Tykocin (Tiktin, טיקטין)

Tykocin (Tiktin, טיקטין) is an old, small town in north-eastern Poland, with 1,800 inhabitants (1998), located on the Narew river. The name of Tykocin was first mentioned in the 11th century. In 1522 the noble family of Gashtold, who owned Tykocin, invited ten Jewish families from *Grodno to settle there. They were given sites for homes and were later allowed to establish shops, a synagogue, a cemetery, and an autonomous community. A charter (1536) provided that the rabbi and the head of the town council should jointly judge cases between a Jew and a gentile. By 1576 there were 54 houses owned by Jews, who engaged in wholesale trading of salt, spices, and cloth. Their rights were confirmed by special royal privileges in 1576 and 1639. In 1642 a baroque synagogue was erected, which until 1740 was the finest building in the town (it still stood in 1970, preserved as a historical site, although the Nazis ruined the interior and the women’s section).