Stawiski [staˈvʲiskʲi] is a town in northeastern Poland, situated within Kolno County, in Podlaskie Voivodeship, approximately 16 kilometres (10 miles) east of Kolno and 74 kilometres (46 miles) west of the regional capital Białystok. Stawiski is the administrative seat of Gmina Stawiski. From 1946 to 1975 it belonged administratively to Białystok Voivodeship, and from 1975 to 1998 to Łomża Voivodeship. The town is situated on the Dzierzbia River.
Stawiski panorama with the view of Church at the Main Square
|• Total||13.28 km2 (5.13 sq mi)|
|• Density||180/km2 (480/sq mi)|
Stawiski was established in 1407–1411. It received city rights around 1688. The Franciscan Order built a monastery there in 1791. The monks were expelled from Stawiski in 1867 during the Partitions, as punishment for supporting the Polish January Uprising against the Russian imperial rule. The town was destroyed by fire in 1812 in the course of the French campaign against Russia, and rebuilt again, to become trades and commercial centre known for its furs, fabrics and hats in Congress Poland. Stawiski was burned to the ground once more during the Russian–Prussian war of 1915, soon before the re-establishment of the sovereign Republic of Poland. The Polish army fought a battle with the Bolsheviks there in July 1920 during the Polish-Soviet War.
Jewish life in Stawiski had been separate from that of the rest of the town's inhabitants. The Jews had established many institutions of their own, including synagogues and Jewish schools and libraries. By 1932, over 50% of Stawiski's population, some 2,000 persons, was Jewish.
During the Invasion of Poland in September 1939, Stawiski was initially occupied by Germany. During the month-long German occupation, German soldiers raped Jewish women and plundered Jewish property. Some Poles who had been ordered to supervise Jewish labor brigades humiliated the conscripted workers. After a Stawiski priest blamed the Jews for the murder of some German soldiers, the Germans executed several Jews, burned down the small synagogue or perhaps a bet midrash, and set fire to part of the town. The Germans deported a group of able-bodied male Jews (and Christians) to forced labor camps in East Prussia. After some three weeks, the Germans passed control of Stawiski to Soviet forces.[a]
Soviet rule lasted until the Germans returned to the town in June 1941 during Operation Barbarossa. Local Poles welcomed the arriving Germans with flowers, and German army scouts who arrived on 27 June noted the Poles' hatred for the Jews. Local Poles, mostly recently released from Soviet prisons, asked German permission to take revenge on the Jews and killed some 70 of them. In early July 1941 the Germans instigated a pogrom in which Polish mobs armed with iron bars murdered some 300 Jews. Some Poles were motivated by revenge against earlier Soviet supporters. A German Einsatzkommando was present in the town during 4–5 July 1941. A similar, better known, atrocity took place on 10 July 1941 in nearby Jedwabne.
Beginning on 17 August 1941, the Germans[b] executed most of Stawiski's Jewish community. Some 900 able-bodied Jews were killed in a ditch near Mątwica, where Jewish women and children from Kolno and Jews from Mały Płock were also executed. Some 700 persons, mostly infants, the elderly, and the handicapped, were killed in Płaszczatka (or Stawiski) Forest.[c]
Some 60 to 105 Jews remained, mainly skilled workers and their families, who were confined to a ghetto. Some Jews from Stawiski who survived in hiding sought refuge in the Łomża Ghetto, others remained hidden until permitted by the Germans to work as farm laborers.[d] On 2 November 1942 the ghetto was closed and its occupants were transferred to a transit camp in Bogusze, and from there were sent to the Auschwitz and Treblinka extermination camps.[e]
Some 50 Stawiski Jews managed to evade deportation, but most of them were found and executed in subsequent searches. Some of the hiding Jews were denounced by Poles, and at least 11 of them were murdered by local Poles in nearby Mały Płock gmina.[f]
Some of the Stawiski Jews murdered during the war are buried in a mass grave at the Jewish cemetery in the Płaszczatka forest.
The main branch of local economy is agriculture, based on individual arable farms producing crops for local processing as well as raising farm animals for the market. Apart from farming, trade and service industries cover the needs of the inhabitants. The overall number of people employed in the gmina's economy is 3,545. The breakdown of main employment sectors is as follows. Farming and forestry: 2,304. Industry: 177. Trade and services: 727. Education, health services: 288. Administration and policing: 35.
The town's revenue in 2003 (including its surroundings) amounted 4.299 mln zloty. Net income was 900,000 zloty. However, expenses of the commune exceeded its profits in that period, and amounted to 4.679 mln zloty. Gross revenue and net profits fluctuate depending on expenditures in the public sector, such as environmental protection, water management, dump disposal, sewers, etc.
Stawiski is the hometown of the famous chess player Akiba Rubinstein. In the main square, there is a monument to Stanisław Steczkowski Zagończyk, who, together with his four brothers, fought in the underground Polish Home Army in 1942–1945.
- Laura Crago and Elżbieta Rojowska (Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945, 2012): "A Wehrmacht unit from the 21st Infantry Division briefly occupied Stawiski for about three weeks in September 1939. The soldiers raped Jewish women and plundered Jewish stores. Ordered to supervise Jewish labor brigades, some local Poles humiliated the conscripted workers. A Stawiski priest blamed the Jews for the murder of some soldiers. In retaliation, the Germans executed several Jews, burned the small synagogue, or perhaps a Bet Midrash, and set part of Stawiski on fire. The Germans deported a group of able-bodied male Jews (and Christians) to forced labor camps in East Prussia before turning over Stawiski to Soviet forces."
- Postwar investigations placed responsibility on German gendarmes stationed in Kolno and Stawiski, but most Polish historians now think an SS unit from Płock (Schröttersburg), commanded by Obersturmführer Hermann Schaper, was responsible.
- Laura Crago and Elżbieta Rojowska (Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945, 2012): "Beginning on August 17, 1941, the Germans executed almost the entire Stawiski Jewish community. The able-bodied, about 900 people, perished in an antitank ditch outside Msciwuje village, the execution site also of the women and children of the Kolno community and the Jewish residents of Mały Płock. Another approximately 700 Stawiski victims, mostly infants, the elderly, and the handicapped, were executed in the Płaszczatka (or Stawiski) Forest."
- Laura Crago and Elżbieta Rojowska (Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945, 2012): "It consisted of a few homes on about 4,000 square meters (almost 1 acre) of land. Though surrounded by a fence, the ghetto was not guarded from either side. After surviving Jews from Grabowo and other nearby villages were consolidated there, the ghetto population stood at about 105 ... Jews who had survived the mass execution in hiding were not permitted to reside in the Stawiski ghetto ... Rather, they describe either seeking refuge in the ghetto in Łomża or hiding for many months, until the Germans permitted them to work as agricultural laborers for local Poles ..."
- Laura Crago and Elżbieta Rojowska (Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945, 2012) "On November 2, 1942, the Germans liquidated the Stawiski ghetto, driving its residents along with the Stawiski Jews who had lived outside the ghetto to a transit camp in Bogusze, a village located 4.8 kilometers (about 3 miles) north of Grajewo ... The Germans liquidated the transit camp in two deportations ... on December 15–16, 1942, and sent them from there to the Treblinka extermination camp ... on January 3, 1943, about 2,000 inmates were sent to the Auschwitz extermination camp."
- Laura Crago and Elżbieta Rojowska (Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945, 2012): "As many as 50 Stawiski Jews had evaded the Prostken deportation, but most were found in subsequent German searches ... in 1943, another Pole denounced their hiding places ... Another denunciation in August 1943 ... In 1944, at least another 11 Jews, including 6 members of the Rozensztejn family, reportedly were murdered by local Poles in the Mały Płock gmina."
- GUS (2009-06-02), Ludność. Stan i struktura w przekroju terytorialnym. Stan w dniu 31 grudnia 2008 r. (PDF) (in Polish)
- Oficjalna strona miasta Stawiski. (in Polish)
- "Stawiski, Poland [page 17-19; 29-36]". www.jewishgen.org. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
- "Stawiski - Historia i dzieje Stawisk". 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
- Crago, Laura; Rojowska, Elżbieta (2012). "Stawiski". In Dean, Martin; Hecker, Mel (eds.). Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945, Volume II, part A. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. p. 961 (961–963).
- Bender, Sara (2013). "Not Only in Jedwabne: Accounts of the Annihilation of the Jewish Shtetlach in North-eastern Poland in the Summer of 1941". Holocaust Studies. 19 (1): 1–38. doi:10.1080/17504902.2013.11087369.
- Spector, Shmuel; Wigoder, Geoffrey (2001). "Stawiski". The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust: Volume III. New York University Press and Yad Vashem. p. 1240. ISBN 0-8147-9378-9.
- Żbikowski, Andrzej (2007). "Pogroms in Northeastern Poland: Spontaneous Reactions and German Instigations". In Barkan, Elazar; Cole, Elizabeth A.; Struve, Kai (eds.). Shared History, Divided Memory: Jews and Others in Soviet-occupied Poland, 1939–1941. Leipziger Universitätsverlag. p. 347 (315–354). ISBN 978-3-86583-240-5.
- Żbikowski 2007, pp. 337–338.
- Crago & Rojowska 2012, p. 962.
- Sportowy weekend w regionie: Sporo się będzie działo, 31 May 2018, poranny.pl
- GKS Stawiski club.
Media related to Stawiski at Wikimedia Commons