A Small Detail That Can Serve As An
Introduction To The History Of The Jews In Czyzewo

by F. Artur H. Szrajer / Brooklyn, N.Y.

Translated from Yiddish by Judie Ostroff Goldstein

Dear Mr. F. Szrajer:

We received your letter with the question about the shtetl Czyzewo that is mentioned in Dr. E. Ringelblum's book.

The book, in which the shtetl is mentioned is The Polish Jews in the Kosciuszko Revolt – 1794 and was published in Warszawa, 1937 as an edition of the History Department of the Institute for Jewish Research YIVO. The book is available at YIVO. The episode about Czyzewo is on page 63-64. Enclosed please find the text that we copied for your Landsmanshaft.

Best regards,
Dina Abramowicz

“In the region, in which Jews were not taken to serve in the military, unrest broke out with some of the Christian population.” We read about this funny little revolt in a report from Commissar Olszewski. And the story went like this. – When the gentry of Czyzewo (Czyzew 37) were called up for military service, they stated that they would not leave as long as the Jews would not go with them. What were the Jews needed for – the cavalry and the experienced storekeepers. What did the Jews have? Maybe the Jews would bring them merit and they would win the battle? But it was something else entirely. They were simply afraid “the Jews who were left at home should not…slaughter their wives and children”… in other words, “they were afraid of a pogrom by the Jews”.

The enraged Czyzewo gentry and peasants were not satisfied with threats. “they searched for Jews everywhere (from the shtetl), dragged them to the military exercise grounds and stuck weapons in their hands”. Furthermore the stirred up gentry and nobles stated that if the Jews returned home, they would do the same. As this was a critical condition, it was referred to the central government. When they learned of the situation, they advised the commandant to yield “to the will of the people”.