Izbica [izˈbit͡sa] (Yiddish: איזשביצע Izhbitz, Izhbitze) is a village in Krasnystaw County, Lublin Voivodeship, in eastern Poland. It is the seat of the gmina (administrative district) called Gmina Izbica. It lies approximately 13 kilometres (8 mi) south of Krasnystaw and 59 km (37 mi) south-east of the regional capital Lublin. It has a population of 1,933.
First mentioned in 1419, Izbica became a town in 1750 (previously the unconcluded right was issued in 1540). A notable centre of trade and commerce, with time the town became a shtetl, a town inhabited primarily by Jews. In 1760 the city charter was reaffirmed. After the partitions of Poland in 1772 the town was annexed by Austria and then reclaimed by the Duchy of Warsaw in 1809. After the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte it became a part of the Kingdom of Poland. In 1827 it had 51 houses and 407 inhabitants, all of them Jewish. In the 19th century the town was a notable centre of Hasidic Judaism, particularly thanks to the tzadik Grand Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner and his son Grand Rabbi Yaacov Leiner, who established the Hasidic dynasty of Ishbitz. After the January Uprising of 1863 against the Russian Empire, in which many of the local inhabitants took part, the town was deprived of its city rights and attached to the nearby commune of Tarnogóra.
After Poland regained her independence in the aftermath of World War I, the village grew significantly. In 1921 it had roughly 3,000 inhabitants. By 1939, the number grew to roughly 6,000. The village expanded particularly because of the Lublin-Zamość thoroughfare and a railway to Zamość which opened in 1917.
During World War II, Nazi Germans set up the Izbica transit ghetto in Izbica, which served as a transfer point for Jews deported from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland, to the extermination camps in Belzec and Sobibor. Of all Jews of Izbica (over 90% of its prewar population), only 14 survived the Holocaust. The property in Izbica that was once occupied by Jews is now occupied by others.
Points of interest
- Skierbieszów Landscape Park, protected area established in 1995
- Działy Grabowieckie, forested geological formation featuring deep ravines and valles
- Jewish cemetery (kirkut) in Izbica (pictured)
- Monument to victims of independence movements from 1863, 1920, 1939 and 1940
- Historic water tower from 1911
Twin towns – Sister cities
Izbica is twinned with:
- Winterlingen, Germany
- (German) IZBICA - Drehkreuz des Todes (Turnstile of death) - a German TV-Documentation
- (Polish) An interview with Tomasz Blatt - the ghetto survivor