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Polska / małopolskie

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Province:małopolskie / krakowskie (before 1939)
County:oświęcimski / bielski (before 1939)
Community:Kęty / Kęty (before 1939)
Other names:Kenti [j. jidysz]; קאנטי [j. hebrajski]; Kenty [j. niemiecki]
49.8806° N / 19.2226° E
49°52'50" N / 19°13'21" E


Anna Kępińska

Kęty – miasto położone w południowej Polsce, w województwie małopolskim, w powiecie oświęcimskim. Odległe 18 km na południe od Oświęcimia, 85 km na południowy zachód od Krakowa, 329 km na południowy zachód od Warszawy. Leży w dolinie rzeki Soły.



Żydowskie stargany na rynku w Kętach | nieznany

First mention of Jews living in Kęty dates back to 1863. Sixty-six Jews lived in the town in 1871.

In the interwar period, in 1921, 329 Jews inhabited Kęty.


Local history

Anna Kępińska /

Kęty, 1912 | Verlag Bernhard Loinger, Biala

The settlement of Kęty was founded around 1200. The earliest mention of the settlement is from 1238 and it concerns the confirmation of granting the Benedictine monastery in Staniątki the village of Kanthi. In 1260, the monastery gave Kęty along with Czeladź to Duke Władysław Opolski. In 1277, Kęty was granted the municipal rights under Lwówek law. At the same time, Duke Władysław gave a number of privileges to its administrator [Polish: wójt] and townspeople. When Władysław Opolski died in 1281, his domain was split up between his three sons. Kęty and Oświęcim land came under the rule of Mieszko I, the Duke of Cieszyn. In 1317, an independent Duchy of Oświęcim was established by Duke Władysław. Ten years later, another Duke of Oświęcim, Jan Scholastyk, did a feudal homage to John of Bohemia.

In 1340, Kęty was a town with 300 residents. In 1368, Casimir the Great granted the merchants from Kęty the so called salt statutes, that is the right to deliver salt in hundredweights. In 1391, the town was granted Magdeburg law, which was more favourable. This meant incorporation of the town on a wider area and marking the town square and streets following the checkerboard pattern. The townspeople were exempted from paying a fee for transported goods (toll road). A customs house was opened.

The first mention of a school is from 1446, and a few years later a plague struck the town, causing partial depopulation and impoverishment of people. In 1457, Janusz, the Duke of Oświęcim, sold Kęty and Oświęcim to the King of Poland, Casimir Jagiellon. The price was 50 thousand Prague grivnas (measure of weight, ca. 250 g). As a result, Kęty became a royal town.

In the first decade of the 16th century, a long-lasting conflict over salt trade between Kęty and its competitor, Oświęcim worsened. The two warring cities appealed to King Sigismund I the Old, who ruled in favour of Kęty. In 1519, the same monarch established the third fair in the town. It fell on the day of St Catherine, that is on November, 25. Other two fairs, which were confirmed, fell on July, 13 – the day of St Margaret and on September, 14 – the holiday of The Exaltation of the Holy Cross. He approved the right to a weekly markets and exempted people coming to the town from paying a tool bridge and other fees. He also established an office of mayor [




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