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Heritage Trail of the Lublin Jews

Heritage Trail of the Lublin Jews

Colour: blue
Stations: 13
Duration: 3 - 4 hours

Lublin is one of the Polish cities where the Hebrew culture could develop freely over the centuries. Flourishing Hebrew sciences caused the city to be called the Jerusalem of the Polish Kingdom, and even the Jewish Oxford.

In the 16th century, the first Hebrew books and prayer books were published in Lublin. In 1578, a famous printing house was established by Kalonymos, the son of Mordechaj Jaffe. The printing and publishing traditions were maintained in the 19th century by Samuel Arct, subsequently relocating them to Warsaw. In the 16th-17th century, the Council of Four Lands (Waad Arba Aracot) operated in Lublin, acting as a local authority for all Jews in Poland. In the 18th century, Jacob Isaac Horowitz, the father of Polish Chassidism, known as the ‘Seer of Lublin’, was born in Lublin, where he also gave teachings and finally died.

Our city was made famous all over the world by Isaac Bashevis Singer from the region of Lubelszczyzna, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, who showed the life of a Jewish character in the 19th-century’s reality in one of his well-known novels entitled The Magician of Lublin. The first reference to Lublin Jews comes from the second half of the 15th century; most likely, the Jewish district already existed back then. The main settlement, religious, political and administrative centre for Lublin Jews was the area around the castle, together with part of the Old Town. Subsequently, these lands became known as the Jewish city. Jewish settlements were also developed in the district of Kalinowszczyzna, in Piaski, known as Kazimierz Żydowski (the area of today’s railway station), and in Wieniawa. A significant share of the population of Lublin was always Jewish; for instance, in 1602 probably around 2,000 Jewish people were living here, while the entire city had around 8,000 residents; in 1865, 39.2% residents were Jewish, whereas in 1931 it was 34.6% of all Lublin residents – i.e. 38,937 people.

As a consequence of the extermination of the Jewish nation carried out by the German Nazis during the Second World War, together with the demolition of entire districts, synagogues and cemeteries, only part of the buildings which are a testament to the daily life, culture and customs of Lublin Jews can still be seen today.



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