Jews played an important role in the development of Polish industry during the nineteenth century, both as businessmen, as well as in trade. Often, they were involved in several different kinds of activities, such as banking and production.

In the Kingdom of Poland, they helped establish the textile, sugar, and tobacco industries. In the sugar industry, the Epstein family was especially important (the "Hermanow", "Lyszkowice" and "Konstancja" sugar refineries), as was L. Kronenberg ("Tomczyn" and "Ostrowiec" sugar refineries). The following industrialists were active in Lodz: I. Poznanski (1833-1900), M. Silberstein, A. Gerszon, A. Likiernik, M. Elbinger, M. Zand, H. Konsztat, M. Szlosberg, A. Stiller, H. Wolfson, S. Barczynski, O. Kon, B. and N. Ejtingon (Eitingon).

These were pioneers of the textile industry that had been developing in Poland since the mid-nineteenth century, whose main markets were Russia and the Far East. The textile industry also established itself in the Bialystok district, where there were many small-scale Jewish and German manufacturers, as well as a few larger enterprises. After the First World War, the J. A. Grosslajt joint stock company not only ran its own production, but also provided financial support to the textile industry as it was rebuilding.

In Warsaw, a company founded by J. Orzech was producing finely woven textiles, such as muslin and cambric. In Tomaszow, near Lodz, the Landsberg family had one of the largest interwar Polish factories producing synthetic silk; the Bornseins were engaged in the manufacture of broadcloth, and Szeps produced carpets, runners, and transmission belts. The clothes industry developed mostly in the area of small goods manufacturing (crafts).

It was only in the 1920's and 1930's that large-scale companies were founded. Factories producing ready-made women's and men's clothing were located in Tarnow (the "Wurzl i Daar" company and "B-cia Braun" ("Braun Brothers") and in Bielsk (Langfeder factories). The firm "Opus" (Lewin and Rappaport), located in Warsaw, was the largest men's underwear company in Poland, and one of the largest in Europe. In shoe manufacturing, during the interwar period, crafts production was gradually replaced by machinery. Jewish firms were also involved in this process, including J. Brochis and J. Himelfarb.

The proportion of Jews employed in the textile and clothing industries was very high. This tendency persisted during the first years of independence; thus, after the crash in the textile and clothing sector in 1932, the pauperization of the Jewish population deepened.

The Jewish contribution to the development of other sectors of the economy was also significant. The oil industry had been developing in Galicia since the mid-nineteenth century in Boryslaw, Drohobycz and Kolomyja. It was primarily Jews who were engaged both in its business aspects as well as in production; these included the Schreir, Lauterbach, Goldhammer, Lieberman and Friedman families. The rising cost of drilling meant the Jewish companies' position weakened. When Poland regained its independence, most of the oil fields were taken over by companies and large foreign investors.

The tobacco industry was another branch that Jewish businessmen built from the ground up. Many famous tobacco-processing plants ceased to exist when the independent Polish state introduced the State Tobacco Monopoly. These included the Fabryka Papierosow (Cigarette Factory) in Warsaw, the "Progres" ("Progress") cigar factory (the largest in the Russian Empire), and the Szereszowski factories in Grodno.

The lumber industry was a traditionally Jewish domain-from the Zaklady przemyslowe ("Industrial Plants") founded by J. G. Bloch, trade and shipping enterprises, to small companies specializing in windows and furniture, such as the Krygier, Schalit, Z. Heller and H. Leszczynski companies. The largest factories, producing plywood, were founded by N. Heller in Miklaszewicze. Bronislaw and Boleslaw Ejger played a large role in the cement, lime, and brick-making industries. They owned the cement factories "Wolyn", "Wysoka" and "Ros", and were also active in politics and the community. The following enterprises were also significant: "Checiny" (J. and K. Hemple), "Janina" (C. Ingber), "Kadzielnica" (S. and S. Erlich), "Saturn" (J. Dawidowicz) and "Wierzbnia" (S. Zagajewski).
In the Kingdom of Poland, A. Oppenheim, S. Halber and H. Doktorowicz were involved in brick manufacturing. In Cz�stochowa, the following businessmen were active: S. Helman ("Michalina" ceramics factory), T. Hafftka ("Sw. Barbara", engineering works), and S. Kornberg ("Liska" brick factory). Leading glass manufacturers included Towarzystwo Akcyjne Fabryki Szkla ("Glass Factory Joint Stock Society") in Zawiercie, "Feniks" in Piotrkow and "Geha" Joint Stock Company in Lodz. In the metallurgy industry, the three-generation Wolanowski family played an important role (Warszawskie Fabryki Srub i Drutow, "Warsaw Screw and Wire Factories"), M. Hochberg ("S�owianin" factory in Konskie) and L. Starke (factory manufacturing ironware in Kielce and Suchedniow). In the field of galvanization, S. F�rstenberg led the way, which meant Poland was no longer forced to depend on expensive imports during the interwar period. J. Birbaum, founder of the "Strem" Chemical Factory in Strzemieszyce, was a prominent figure in the chemical industry. W. Sachs, A. Wolberg and H. and J. Markusfeld were active in Czestochowa. In 1923, S. Halperin founded a small plant for the manufacture of galoshes, which in 1927 became a joint stock company called Polski Przemysl Gumowy "Polish Rubber Industry" (hence the Polish nickname for tennis shoes-pepegi). The first gramophone record factory in Polish lands, "Towarzystwo Syrena-Rekord" ("Syrena-Record Society"), was founded in 1904 by J. Feigenbaum. It was the leading manufacturer on the Polish market. A. Feigenbaum founded factories producing gramophone mechanisms, which almost completely shut out Swiss imports. The Jewish role in the soap manufacturing industry was of fundamental importance, from the Natanson and Epstein families to the small factories in almost every small town of central and eastern Poland, which produced for the local market. In the paper industry, the Szwarcsztein family had the largest mills: they owned the Kluczew Paper Mill, still in existence today. The following paper mills were also Jewish-owned: Albertynska Fabryka Tektury ("Albertine Cardboard Factory", owned by the Zaron brothers), Czestochowska Fabryka Papieru ("Czestochowa Paper Mill") (Kon and Markusfeld families), Mirkowska Fabryka Papieru ("Mirkow Paper Factory"), Nowowerkowska Fabryka Papieru ("Nowowerkow Paper Mill") (Olejnik and Szbad families), among others.

Hundreds of other small factories also existed, often as cottage industry, producing packaging and paper consumer goods. In the food manufacturing branch, Jews specialized in the production of spirits, yeast, oil (such as the "Potokol" factory, which specialized in kosher margarine), beer (such as the Lwowskie Towarzystwo Browarow ["Lwow Association of Breweries"] and the Rebhana brewery in Przemysl). The most famous candy factories were the "Plutos" chocolate factory and the "Suchard" factory in Krakow founded by the Luks family.

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