Korczyna Known to the Jews as "KORCZYN"

by William Leibner, Jerusalem 2000

I dedicate this short Jewish history of the city of Korczyna and the extensive but incomplete list of Jewish inhabitants in the city to the memory of the Leibner family, a family which originates from Korczyna. The Leibner family, like the entire Jewish community, disappeared without leaving a trace in town. We hope to memorialize the kehilla through this humble testimony.

KORCZYN was originally settled by German colonists since the name itself is a corruption of the German word Kotchen meaning swamp. The Poles called it Korczyna and the Jews called it Korczyn. Jews appeared in the area about 300 years ago and began to build a Jewish community which grew steadily until about 1880. Very little is known about Jewish life in Korczyna until modern times. The Jews dealt primarily in petty commerce and crafts such as tailoring, shoe mending, window fixing etc. An important source of income for the Jewish community was the market place in town with all the stands, and the markets and fairs in nearby towns, notably Krosno.

Korczyna had a few well to do merchants in wood, forest, grain and fruits. The city also had a few cloth spinning facilities which provided employment to local Jews. The situation changed radically with the abolishment of the need for a special permit to move from place to place. In addition, great opportunities opened for the local Jews with the industrial boom in the city of Krosno, where oil was discovered and the railroad linked the city to the rest of the country. Jews began to leave Korczyna in large numbers for nearby Krosno or Jaslo as well as emigrating to the USA The Jewish population in town steadily declined until WWII.

The Jewish Kehillah was well organized and had administrative control over a large area that contained many localities including Krosno or Kros as it is called in Yiddish. Kros received its independence in Jewish matters in 1901. Korczyn had a Jewish population of about 786 Jews in 1939 and about 50-60 Jewish families in nearby villages. The economy of the town, based primarily on weaving of cloth, steadily declined and with it the number of Jews. The last beit hamidrash was built in 1901 but the adjoining synagogue was never finished. The city also had two smaller synagogues known as the Belzer and the Dzikower shtiblech. Korczyna had also two welfare societies for the care of the sick and the granting of interest free loans. The first Zionist club opened in 1905 and gathered momentum following WWI with 68 shekel paying members. The rabbis of the town were provided by the Rubin family which was related to the Hassidic courts of Ropshitz and Lejansk. The last rabbi of the town was Rabbi Eliyahu Rubin who perished with the entire community.

The war started on September 1, 1939, Friday, 17 days in Elul, tartzat. Kros was immediately bombarded since it had a military airfield and industrial plants. The city was occupied on 9/9/1939 as was Korczyn, 5 kms away. The Germans soon left the city but made sporadic raids to grab Jewish workers for all sorts of work details. Then, on December 1939, the order was issued that all Jews must wear arm bands and Jewish stores must be marked. In January of 1940, the Judenrat was created. Its head was Oscar Rubin and his assistant was Yehezkel Lewitman. Both had lived in Germany and spoke fluent German. The other members of the council had no say. The Judenrat created a Jewish police to enforce the tax laws that were imposed on all Jewish residents of the town. The council became a tool in the hands of the Germans who ruled it with an iron hand and did everything in their power to crush the Jews economically and physically. The council had to provide cheap labor for the Germans as well as shelter and food for Jewish refugees from Lodz and other cities. The Judenrat also established a public kitchen that distributed meals to the needy. Then, all Jewish stores were closed in June of 1941. Jews were not permitted to buy German newspapers, Jews had to surrender all their furs to the Germans. Each day seemed to bring a new edict aimed at harming Jews. Finally, in July of 1942, an order was issued to all Jews inhabiting villages near Korczyna to move immediately to the city. Then, on August 12th , 1942, all the Jews were ordered to assemble in the market place where the selection took place. The old, sick and the infirm were trucked to Wola Jajnicza, near Korczyna, and shot. The women and children were sent by truck to Krosno

Most of the city's Jews had already been sent to Belzec where they were joined by the menfolk who were forced to run the distance on foot. In the market place of Krosno, the Jews of Korczyna waited two days until they were sent to the death camp of Belzec where most of them perished.

May their memory be eternal

William Leibner, May 1st , 2000, Jerusalem, Israel

The following is a list of the Jewish inhabitants of Korczyn; it was compiled by Bill Leibner. Those who perished have "SHOA" after their names.

The Cemetery

The KORCZYNA cemetery survey was completed in 1992 by the US Commission (#POCE000725). The following is adapted from their report. The cemetery is rural, located on flat land and isolated. There is no sign or marker. It is reached by turning directly off a public road and is open to all. It is surrounded by a continuous masonry wall and has a gate that locks.
Before WWII and now the cemetery size is .7 ha. Between 100 - 500 gravestones, less than 25% toppled or broken, date from the 19th - 20th centuries. The stones/memorial markers are made of granite, marble and concrete that are rough stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones and flat stones with carved relief decorations. Inscriptions are in Hebrew. It contains unmarked mass graves.
The present owner is unknown. The property is for Jewish cemetery use only. Adjacent properties are agricultural and residential. The cemetery is visited rarely by private visitors. The cemetery was vandalized during WWII. There has been no maintenance, no care. Within the limits of the cemetery are two buildings without any fittings. Security, pollution, vandalism and incompatible nearby development are not threats. Weather erosion and vegetation are very serious threats. The cemetery is overgrown with trees and bushes.

The Yizkor Book


Published August12th, 1942-the 29th day of Av-5702, Printed in the United States of America, New York 1967, Balshon Printing and Offset Co.480 Sutter Avenue Brooklyn,N.Y.11207 Copyright 1967, by KORCZYNER RELIEF COMMITTEE.

c/o Morris Zucker, 3051 Ocean Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y 11235
Isaac Wasserstrom, 1154-46th Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11219

William Leibner is currently translating this wonderful Memorial Book. Soon it will be available on the JewishGen Yizkor Site.....in the meantime, we wanted to let you see the scope ......

Isaac Englard-Wasserstrom
The township 19
When did Jewish life begin in Korczyn 23
The community administration 25
The activities of the people and the elections 26
The rabbis 29
The synagogues 31
The study center 33
The economic situation and occupations of the Jews of Korczyn 35
The economic situation and occupations of the Jews of Korczyn after WW I 37
The spiritual and cultural life of Korczyn since the second half of the 19th century to the outbreak of WWII 41
The first years of the present century 43
The period following WWI 45
Jewish life hundred years ago in Korczyn 48
Friendly relations 50
When someone was sick-Sabbath 51
Parental respect-marriages 52
Problems with marrying children 55
Relations between Jew and non-Jew prior to WWI 59
Relations between Jew and non-Jew following WWI 61
Aron the crisis 64
The destruction and disappearance of Korczyn 69
The outbreak of the war 71
The entrance of the Germans and the first days of their rule 73
Jews must sweep the market 74
The first Rosh Hashana under German occupation 75
Refugees returning-the first victims of Dinow 76
German soldiers in town 77
Germans keep horses in the study-center- anti-Jewish slogans 78
Polish hoodlums clip sidecurls (peyot)- of Jews 79
Germans soldiers rob Jewish homes 80
Germans arrest Lea Blank 82
Jews must wear star of David-contributions 83
The Judenrat 64
Jewish refugees from Lodz and other places 86
Germans ask to be paid for shooting a Jewish dog 87
The pharmacist 87
The Germans tear pieces of facial flesh from Itsche Denn and Avraham Itzhak Kanner 88
The rav escapes from the township 89
Death penalty for listening to the radio 90
Ritual slaughter forbidden---the shochet Moshe Leichtog 90
Poles seize apartments from Jews 92
The Germans attack Russia 94
Jews not allowed to own stores 95
Jews are not permitted to read newspapers 96
Jews must surrender furs under penalty of death 96
Jews are forbidden to leave township 97
Germans demand to be given Jews for an execution 97
Mrs. Korb 98
The Gestapo again arrives to kill Jews 100
The saint Moshe Epstein 102
Terrible news, the Germans are destroying entire Jewish communities 105
Jews must pay taxes and are forbidden to use electricity 106
Young Jews must register to work and old ones are shaving their beards and side curls 107
The Jewish communities of Korczyn and Kros are erased 109
The liquidation of Korczyn 112
The end of the Jewish community of Korczyn 117
Parchments of the Torah used as insteps in shoes and pages of the Talmud are used as wrapping paper 117
The saints: Wolf Kirschner and his 12 year old son 118
Picture of their tombstone in Polish 119
The saints: Avraham Bezenschtock, his wife, his children, Jochewet Schiff 120
The saint Israel Brenner 122
The Krosner rabbi and his brother in law Naphtali Horowitz 124
The Gestapo grabs children and tosses them into the car- Pessah Kratzer and Yanka Geller 126
Why did we not resist 127
Weissberger- Urbankowa the convert 129
The remenants of the Jews of Korczyn after the liberation 130
Yossel Reich, murdered following the war 131
In the camp Duchatska Wola 132
The editors comment about the author of the song "This is how I feel " 135
Israel Platner- statement 136
This how I feel 137
Aron Atlas- The holy tombstone in memory of Korczyn 140
Our ancestors in Korczyn- Sabbath of our ancestors 142
Zishe Eichorn- about the destruction of my family and our township 144
Bashe Krawtchik - Schiff-- my painful experiences in the German camps 156
Itzhak Fessel- memories from the destruction of Korczyn 169
In memory of my family and relatives 178
Michael Horowitz- what I saw in Maydanek 181
Yossef Weber-the sale 191
The fisher 196
Moshe Zucker- 205
Personalities and types 207
Wolf Rapport 208
Leibish Halpern-Shlomo Gimpel Wasserstrom 209
Moshe Rothenberg 211
Aron Atlas- Naphtali Hirtz Halpern 212
Moshe Zucker
Naphtali Raab 213
Mendel Schroit 216
Some reminiscences 219
My mother, Reisel Idels 224
Mordechai Hersh Baletschanker 228
Yekutiel Kamelhar 228
Haim Dym 238
Gadli, my Hebrew teacher 241
Moshe Mechale 245
Dawid Stretiner 249
Zalke Melamed 251
Reuven Yossef 260
Hersh Yankel Rossenhandler 263
Mendel Weissman 268
Bneyamin Rubin 272
Dawid Ringelheim 276
Leib Wolf Freund 282
Shmuel Aron Kokoshka 284
Shmayahu 286
Avremele the fool 291
The community leader's wife and Nechele the fool 294
Ber Fishel 297
Haim Wolf 302
Yesterday and today 309
Korczyner-Reisher synagogue 311
Who travelled once to the States 312
Yankel Guzik 314
Raphael Meisner and Eli Wolf Katz 317
Ex-Korczyner in the States 323
The Meisner family 326
Raphaels daughter Sara 329
Sam Meisner 331
Meir Nachum Kirschner 333
Hannah Malka, the glazier 339
The old and the new study center 340
The holy arch 346
The painting of the arch 349
The wonderful work 354
The sending of gifts on Purim 356
Bread and bread 359
Ethical personalities 361
The delayed reading of the torah 366
The desecration of the Eastern wall 373
The Jewish letter carrier 376
A penalty 380
A comical tragedy 383
American bluffers 387
Did you pray already Minha 392
Yes, to Tashlich 394
Shmuel Leib Kaufman- the eruvim (distance permitted to walk) on Sabbath in Korczyn 397
Haim Zucker- Moshe Dawidowicz 401
Michael Horowitz
The study center 408
The eve of the Krosner Heshvan (hebrew month) fair 414
This is the heavenly gate, the holy ones will enter it 418
The Zionist organization in Korczyn 421
Shulem Weissman- the home and the environment 427
Another remembrance 430
Zeev Weissman-you can buy another case 432
Moshe Zucker- Moshe you can carry already 436
Mordechai Schiff- Bashe Motiks 439
Picture of a tombstone on Mount Zion 443
Israel Platner-Yizkor 445
List of victims 447-456
Symbolic tombstones and pictures of victims 457-493
A statement 495
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