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PIOTRKOW:

Town in Russian Poland, near Warsaw. For some time Piotrkow was the seat of the Polish diet. At the diet of 1538, held there, it was enacted that no Jew should be permitted to farm the taxes, and that Jews should wear distinctive garments, "so that they might be distinguished from Christians." Anti-Jewish laws were passed also by the diets of 1562, 1563, and 1565, these diets being influenced by the Jesuits. The Jewish community of Piotrkow, however, is specifically mentioned for the first time in 1567, when two Jews, Isaac Borodavka and Mendel Isaakovich, were tax-farmers in that town ("Gramoty Velikikh Knyazei Litovskikh," p. 104). In the disastrous time between 1648 and 1658, the period of the Cossack uprising, the Jewish community of Piotrkow suffered with the other communities in Poland. There were then fifty families there, "almost all the members of which were killed" by the Cossacks ("Le-Ḳorot ha-Gezerot," v. 19). In 1897 Piotrkow had a large Jewish community, having one synagogue, several houses of prayer, and thirty-six Hebrew schools. An old and celebrated Hebrew printing-press is established there. The town has a total population of 24,866.

Bibliography:
  • Entziklopedicheski Slovar, xxiii. 472;
  • Grätz, Gesch. (Hebrew transl.) vii. 318, 328; viii. 152;
  • Regesty, i., No. 551.
H. R. A. S. W.
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