Main Square in Opatów
|• Total||9.36 km2 (3.61 sq mi)|
|• Density||710/km2 (1,800/sq mi)|
|Area code(s)||+48 15|
Opatów ( [ɔˈpatuf] (
Tourist attractions include a 12th-century Collegiate Church of St. Martin, 15th-century baroque Bernardine monastery, 16th-century city gate, and several other notable buildings.
In the Middle Ages, Opatów was a settlement on the Opatówka River, in an area of forests and lakes. It was founded as a stronghold of the early Polish state in the late 10th or early 11th century. First mentioned in 1189, it was the residence of the regional ruler (Castellan) and one of the largest settlements of the Sandomierz Land. First church was built here sometime in the 11th century. In the 12th century, St. Martin collegiate church was built as well. The purpose of the collegiate church is not known, it was probably designed for a Roman Catholic diocese which was created in Sandomierz instead.
In 1232, Polish Duke Henry the Bearded transferred Opatów to Lawrence, Bishop of Lubusz. In 1237, it was granted privileges that regularized the status of its residents and in 1282 it received the status of a city with wide privileges. In the first half of the 14th century, Bishop of Lubusz Stefan II decided to move the center of the town to the hill near the collegiate church. New town was called Great Opatów (Opatów Wielki), also Magnum Oppathow and Magna Opatow.
For centuries, until the Partitions of Poland, Opatów was an important regional center of Lesser Poland. During an invasion of the Tartars (1502), the town was destroyed. In 1514, it was transferred to Krzysztof Szydłowiecki, who restored it, surrounded with a defensive wall, built a castle and offices for the local government, and improved the water supply to the residents. Opatów had two annual fairs and two market days a week. It was a private town, administratively located in the Sandomierz County in the Sandomierz Voivodeship in the Lesser Poland Province of the Polish Crown.In the 16th century, Opatów had a population of roughly 4,000 and was the biggest town of the province, even bigger than Sandomierz. The town was a center of political life of the Voivodeship; here General Sejmiks of the Lesser Poland Szlachta nobility took place. In 1551 Opatów burned almost completely. The great fire marked a slow decline of the town. In 1655, Opatów was destroyed in the Swedish invasion of Poland. The town also suffered during other conflicts including the Great Northern War, the Bar Confederation, the Polish–Russian War of 1792, and the Kościuszko Uprising. It belonged to a number of noble families (Tarnowski family, Ostrogski family, Lubomirski family, Potocki family, and Karski family), and remained in private hands until 1864.
In the 18th century, Opatów became home to a number of Greeks, who had escaped to Poland from the Turkish occupation of their homeland (see Ottoman Greece). They were allowed to open Orthodox churches. In 1778, an Orthodox parish of St Nicholas was opened, which in 1837 was moved to Radom.
The town was annexed by Austria in the Third Partition of Poland in 1795, in 1809 regained by Poles and included within the short-lived Duchy of Warsaw, in 1815 it fell to the Russian Partition of Poland. During the January Uprising, two battles took place in Opatów between Russians and II Corps of General Józef Hauke-Bosak. Poles captured the town on November 25, 1863, and withdrew with seized Russian guns and ammunition. On February 21, 1864, the second battle took place. It was one of the largest skirmishes of the uprising, and it ended in Polish defeat. Polish commander Ludwik Zwierzdowskiwas executed by the Russians at the market square on February 23, 1864. Poland eventually regained independence in 1918, after World War I. In 1924 a monument to Ludwik Zwierzdowski was erected at the market square.
During the joint German–Soviet invasion of Poland, which started World War II, in September 1939, Opatów was invaded and afterwards occupied by Germany. In 1939, the Germans ordered the demolition of the Ludwik Zwierzdowski monument, so the local mayor buried it to preserve it, thanks to which it was restored after the war.In 1940 the Germans carried out mass arrests of Poles as part of the AB-Aktion . Poles arrested in March were either deported to Nazi concentration camps or massacred in Góry Wysokie, while those arrested in June were imprisoned and tortured in Skarżysko-Kamienna and then murdered. Opatów was a large center of the Polish underground resistance movement. Underground Polish press printed in nearby Sandomierz was distributed in Opatów since 1940, and from November 1943 a secret Polish printing house was also launched in Opatów. On March 11, 1943, the Germans carried out mass arrests of local Poles, including resistance members. On the night of March 12–13, 1943, a Polish underground partisan unit Jędrusie, together with soldiers of the Home Army, carried out an successful attack on the local German prison and liberated 80 prisoners, before the Germans would deport them elsewhere. In June 1944, the Home Army assassinated the local Gestapo chief Otto Schultz.
Opatów was the first town in the Sandomierz Voivodeship, in which Jews settled.The original Jewish privileges were issued in 1545 by the Grand Crown Hetman Jan Tarnowski, the starost of Sandomierz and the owner of Opatów. Local Jewish community was first mentioned in the books of the Roman Catholic ecclesiastical Chapter in 1612.
Prior to World War II, Opatów had a substantial Jewish population. Known as 'Apt' in Yiddish, Opatów became home to 6,000 Jews with a history of rich cultural and religious life. Best known from among the locals was the 18th century Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heshel (Apter Rebbe), who was instrumental in the development of the Chasidic movement, and the famous Noda Be'Yehuda of Prague, one of the leading halakhic authorities of 18th Century Europe. Jewish life in Apt has been chronicled by Professor Gershon Hundert in his 1992 book The Jews in a Private Polish Town, drawing upon a variety of sources from the history of Jews in Poland.The work describes the demographic and historical background as well as the structure of the Jewish community of Apt (Opatów) with a population numbering about 2,000 in 1765, exceptionally large for any Jewish shtetl in the 18th century Europe. The town's Jewish inhabitants enjoyed considerable prominence also in the following centuries. Hundert uses the Jewish Opatów as a case study for Polish Jewry. More than three-quarters of them lived on private lands of powerful magnate aristocrats known as the Szlachta. Hundert's work also describes the vibrant interaction of the Jews of Apt with their Polish Christian neighbours. It is a challenge to previous historiography which describes Jewish life in Poland in alleged isolation.
During World War II the community was herded into the new Opatów Ghetto set up by Nazi Germany along the Joselewicza, Zatylna, Wąska and Starowałowa Streets. The ghetto held about ten thousand Jews. It was destroyed during the Holocaust in Poland,with about 8,000 Ghetto inmates deported to Treblinka extermination camp throughout October 1942 and additional 2,000 Jews sent to labour camps never to return. Only about 300 of Opatów's pre-war Jewish population of around 5000 survived.
After the war, the city developed textiles and food manufacturing industries. The new housing estate and a Cultural Centre were built. Currently, the city sees its opportunities in the further development of tourism. However, there is no train station in Opatów – the nearest station is in Ostrowiec, 17 kilometres (11 mi) distance. Communication network consists of a city bus and private bus companies. The key focus areas of municipal government are the development of technical infrastructure, tourism, small business, attracting investors, and the promotion of education as well as the city itself. Traditional occupations and sources of income include agricultural farms, crafts, services and trade.
Opatów is twinned with:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Opatów .|
Płock is a city in central Poland, on the Vistula river. It is in the Masovian Voivodeship, having previously been the capital of the Płock Voivodeship (1975–1998). According to the data provided by GUS on 31 December 2019 there were 119,425 inhabitants in the city. Its full ceremonial name, according to the preamble to the City Statute, is Stołeczne Książęce Miasto Płock. It is used in ceremonial documents as well as for preserving an old tradition.
Łuków is a city in eastern Poland with 30,727 inhabitants. Since 1999, it has been situated in the Lublin Voivodeship, previously it had belonged to the Siedlce Voivodeship. It is the capital of Łuków County.
Kozienice is a town in central Poland with 21,500 inhabitants (1995). Located four miles from the Vistula, it is the capital of Kozienice County.
Sandomierz is a historical town in south-eastern Poland with 23,863 inhabitants (2017), situated in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship since 1999. It is the capital of Sandomierz County. Sandomierz is known for its preserved Old Town, a major cultural and tourist attraction which was declared a National Monument of Poland in 2017. In the past, Sandomierz used to be one of the most important urban centers not only of Lesser Poland, but also of the whole country. It was a royal city of the Polish Crown and a regional administrative centre from the High Middle Ages to the 19th century.
Łosice is a town in eastern Poland. It is situated in Masovian Voivodeship ; previously it was in Biała Podlaska Voivodeship (1975–1998). It is currently the seat of Łosice County.
The history of Jews in Poland dates back at least 1,000 years. For centuries, Poland was home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world. Poland was a principal center of Jewish culture, because of the long period of statutory religious tolerance and social autonomy which ended after the Partitions of Poland in the 18th century. During World War II there was a nearly complete genocidal destruction of the Polish Jewish community by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, during the German occupation of Poland between 1939 and 1945, called the Holocaust. Since the fall of communism in Poland, there has been a renewed interest in Jewish culture, featuring an annual Jewish Culture Festival, new study programs at Polish secondary schools and universities, and the opening of Warsaw's Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
Przysucha is a town in Poland. Located in historic Lesser Poland, it is part of the Masovian Voivodeship, about 100 km southwest of Warsaw and 40 km west of Radom. It is the capital of Przysucha County, and the town 6,762 inhabitants (2004). Its name in Yiddish is פשיסחא or פשיסכא. In the past, it was home to a number of Hasidic Rabbis, such as The Holy Jew and Simcha Bunim of Peshischa.
Ożarów is a town in Poland, in the province of Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, in Opatów county, historic Lesser Poland, with 4,906 inhabitants as of December 31, 2004. Ożarów received its town charter in 1569, during the Polish Golden Age, lost it in 1869, and regained in 1988. The town lies in eastern part of the province, some fifteen kilometers west of the Vistula river. Ożarów's coat of arms is the Rawa, which was used by the Ozarowski family.
Kock is a town in eastern Poland, about 45 kilometres north of Lublin and 120 kilometres south-east of Warsaw. It lies in Lublin Voivodeship, in Lubartów County. It is the capital of the administrative district Gmina Kock. Historically Kock belongs to the Polish province of Lesser Poland and is located in its northeastern corner. As of 2004, its population numbered 3,509.
Zwoleń is a town in Poland, in Masovian Voivodeship, about 30 kilometres east of Radom. It is the capital of Zwoleń County. Population is 8,048 (2009). Zwoleń belongs to Sandomierz Land of the historic province of Lesser Poland, and is located on the Zwoleńka river.
Brzeziny is a town in Poland, in Łódź Voivodeship, about 20 km east of Łódź. It is the capital of Brzeziny County and has a population of 12,514 (2016). It once was a thriving Jewish shtetl noted for its tailors.
Staszów is a town in Poland, in Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, about 54 kilometres southeast of Kielce, and 120 km (75 mi) northeast of Kraków. It is the capital of Staszów County. The population is 15,108 (2010), which makes it the 8th largest urban center of the province. The area of the town is 26,88 km2, and its two rivers are the Desta and the Czarna Staszowska.
Iłża is a small town in Masovian Voivodeship, Poland. In 2006 Iłża had approximately 5,165 inhabitants. The town belongs to the historical region of Lesser Poland, and from its foundation until 1795, it was part of Lesser Poland’s Sandomierz Voivodeship. Iłża lies in Malopolska Upland, on the Iłżanka river, 30 kilometres south of Radom, and is situated along National Road Nr. 9, which is part of European route E371.
Frysztak is a village and former shtetl in the Gmina Frysztak, Strzyżów County, Subcarpathian Voivodeship, Poland, 17 km (11 mi) from Krosno. Frysztak lies in historic Lesser Poland, and in 1772–1918 it was part of Austrian province of Galicia. It is located on a hillock near the river Wisłok, on the road from Rzeszów to Krosno. The village had a high Jewish population until its Jews were concentrated in the Frysztak Ghetto and eventually murdered during the Holocaust in Poland.
Iwaniska is a village in Opatów County, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, in south-central Poland. It is the seat of the gmina called Gmina Iwaniska. It lies approximately 14 kilometres (9 mi) south-west of Opatów and 50 km (31 mi) east of the regional capital Kielce. The village has a population of 1,300, and used to be a town in 1403–1869.
The Opatów Ghetto was a World War II ghetto set up by Nazi Germany for the purpose of persecution and exploitation of local Jews in the town of Opatów during the German occupation of Poland. The approximate number of Jewish people confined to the ghetto was about ten thousand, including a group of expelees from the Czech Republic and Austria. Beginning in January 1942 the SS conducted mass shooting actions at the Jewish cemetery in Opatów where the bodies of the Ghetto victims were also buried by the hundreds.
Gershon David Hundert is a noted Canadian historian of Early Modern Polish Jewry and Leanor Segal Professor at McGill University.