and based on them, a general description of the Jewish district of Zelow in the 1930s is possible to establish.


The main place where most Jewish citizens lived was Rynek (Square) and surrounding streets such as sw. Anny (St. Anna), Kilinskiego, Sienkiewicza and Waska. Here was a concentration of Jewish shops, workshops, and community institutions. Many of the houses at Rynek were living places of Jewish traders, handworkers and manufacturers. At No 2 there was a hairdresser parlor of Zisman Kifer, a candy shop of Aron Sieradzki (No 4), tailor working places of Abram Lajbowicz (No 3) and Dawid Siwek (No 7), bakeries of Jakub Lipkowicz (No 7), Szlama Wajs (No 15), as well as the clock maker shop of Symche Binem Brokman (No 14). Many maufacturers lived there as well, such as Josek Henoch Frajdenrajch (No 2), Abe Jochlowicz (No 3), Emanuel Minkowski (No 9), Ezriel Lewi (No 11), and Herszlik Knopf (No 13). The Jewish teachers Izrael Bornsztajn (No 2) and Josek Lindenbaum (No 5, later Dzielna 5) lived here. Henoch Krygier, a rabbi helper originally from Lutomiersk, lived at Rynek 7c as well as Wolf Zloczewski, a shames at the Zelow synagogue.


The Kosciuszki Street had in some places quite a dense Jewish population, especially at the beginning of the street up to No 50. Here lived for example Moszek Liberman (No 3), a factory owner originally from Belchatow, as well as a tannery owner Lajzer Kuperwasser (No 13). Another merchandiser, Josek Wigdorowicz lived with his family at No 42, later at 71. At No 64 lived merchants Abram Szlama Asz and Josek Granek, to whom this house also belonged. There were such shops and workshops like the hairdresser parlor of Jankiel Belchatowski (No 20, 31), bakeries of Dawid Rozensztajn (No 22) and Sima Fajerman (No 49) and the clockmaker Szaja Zelka Bergman (No 31). In Kosciuszki Street lived Jewish teachers Moszek Ryba (No 1), Szlama Zalman Binensztok (No 19b), Chaim Wolf Kupfer (No 41) and Mordka Kozminski (10B9, as well as functionaries of the Jewish community like Symcha Binem Satt (No 10a), secretary of the community, Mendel Cukier (mohel, house No 10b), Moszek Dawid Pila (shames, No 17a). In the house 10b lived also the Lewinson family (Mrs. Lewinson was a dentist), who later moved to Lask. Quite a few Jewish weavers settled in Kosciuszki Street, which was especially far from the city center,.


Sw. Anny Street was very important for Zelow Jews. Many families lived in this short street, such as those of Hersz Gelbart (director of the religious school, born 1894 in Belchatow) at No 7a, as well as some teachers like Lewek Alembik (No 7b) and Szmul Kuperwasser (No 12). There were some traders like Zajwel Brykman (No 4), a clothes trader. The trader Fiszel Lewi with his family lived in the house 7a, their neighbors were Chil Lisner and Zalma Dylewski (house No 8), Izrael Sromutka (owner of the house No 14). Weavers living here were Hersz Rozenblum (No 5), Markus Mendel Rozbach (No 7a), Abram Zielinski (No 5a). Finally there was a mohel Juda Chenoch Szlamowicz who lived in the house No 7a.


Another small street was Waska, where actually only Jews lived. At No 6 was the trader Izrael Icek Frajman, as well as some families of weavers like Haskiel Herszkowicz, Mordka Frajndt, Ajzer Lewkowicz (all at No 6). At Waska also lived Jankiel Siwek, the owner of the bus (later at Kosciuszki 23).


From Rynek led another street which was also popular among Jews (at least until No 35), Kilinskiego Street. In the house No 4 lived the baker Jankiel Abe, followed by Fajwisz Mordka Uberman (deputy rabbi), Chil Majer Frajndt, a textile factory owner, born in Zelow 1897, Juda Lajb Lipman (shop owner). The house No 5 belonged to a factory owner, Jakub Lewi. Besides him and his family lived there Michal Rozenzaft (another factory owner) and Dawid Steinberg, a bookkeeper at the textile factory. Many traders and handworkers lived in Kilinskiego Street. Let us name some of them: Izak Przedborski (No 9), the owner of the wood stock, Jozek Kibel (No 11b, shop with fruits),  Majer Klapiak (No 16), a dyer, Szlama Lewkowicz, a tailor who later moved to Belchatow. At No 17 lived the baker Majer Zyndol Herszkowicz, as well as the teachers Fajga Wajman (No 18) and Mina Halpern (No 15).


On our walk we come now to Sienkiewicza Street. At No 4 lived the businessman Mojsze Traube, having as neighbors Abram Nusen Sieradzki, the owner of the tailor workshop, and Abram Jablonski, a hairdresser. In other houses lived Berek Jelbowicz (No 5), who owned a tailor atelier and Aron Rafal (No 9), a tinsmith. Hebrew lessons were given in house No 6. There lived there some traders and shop owners like Moszek Juda Fleiszkier and Rafla Jakub Lewi and the shoemaker Josek Gliksman. At the house No 9b lived the bakery owner Chimie Jakubowicz. At No 11 lived Abram Jakub Rusak and Chil Szajner, traders. In the house No 13 there was the blacksmith of Lajzer Siwek.


The synagogue was at the Kosciuszki Street No. 9. The building survived the war, and after a general renovation, it is the site of the post office nowadays.

The Jewish cemetery was located at the Lesna Street (behind the house No 36). The place was totally destroyed during the war. Remnants of grave stones were taken to the Regional Museum of Belchatow.