Annexes - The trail of ethnic minorities – the Jews

”Bobowa 10.03 [1931]. On Tuesday in Bobowa there was a wedding of the son of Vice-President of the Jewish Community Council in Kraków Mr. Stempel and the Tzadik’s daughter from Bobowa. read more

Many of the Tzadiks supporters and guests arrived in a special train. On the railway station in Bobowa the wedding guests were welcomed by mounted units and Hasidic infantry in special clothes. The “manor house” in Bobowa made all the guests welcome. The wedding took place at 5 p.m. in the market square of the town and it was attended by many Jews from Bobowa and the local towns. The wedding feast, in which several hundred people took part, went on till the morning.”

[“Nowy Dziennik,” No. 70, Thursday 12.03.1931, as cited in: Karol Majcher, Bobowa. Historia, ludzie, zabytki (Bobowa. History, people, sights), Warsaw 2008, p. 158] 

 

 

“On the Jewish street, officially called Kazimierza Street, there were many shuls, and every shul had its own name: Hasidic, grybowska, Szaniawska, Talmud-Torah, Chevrat Shomrim etc. Among this large number of the houses of prayer the synagogue was a striking exception, probably in every respect. It differed also in its architecture, particularly its interior architecture. (…)”

The synagogue was located on the corner of Berka Joselewicza and Bóżnicza Streets. Its eastern side faced towards the old Jewish cemetery, and the main entrance was from the western side. Besides, it had two emergency exits. You could enter the synagogue from the vestibule via some kind of a glazed box with side swing doors. Only from this place a few wide stairs led to the interior of the synagogue. On the gallery above the main entrance there was a section for women with separate side entrances.

High over the wide interior there was a beautiful, French-polished ceiling skilfully made from oakwood and arranged on thick, square oak beams. In the centre of the synagogue there was a large platform intended for Shulchan-Aruch, and on four sides of this platform four round columns painted with an oil paint imitating marble and supporting the centre of the ceiling stood like symbolic guardians. The platform was surrounded by an iron balustrade with a decorative serpentine design.

The tall, narrow windows on the side walls of the synagogue had a smooth Byzantine arched top, and the colourful glass was gleaming fantastically in these windows which were of the height of a two-storey building.

The benches, made carefully and uniformly from hard, French-polished wood stood in equal rows along the whole length of the interior of the synagogue, and their sloping top made it possible to place prayer books comfortably. The lid opening on the hinges showed internal dividers in which the praying people stored liturgical objects.

In the centre of the eastern wall towards which the praying Jews faced there was a huge Torah ark – a closet intended for the holy Torahs, to which several stairs led. On two sides of the Torah ark two enormous lions sitting on their paws were painted. Their heads were facing each other; they were vigilant and tense, as if they were guarding the holy temple. From the ceiling to the very floor there was painted a gigantic scarlet curtain with long golden strings and a fringe. Directly opposite this wall, over the stairs of the main entrance, there was a fantastically-coloured landscape presenting the grave of foremother Rachel.”

[Albin Kac, Nowy Sącz: miasto mojej młodości (Nowy Sącz - the town of my youth), 1997, p. 38-39]

 

 

”Close to the castle and the bridge over the Dunajec stands a shul. From the outside it is a styleless building with a shingled roof and windows with semi-circle tops; inside it is a beautiful, sophisticated architectural structure. The square room, which has the area of 11 square metres, was divided into nine vaults in the design by the introduction of four pillars in the centre, two pillars near each of the four walls and one pillar in every corner. (…) on them there are arches in the form of squeezed semicircles, which make the square area the base for flat or domed vaults. The middle area is supported by pillars, on which via the pendentives there is a half-free painted dome dominating the other vaults. In the centre of the shul, under this dome which was polychromed with plants in a geometrical arrangement with the signs of the zodiac, there is a brick, plastered platform for singers. Everything has a very unique character, and the whole shul, together with its architecture, bronze candlesticks and bookrests, constitute a very picturesque motif.”

[Władysław Łuszczkiewicz, Sprawozdania Komisyi do badania historyi sztuki w Polsce (Commission Reports on the history of art in Poland), 1891-1896, v. IV, p. LXXXI]

 

The story about a peasant who gave beeches to a Jew (a stereotypical representation)

“There was a peasant who drank his way through all his land. A Jew took the land for the peasant’s debts and paid extra money for the rest. But the peasant drank his way through this sum of money and could not afford to drink more alcohol. When the Jew did not want to give him more money, he went to the landlord’s forest and stole the wood. When he stole the wood, he sold it and again drank in the Jew’s inn. But once the peasant was caught in the forest and the Landlord wanted to give him 25 buki (which means beeches, but also lashes) as a punishment. So the peasant went to the Jew and said ‘Mosiek, give me some alcohol.’ But the Jew refused to give it to him, because he had no money, and threw him out. The peasant returned to the inn and said: ‘You know, Mosiek, I won’t give you money, because I don’t have any, but I’ve been promised 25 beeches in the manor house. If you want, you can buy them.’ ‘But when will I have to go to collect these beeches?’ the Jew asked. ‘You may go even now,’ the peasant said. The Jew thought that the peasant had the wood in mind, gave him alcohol and paid extra money for the rest. And the Jew went to the Landlord to collect the beeches. When he came to the manor house, he said to the Landlord ‘Your Lordship, I’ve come here to collect these beeches which you promised to give to the peasant and which I wanted to buy from the peasant.’ So the landlord told the Jew to wait and called his farmhands, who stretched the Jew out. He got 25 painful lashes on his ass.”

[Zagórzany, told by Jan Sopel, in: Ziemia Biecka. Lud polski w powiatach gorlickim i grybowskim (The Biecz Land. The Polish folk in the Gorlice and Grybów Districts), Nowy Sącz 1994]

 

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