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Polska / śląskie

Synagogues, prayer houses and others Cemeteries Sites of martyrdom Judaica in museums Andere


Province:śląskie / kieleckie (before 1939)
County:będziński / będziński (before 1939)
Community:Będzin / Będzin (before 1939)
Other names:בנדין [ j. hebrajski]; בענדין [j. jidysz]; Бендзин [j. rosyjski]
50.3261° N / 19.1253° E
50°19'33" N / 19°07'31" E


Adam Marczewski

Będzin – a town in southern Poland, district capital in Śląskie Province. It is located 13 km south of Katowice, 280 km south of Warsaw, by the Czarna Przemsza River.




Uroczystości narodowe w Będzinie, 1939 r. | nieznany

The first information about Jews living in Będzin dates back to the end of the 13th century. In the early 14th century, they engaged in trade and money lending and resided along the ramparts of the town, in the area of today Zaułek street, later on Zawała street, and then around Rybna and what is today Berka Joselewicza streets. In the second half of the 16th century, a special envoy Rabbi Israel ben Shmuel (Szmueliwicz, Szmuelowicz) travelled from Będzin to Krakow. There is also mention dating back to 1564 of Jews residing in the Będzin area of Zakamarki.

Będzin Jews were granted rights and freedoms conferred by a mandate on 21 September 1583 by Stefan Batory. Thanks to this privilege, in around 1583, a Kahal was created, wooden synagogue was erected (on today Targowa Street) and a Jewish cemetery was established (in around 1592), situated on the edge of the town. On the walls of the synagogue, 12 Jewish court laws were inscribed. All disputes between Jews and Christians were settled by the Jewish court, which included: a rabbi, a legal advisor and an aldermaen. Hearings, which took place in the synagogue, were also attended by the local governor. Next door was a prison maintained by the local Jewish community. Hearings took place in the synagogue, next to which was a prison maintained by the Jews

The  center of Jewish life in Będzin in the 16th and 17th centuries revolved around the synagogue. The rabbi was a head of the community  with four judges (dayanim), whose task was to manage all social institutions. These included: Chevra Kadisha (burial society), Talmud Torah religious school, hospital fund, and the Maoz Dal fund for the poor. The Kahal also provided a dowry to the poorest brides, clothing to the poor, and loans of a philanthropic nature. As Będzin was near the border, Jewish refugees expelled from other countries often flocked to the the town. Therefore, Kahal institutions often had a lot of work to do. Along with the synagogue there were two cheders and a yeshiva..

In 1616, a huge fire destroyed the town. Many Jews lost the roof over their heads. It is difficult to determine the number of Jews living in Będzin in the 17th century because the community did not report their true numbers in order to avoid paying high taxes (3 guilders per person). On 20 August 1644, Władysław IV confirm


Local history

Stary Rynek w Będzinie - początek XX w. | nieznany

The town of Będzin began as a small settlement at the foot of a ducal castle that oversaw passage on the River Czarna Przemsza. The first documented reference to the village of Będzin dates to the year 1301, when King Kazimierz III Wielki granted it town rights according to the Magdeburg Law. The original wooden fortification was destroyed by a Tatar invasion in 1241, and in 1364, as part of a campaign to fortify part of the border with Czech Silesia, a stone castle and a new fortified wall were built in the town, which still remain after restoration in the 19th and 20th century. The newly fortified stronghold became a non iurisdictione starosty (starostwo niegrodowe).

From the 14th century up until the Partitions, Będzin was a part of the Proszowice County in the Kraków Province. For a short time in 1424, the town served as a centre of Hussitism in Poland. The town was destroyed by an invasion by Duke Jan of Oświęcim in 1475. In the 1500s, the Jewish community in Będzin began to grow in size. In the year 1588, a notable prisoner was held in the town's castle: Archduke Maximilain Habsburg. He would go on to become the King of Poland, only to be defeated in the Battle of Byczyna by Hetman Jan Zamoyski, a supporter of Zygmunt III Waza.

The 17th century was marked by a major fire which consumed the town in 1616 and plunder by the Swedish army in 1655. The town began to recover in the 18th century thanks to the discovery of coal deposits in the area. Towards the end of the Republic, Będzin was home to approximately 1,000 inhabitants.

After 1795, Będzin fell within the Prussian occupation zone (Nowy Śląsk/New Silesia), and after 1807 it belonged to the Duchy of Warsaw, first as part of the Kalisz region and later, after 1809, in the Kraków district. In 1815 it became part of the Kingdom of Poland (the Kraków Province, the Radom Government, and, eventually, the Piotrków Trybunalski Government). In 1825, the first coal mine was opened in Będzin, and it became an important industrial centre of the Zagłębie Dąbrowskie region. The Będzin County was designated out of the Olkusz County in 1867. German troops occupied Będzin during World War I in the years 1914-1918. After the war, the town was incorporated into the Kielce Province.

German forces occupied the town at the beginning of World






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