Sunday, August 8, 2021

Where My Ancestors Lived: Warka, Poland

I am beginning a series of posts where I provide information about the towns where my ancestors lived. Geography is an essential part of genealogy and family history. We need to know where to look for records, and what we learn about the towns fills in information about how our ancestors may have lived.

I am beginning with Warka, Poland, where my Newmark and Cantkert ancestors resided in the late 19th century, leaving in 1893. Either branch may have at one time resided nearby in Warsaw, but that is not certain. I believe my great grandfather, Barney Newmark, was born in Warka. While a small town, it was apparently a heavily Jewish town.

Warka, Poland 

Warka is a town in central Poland, situated in Grójec County, currently in the Masovian Voivodeship, but in the Warsaw Voivodeship prior to 1939. Latitude: 51°47'00 Longitude: 21°12'00 

Warka obtained its city charter in 1321. A village called Winiary, which today is part of Warka, was the countryside residence of the Pulaski family where General Casimir Pulaski spent his childhood. Pulaski is known for his assistance in the American Revolution, and there is a Casimir Pulaski Day on the first Monday of March in Illinois, celebrated mostly in areas of large Polish population, such as Chicago. Warka has also been known for its famous brewery since the 15th century. 

Jews settled in Warka in the second half of the 18th century. In 1800, 339 Jews lived in Warka, which was 51.5% of the total population. In 1921 the percentage had held with 50.5%. Warka is known for a Hasidic dynasty, and its founder, Isaac Kalish (1779–1848), became one of the most noted ẓaddikim in central Poland in the first half of the 19th century. After the outbreak of World War II, many Jews escaped Warka, seeking refuge in the Soviet occupation zone. In 1940 many died of disease in the ghetto. In February 1941, Jews were deported from Warka to Treblinka. Few survived.

Sources and more info: 

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