A visit to Tarnow, Poland

A visit to Tarnow, Poland

We recently reported about the Experiential Seminar in Poland on Polish Judaism and Hasidism, Past and Present that was attended by Shavei’s Chaya Castillo. One of the cities they visited that made an impression was Tarnów, a city that was declared ‘Judenrein’ (free of Jews) in 1943.  

Before World War II, about 25,000 Jews lived in Tarnów. Jews, whose recorded presence in the town went back to the mid-15th century, comprised about half of the town’s total population. A large portion of Jewish business in Tarnów was devoted to garment and hat manufacturing. The Jewish community was ideologically diverse and included religious Hasidim, secular Zionists, and many more.

Today, there are still no Jews living there, but there are many remnants of the past. Chaya spoke about her experience in the city, being guided by our host, Magda Bartosz, the daughter of Adam Bartosz, the founder and the most important figure in the preservation and remembrance of Tarnow Judaism. Natalia Gancarz also works with them, and was there when we arrived. They are taking care of the cemetery and they run the Committee for Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Tarnów.

Here you can see some of the photos of their trip to Tarnow.

Tarnow, Poland