KONIN, town in the province of Poznan, central Poland. The Jewish settlement there was among the first 12 to be established in Poland. The earliest information on the Jews of Konin dates from 1397. At the close of the 15th century approximately 150 Jews lived in the town, inhabiting 12 wooden houses, and engaged in moneylending, commerce, and crafts. After a great fire there, the number of Jews decreased considerably. During the early years of the 18th century the Jewish settlement again began to grow. According to the census of 1765, 30 Jewish families, comprising 133 individuals who were liable to poll tax, lived in Konin. Between 1580 and 1764 the local Jews were affiliated with the community of kalisz . A magnificent synagogue was erected in Konin (1763–66), later (1829) decorated by the Jewish artist Zanvel Barash of Kepno. After Konin passed to Russia (in 1815, becoming part of Congress Poland), it became an important center for trade with Germany, and the Jewish population increased. It numbered 369 in 1807, 872 (24% of the total) in 1827, 2,006 (39%) in 1857, 2,502 in 1897. Wealthy Jews engaged in the wholesale trade of salt and timber and established flour mills and a textile industry. From 1810 to 1849, the rabbi of Konin was Ẓevi Amsterdam. He was succeeded by Ẓevi Auerbach of Leszno. The last rabbi of Konin, Jacob Lipshitz, officiated from 1906 until the annihilation of the community in 1941. During World War I, Jewish political organizations became active. A Zionist society was formed, consisting of about 200 members in 1915. The bund and Po'alei Zion were also active, and a maccabi sports group was established. A Jewish wine merchant, Bernard Danziger, was appointed mayor of the town. According to the Polish census of 1921, there were   2,902 Jews in Konin (29% of the total population). Between 1920 and 1929, a Jewish secondary school functioned which was attended by 200 pupils. Its directors included the physicist leopold infeld . A Jewish library was opened in 1902. In 1933, a training kibbutz of He-Ḥalutz was organized. (Arthur Cygielman) -Holocaust Period There were approximately 3,000 Jews living in Konin in 1939. After the occupation of Konin by the Germans they took Jewish hostages, some of whom were executed in the market place on the Day of Atonement. On the following day the rabbi of Konin and other Jewish leaders were forced to clean the streets and to perform other humiliating tasks. A few days later many Jewish families were forced to evacuate their homes within ten minutes, and 1,100 evicted Jews were deported to the Kielce district. In the middle of July 1940 the Jewish community of Konin was liquidated when the local Jews with Jewish refugees who had arrived there were expelled to ghettos in central Poland and the rest were murdered in the forests. A small Jewish labor camp with about 1,000 persons existed near Konin until August 1943. (Danuta Dombrowska) -BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Gelbart (ed.), Kehillat Konin bi-Feriḥatah u-ve-Ḥurbanah (1968); B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wieku XIX i XX (1930), 26; I. Trunk, in: Bleter far Geshikhte, 1 (1948), 114–69; D. Dąbrowska, in: BŻIH, no. 13–14 (1955).

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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