The “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre is a local government cultural institution based in Lublin. It works towards the preservation of cultural heritage and education. Its function is tied to the symbolic and historical meaning of the Centre’s location in the Grodzka Gate, which used to divide Lublin into its respective Christian and Jewish quarters, as well as to Lublin as a meeting place of cultures, traditions and religions.

Part of the Centre are the House of Words and the Lublin Underground Trail.

The “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre is a local government cultural institution based in Lublin. It works towards the preservation of cultural heritage and education. Its function is tied to the symbolic and historical meaning of the Centre’s location in the Grodzka Gate, which used to divide Lublin into its respective Christian and Jewish quarters, as well as to Lublin as a meeting place of cultures, traditions and religions.

Part of the Centre are the House of Words and the Lublin Underground Trail.

Frampol – the shtetl

The history of the Jewish community in Frampol begins between the first quarter and the middle of the 18th century. An independent kahal with its own cemetery existed here from 1735 or 1736.

 

History of the Jewish community in Frampol

Frampol was incorporated as a private town probably in 1717 or 1736. Situated at the intersection of trade routes from Szczebrzeszyn to Janów and from Biłgoraj to Goraj, the town relied on trade, crafts and agriculture. Frampol was inhabited by Poles (Catholics) and Ukrainians (Orthodox Christians) as well as Jews.

In the interwar period, Frampol was the seat of a commune (gmina) that originally belonged to the county (powiat) of Zamość and later, following the administrative reform in 1932, to the county of Biłgoraj. Thanks to the Jewish entrepreneurs, the textile and weaving industry developed in Frampol. Besides, there were leather processing plants, a dozen or so Jewish tailors and shoemakers, and more than ten stores and stalls owned by Jews.

The history of the Jewish community in Frampol begins between the first quarter and the middle of the 18th century. An independent kahal with its own cemetery existed here from 1735 or 1736.
In 1764, Frampol had 125 Jewish residents, i.e. 20 percent of the town’s total population. By 1878, the number of Jews had increased to 1189, accounting for 55 percent of all inhabitants. Until the Second World War, the religious makeup of the populace remained practically unchanged.
A brick synagogue was built in Frampol prior to 1878. In 1939, there was one large synagogue and four houses of prayer, as well as a mikveh and butchers’ stalls. Two ritual slaughterers are known to have worked in Frampol before the outbreak of the Second World War: Jankiel Kapr and Lejb Krajndl.
The interwar shtetl of Frampol was described by Isaac Bashevis Singer in his short stories:  A Tale of Three Wishes, The Gentleman from Cracow, and The Invisible.

Charitable institutions

Between the two world wars, many charitable institutions related to the Jewish community were active in Frampol, including Bikur Cholim (Caring for the Sick)and Linas Hacedek (Society for Helping the Poor and the Sick). The community also paid benefits to the poorest residents and supported the activity of an interest-free loans association.

Education

Until the end of the 19th century, there was only one cheder in Frampol, attended by all Jewish boys from the town aged 4 to 8 years. By 1903, the number of cheders had risen to three, which reflected the growth of the Jewish population of Frampol. Subjects taught at a cheder were related to Judaism and Jewish culture. In 1939, a Talmud Torah school operated in Frampol. Funded entirely by the Jewish community, it was open to children from the poorest families. The curriculum was the same as the one followed at the cheder. From 1921, Jewish religious schools were supervised by the government authorities.

The Jewish cemetery

The location of the cemetery in the north-western part of the town was determined already at the stage when the entire town layout was planned, i.e. circa 1717. People were buried here from at least 1736. The Jewish cemetery, partially devastated during anti-Semitic incidents in 1938, survived the Second World War, and was destroyed after the war by the local residents who considered the gravestones and pieces of the cemetery wall a valuable building material. What remains of the Jewish cemetery today are about 160 gravestones (in some cases only fragments); most of them date back to the 19th century, but five matzevot (three of them only partially preserved) originate from the 18th century.

The Holocaust

On 13 September 1939, approximately 90 per cent of buildings in Frampol were destroyed during a German air raid. In October and November 1942, the Germans organized an "action" directed against the Jewish population of Frampol. Some people were shot at the Jewish cemetery, some were deported to the Majdanek concentration camp, and some were taken to the Bełżec death camp. In July 1943, the Polish residents were displaced from Frampol. On 22 July 1944, the town was liberated by partisans of the Home Army and the Peasants’ Battalions.


 

Text by Joanna Zętar

Translation revised by Jarosław Kobyłko