Pilica, Silesian Voivodeship

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Pilica (Polish pronunciation: [piˈlit͡sa]) is a town in Zawiercie County, Silesian Voivodeship, Poland, with 1,936 inhabitants (2019).


Since the beginning of its existence, Pilica was part of Lesser Poland. In the years 1115–1118 testament of Bolesław III Krzywousty, Pilica became part of the district of Kraków. The probable date of its town rights is 1393. Several years after the uprising of 1 January 1870, Pilica lost its town rights under the Tsar's ukase of June 1, 1869, until it was regained in 1994.

Jewish community

Jews are first mentioned in Pilica in 1581, when they are accused of insulting the host. The historian Meier Balaban notes in his book The History of the Jews of Kraków and Kazimierz 1304–1868 (in Polish): “In the 16th Century the Jewish Kehilla of Krakow was subdivided into seven regional districts: Olkusz, Chrzanow, Wisnicz, Sacz, Bobowa, Pilica, Bedzin, Oshpitzin, and Wolbrom.”Rabbi Pinchas Eliyahu Rotenberg, the nephew of Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Alter of Gur, was rabbi of the town until his death in 1903.In 1905 Pilica became a famous centre of Hasidism. After a famous tzaddik from Góra Kalwaria died – Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter – a considerable number of Hasidim started to go on pilgrimages to the rabbi's brother-in-law, Rabbi Pinchas Menachem Justman author of Siftei Tzadik. The latter, on the other hand, was Pilica's rabbi.By 1921, the majority of the town's residents were Jewish, with a Jewish population of 1,877 compared to a population of 3,299 overall. The town was occupied by the German army in September 1939. 2,000 Jews were kept imprisoned in a ghetto. In 1942, all the Jews were firstly transferred to the Wolbrom ghetto and then to the concentration camps. Today, no Jews live in Pilica.
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