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

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A List of Jews from Korczyna

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.

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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 has translated this wonderful Memorial Book. So many surnames from the area are mentioned. Please click on JewishGen's Yizkor Site to read it.

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