In 1870, the successors of Ojzer Lewita bought from the Town Hall of Płock for 1000 rubles in silver a square bordering from the south with Misjonarska street, from the west with prison buildings, from the north and east with the garden and property of […]
We would like to inform all of our Donators, that since November 9, 2019 the BIC/SWIFT code of the BNP Paribas bank necessary for international transfers of donations to the Nobiscum Foundation’s account has changed. The code RCBWPLPW has been replaced by: PPABPLPK. Our bank […]
Maurycy Fajans (1827-1897) – a merchant and industrialist, was the son of Herman, a merchant from Sieradz, and Leontyna nee Kon. His brother was a well-known Warsaw photographer and owner of a lithographic and photographic studio Maksymilian Fajans (1825-1890).
Maurycy Fajans was a representative of a Vistula river steamboat company in Włocławek, which belonged to Count Andrzej Zamoyski, then (from 1864) its director. In 1871, after the closing of the company, he purchased some ships, including the “Płock” steamboat. He was also the owner of the Steamboat Workshop in Solec. As we read in the article titled “Jubileusz żeglugi parowej na Wiśle” (“Vistula steamboat jubilee”) in “Tygodnik Ilustrowany” (No. 26 of 1908):
The new buyer had the luckiest hand of all current steamboat owners on the queen of our rivers. Introducing an effective administration, gradually increasing the number of ships, Fajans became wealthy very quickly. Thanks to his lucky hand, he also became the first to establish a successful steamboat business on the Vistula River. In 1884 Fajans continued the previously interrupted shipbuilding business in domestic factories, which he was the manager of. These workshops were improved in such a way that even military orders could be fulfilled. And finally, the first improved steamboats “Kraków” and “Wawel” were produced in the Fajans factory a few years ago, with covered cabins and electric lighting on board. It was a serious step forward in improving the aesthetics of existing steamboats on the Vistula.
Maurycy Fajans was also a business judge (since 1875), a member of the Warsaw Stock Exchange Committee (in the years 1888-1894) and a member of the board of the Warsaw Jewish community. He collaborated with the Płock merchant Ludwik Flatau in the field of grain trade. He was also a member of the Waterworks Construction Association in Płock (next to Zelewek Chessyn, Adolf Weisblatt, Krzysztof Doze and Gustaw Bergson), which was established in 1894, and co-owner of the real estate in Płock marked with mortgage number 515 on the bank of the Vistula.
Przedpełski J., Stefański J., Żydzi płoccy w dziejach miasta, Płock, 2012
The mikvah, which existed even before the construction of the beautiful building, which is now the seat of the Art Gallery of Płock. The tenement house in which the Society for the Care of Jewish Children and the Shelter for Homeless Jewish Children was located. […]
Stefan Themerson was born on January 25, 1910 as the son of Chaim Mendel aka Mieczysław Themerson (1871-1930) – a medical doctor, writer and publicist, and Sara Liba aka Salomea nee Smulewicz. In 1928 he graduated from the Władysław Jagiełło State Junior High School in […]
Sukkot (Festival of Tabernacles, Festival of Shelters) is a holiday commemorating the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt and wandering in the desert during which they experienced direct divine protection. At the time of this holiday, the sukkot (in Polish „kuczki”) are being built, in which people eat meals, sometimes also sleep, to remind the shelters in which the Israelites stayed in the desert.
What did the sukkot look like in the space of the old, 19th century Płock? In the collection of the Files of the Town of Płock, kept at the State Archives in Płock, there is a design of an outbuilding, made by Zdzisław Zawodziński in 1871, for Abram Josek Lula from Pułtusk, a grain merchant and owner of a property located at 5 Józefa Kwiatka St. The project involved erecting a two-story building, covered with a single-pitched roof: at the ground floor level (with brick walls), this building was to house a woodshed and a cart storage, at the first floor level (with walls covered with oil-painted boards ) – a sukkah was placed. The document shows that the sukkah was a rectangular room with a usable area of 3.35m x 4.75m, 2.74m high (height with roof – 4.57m). A hallway led into the room inside of the sukkah. On the first floor there was also a small room, adjacent to the sukkah on the other side.
In addition to wooden structures, wealthy Jews also erected brick sukkot in their properties. Before 1872, the brick-built sukkah at Synagogalna Street (mortgage no. 39) was built by Szlama Kowalski, and in 1894 at the Old Market Square (mortgage no. 5) – by a well-known Płock merchant and social activist Izrael Kirsztejn (1828-1916).
In the collection of the Files of the Town of of Płock there were also numerous requests to the town authorities for permission to erect sukkot, which were supposed to be rather ephemeral objects – Jews were often obliged to dismantle them after the end of the holiday. In the year 1877 alone 171 such permits were issued. The most of the structures were erected in the heart of the Jewish district – at Szeroka Street, but also at Synagogalna, Niecała, Jerozolimska, Bielska and Więzienna Streets. In the town space, the sukkot could also be found at Dominikańska, Płońska, Mostowa, Misjonarska, Kolegialna, Grodzka, Królewiecka streets and the Old Market Square.
As sources indicate, for the duration of the Sukkot holiday not only were the huts erected in Płock, but also private prayer houses were opened (the Great and the Small Synagogue were able to accommodate a total of only about 1500 people at a time). In 1892, in connection with the approaching holiday, at the request of the Synagogue Supervision and Rabbi Juda Bejman, the Town Council of Płock agreed to open 19 temporary prayer houses, among others at Synagogalna Street at the Dancygier school (mortgage no. 34/5), at Zduńska Street at the seat of Talmud Torah (mortgage no. 107) and at Misjonarska Street at the Izaac Fogel Hospital.
The sukkot preserved in the current city space of Płock
4 Kościuszki Street
The sukkah is visible from Mostowa Street, it is adjacent to the rear wall of the two-story outbuilding, which was built after 1887. This wooden structure is located on the level of the first floor and supported by cast-iron buttresses. It was erected on a plan similar to a square, with a gabled roof covered with sheet metal. The first owner of the property was Jan Fryderyk Gottard Lehnardt, from 1865 – the Maltz family. The last, pre-war owners were Stanisław Tłuchowski and his wife Janina Sabina née Gutowski. There were several Catholic families and only one Jewish living in the property. It was the family of the merchant Tauchen Kapusta (1865-1894). In the interwar period, Moszek Zelman Kapusta (born in 1886) lived here with his wife Elka née Borensztejn and their children.
8 Grodzka Street
A unique, modernist style sukkah is located in the yard of the property at Grodzka 8 and can be seen from the side of Stanisława Małachowskiego Street. It adjoins the rear wall of a 19th century, two-story tenement house, intended for commercial and residential purposes, at the level of the first floor. Before the war, it was the property of Lewek Kilbert (1882-1942). In the interwar period, several Jewish families lived in the property, including the Budnik, Wolrat, Gelibter and Zylberberg families.
9 Tumska Street
The sukkah is located on the back wall of a neo-Gothic, two-storey building erected around 1840. It is located at the level of the first floor and supported by concrete pillars. The hut was built on a square-like plan, with a wooden structure, it is vaulted with a single-pitched roof covered with sheet metal. The sukkah has two small square windows in the gabled part of the front wall. Dawid Chaim Segał was the owner of the property at 9 Tumska street since 1871. In 1912, the property was purchased by Lajbuś and Tauba Smrodynia aka Kon. In the interwar period merchant Nuchim Kuczyński, teacher Dawid Jarząbek, trader Lejb Lajzer Bomzon and corsetist Brana Taubenfligel lived there, among others.
The next three objects resembling sukkot are located at 18 Kazimierza Wielkiego St. as well as at 52 and 53 Sienkiewicza St.
The lost sukkot
15 Grodzka Street
The property is located in the eastern part of the northern frontage of Grodzka Street. The owner of the property from 1838 was Abraham Marsap. In 1864, it was inherited by Dwora aka Dorota Hendelsman nee Marsap, who sold it in the same year to Icek Fogel. In 1866, Mirel Marsap née Pinkus, became the owner. Her heirs sold the property to Paulina Majeran, and she – in 1873 – to Lewin Zeman. In 1875 Bernard Lewin and Markus Grünbaum were the owners of the property in equal parts. In 1880 Michał Żołobow bought it. In the years 1920-1922 the property was inherited by Maria Żołobow, who then sold it to Emil Żółtowski. In 1935 it was purchased by Waleria and Szymon Buksowicz. The sukkah used to be located above the entrance gate, on the back wall of the tenement house, at the height of the second floor. Constructed on a rectangular plan, with a wooden structure, it had an elegant form and modest, geometric architectural details. It was probably built before 1880. A few years ago, it collapsed during the renovation of the building. It has not returned to its place until today.
The corner of Tumska and Królewiecka streets
Until recently, the most characteristic in the city space of Płock was the sukkah in the property located at the intersection of Tumska and Królewiecka streets. The first known owner of this property was Józef Liberman, after the death of whom it was inherited by Markus Liberman, Szaja Liberman, Hana Lichtensztajn nee Liberman and Bajla Liberman. In 1867, the property was purchased by Andrzej Kowalski. From 1878, it was owned by Izrael Lejb and Masza Fiszman. From 1912, its owner was Abram Fiszman, the owner of a mineral water factory. After his death, Sura Ryfka Galewska nee Fiszman, Jakub Józef Fiszman, Lejzor Fiszman, Szoel Fiszman, Fajga Estera Kiełbik née Fiszman and Itta Brucha Firstenberg née Fiszman inherited the property. The sukkah was located on the back wall of a two-storey front building of a service and residential purpose. It was constructed on a plan similar to a square, it was vaulted with a single-pitched roof covered with sheet metal. The walls of the hut originally had large glazing, and the windows were subtly divided by muntins. Based on preserved archival photographs, it can be seen that even at the beginning of the 1980s the technical condition of the sukkah was good. Over the decade, however, it slowly deteriorated, so that at the beginning of the 90s the city conservator of monuments recognized its condition as catastrophic, and the object itself eligible for demolition and reconstruction in accordance with the detailed inventory. At the beginning of 2017, the sukkah was acquired by the Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw, which, understanding the special historical value of this object as a material trace of the presence of the Jewish community in Płock and northern Mazovia, decided to subject it to conservation and make it part of the museum exhibition. Let’s hope that soon the reconstructed sukkah from Płock will find an appropriate place in the Polish capital.
Nowak G., Z życia religijnego płockich Żydów – Święto Sukkot [in:] „Nasze Korzenie” no. 8, 2015, pp. 94-99
The Nobiscum Foundation cordially invites you to the exhibition “The Jewish Count. The story of Stanisław Posner”, which this time we will have the pleasure to present in the exhibition hall of the Municipal Culture Centre in Płońsk to all the guests of the 3rd […]
The property with the former mortgage number 281 is located in the eastern corner of Tumska and Kościuszki streets, in the space of the historic downtown of Płock. The first owner of the property was Ludwik Mahn, an assessor, the architect of the Płock department, […]
Józef Kwiatek was born on January 22, 1874 in Płock, in a large Jewish family. His father Fiszel, son of Efroim Kwiatek (1792-1875) and Sura née Kagan, traded in colonial goods. Józef’s mother was Hinda née Prussak. Józef had six siblings – brothers Symcha (born in 1876), Efroim (born in 1884) and Hersz (born in 1868) and sisters Fajga Ryfka (born in 1870), Ides (born in 1863) and Necha (born in 1881) and two half-siblings – Izrael (born in 1856) and Sura (born in 1854).
In 1892 Józef graduated from the Provincial Junior High School in Płock. Then he attended the Medical Faculty of the Imperial University of Warsaw. Already in the first year he was forced to leave school – he was arrested in April 1894 during a patriotic manifestation called “kilińszczyzna”. Released without a sentence after a month, on November 29, 1894, he was arrested again on charges of creating an illegal organization devoted to teaching free of charge, operating essentially among assimilated Jews. This time Kwiatek was in prison for half a year, then remained under police surveillance until May 1, 1896. At the same time, he was relegated from the university and on 6 May 1896 sentenced to two years of exile, which occured during the period of military service, part of which – four months – Kwiatek was to spend in a disciplinary battalion. After serving a sentence in Kherson, southern Ukraine, in an isolated cell, Kwiatek was assigned to a Turkestan regiment and was released several months ahead of schedule due to health problems. He returned to Płock in the spring of 1898. In the same year he started studying at Dorpat, this time at the legal department. At the same time, he was active in the ranks of PPS (Polish Socialist Party) and the Polish Youth Circle. In 1899 he was expelled from the university as a result of participation in student riots, but was soon re-admitted. He graduated in 1902, but the authorities did not allow him to take the state exam, due to Kwiat’s acceptance of the chairmanship of the delegation making political demands. In 1902 he returned to his hometown. He took part in the 6th Congress of the Polish Socialist Party in Lublin, where he requested the establishment of the Jewish Committee of the Polish Socialist Party. Soon he went abroad and there he began work on the PPS program. He worked in Berlin, Katowice and Krakow. He was a collaborator of “Gazeta Robotnicza”, “Naprzód” and “Przedświt” magazines. In “Przedświt”, he placed a number of articles under the pseudonym Flis. He also printed in Krakow in 1904, in the series of “Latarnia” publications, the brochure “On the Jewish matter” under the pseudonym T. Wileński. In June 1903 he became a member of the PPS Jewish Committee. He published the magazine “Arbajter” – a part of the PPS structures, in Yiddish.
In autumn 1903 he returned to the Kingdom and became a member of the Central Workers’ Committee of the Polish Socialist Party (August 18, 1904). He was also the editor of the “Robotnik” magazine. In November 1904, he organized the first armed demonstration since 1863 in Grzybowski Square in Warsaw, directed against the recruitment of the Russian army in connection with the war with Japan. In January 1905 he organized a great general strike, which took the form of a revolutionary act. In November 1905, tried by a Warsaw court, after his acquittal, he went abroad. After the 8th Congress of the PPS in Lviv, he returned to the Kingdom and took part in the work of the Warsaw organization of the PPS. In October 1906 he was arrested again. This time he received a sentence. He served it in Warsaw in the prison in Mokotów, and then in Łomża. The prison had an influence on his health – in early 1908 he left it with larynx tuberculosis. After his release, he went abroad. In Cieszyn, and then in Krakow, he conducted lively political and cultural activities. He was the chairman of the congress of Polish progressive youth in Zurich, he wrote for daily and monthly magazines, among others “Krytyka” and “Sfinks”, gave lectures on literary topics, participated in many rallies and meetings, especially in Silesia, worked on the Management Board of the Adam Mickiewicz People’s University, organized the Educational Department of the Polish Social Democratic Party of Galicia and Cieszyn Silesia, while not caring much about his fragile health. Only at the end of his life did he undergo treatment – initially in Zakopane, at the beginning of 1910 in Merana. Having learned about his incurable disease, he returned to Krakow with the intention of committing suicide, as he did not want to die being a burden to others. On January 20, 1910, he took his own life at the “Pod Różą” hotel, using a revolver. His funeral took place on January 23 at the Jewish cemetery, becoming at the same time a great manifestation. Bolesław Limanowski became the head of the Committee to commemorate Józef Kwiatek. The collected funds allowed founding a tomb with a commemorative inscription and establishing a mobile library named after Kwiatek.
In 1930, Kwiatek was posthumously awarded the Cross of Independence with Swords. In 1935, the 25th anniversary of his death was solemnly celebrated – in his hometown, a commemorative plaque was placed on the wall of the house where he was born, and Szeroka Street, where he spent his childhood, was renamed to Józefa Kwiatka Street.