History of Kamiensk

by Victor Breitburg

Small town on the land of Polish Noblemen since 1374, lost its status in 1870.

Jews arrived in Kamiensk, located on the Warsaw - Katowice - Vienna Highway, at the beginning of the 18th century. Originally they belonged to the community of Przedborz and later to the community of Rozprza. In the late 18th century, they set up independent institutions. The first two wooden synagogues burned down. The last was built in 1905, and beside it a Hekdesh Cemetery in 1830. 

The Kamiensk rabbis represented the Chassidic sect. The first, Rabbi Stern, a pupil of the “Chozeh of Lublin," was in contact with the Tzadik. He was later removed from his post because of the opposition of the Kotsk Chassidim. Rabbi Israel Stiglitz of the Radomsko dynasty was a “Possek Halacha.” The last rabbi of Kamiensk was Rabbi Rubin Rabinowitz, a descendant of the Yehudi of Pishkha (Przysucha), who stressed the importance of studying the Torah. 

The shtetl was ruled by three social structures headed by the rabbi, the priest and the Polish police. The rabbi was the "Salomon of the shtetl," the judge and the jury. Most Jews of Kamiensk earned their living as small traders and innkeepers. A few worked in the textile business and the vacation service. The political party Agudath Israel dominated the Kamiensk community and established the Bnoth Agudath Israel organization in 1930. Despite resistance from the Gur Chassidim, a youth group founded a Sholem Aleichem library in 1931.

Anti-Semitism and economic crisis led to riots in 1937. Scores of Jews left Kamiensk. 

In 1939 the Jewish community of Kamiensk numbered 834 persons, including children. 

January 17, 2001
Victor Breitburg
Levittown, New York
E-mail: victorsb@aol.com

All information about Kamiensk was obtained from the Museum of Jewish Diaspora in Tel-Aviv, Israel.


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