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Polska / świętokrzyskie

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Province:świętokrzyskie / kieleckie (before 1939)
County:kielecki / kielecki (before 1939)
Community:Kielce / Kielce (before 1939)
Other names: קיעלסע [j. jidysz]; קילץ [j. hebrajski]; Кельце [j. rosyjski]
50.8658° N / 20.6282° E
50°51'56" N / 20°37'41" E


Marta Kubiszyn

Kielce – capital of Świętokrzyskie Province. The town is located in south-eastern Poland, at the Bobrza River and the Silnica, its tributary, in the valley stretching across the Świętokrzyskie Mountains.



Marta Kubiszyn

ul. Starowarszawska | Jan Ziembiński

Jews were not permitted to settle in Kielce until the 1830s as a result of the city remaining under the jurisdiction of the bishops of Kraków, who in 1535 had been granted the de non tolerandis judaeis privilege by King Zygmunt I. In the 16th and 17th century, this ban was frequently broken; hence in 1761, under the bishops’ decree, all Jews living in Kielce were expelled from the city. Nevertheless, many kehillas continued to develop in the surrounding towns, like Chęciny, Pińczów, and Chmielnik.

Jews began to resettle in Kielce in 1833, after Jewish merchants from Chęciny had intervened and obtained permission to live in the town from the Municipal Office. Although Kielce’s inhabitants, fearing economic competition, succeeded in suspending this decision, a large number of Jews lived in the city illegally, while another group was formally registered in the nearby Pakosz Municipality. In 1843, Kielce’s inhabitants forced the Council of Administration to ban Jews from the city starting from 1 July 1844. However, in the years 1858–1862 Jews returned to Kielce. At that time the city welcomed dismissed Russian-Jewish servicemen and their families, as the ban did not apply to them. In 1852, ca. 100 Jews Jews lived in Kielce; they belonged to the Chęciny kehilla and constituted a small percentage of the city’s population. It was only after Aleksander Wielopolski introduced his reforms that the tsarist authorities issued a decree that permitted the Jews to settle freely in Kielce in 1862. Just six years later, in 1868, an independent kehilla and the first Jewish cemetery were established. The first rabbi in Kielce was Tuwia Gutman HaCohen. His successor was Mosze Nachum Jeruzalimski, an expert on rabbinic literature.More

Local history

Marta Kubiszyn

Budynek magistratu w Kielcach, 1930 | nieznany

The first references to Kielce appear in documents dating back to ca. 1084, although some suppose that a trading community, located near a fortified settlement which was the seat of the local castellan, had existed in this area much earlier. Either at the turn or in the first decades of the 12th century an extensive area to the south of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains was granted to the bishops of Kraków, who were the most affluent Catholic leaders in Poland until the end of the 18th century. In spite of Tatar raids, the settlement developed successfully, and as a consequence, Kielce was chartered under the Magdeburg Law in 1364. As a bishop’s town, Kielce was granted the de non tolerandis Judaeis privilege, which was valid until Aleksander Wielopolski’s reforms of 1862. The 15th and 16th century saw demographic and economic growth of the town, which was directly connected to the rapid development of mining in the area, especially of iron and non-ferrous metals.

The town became the favourite place of residence of the bishops of Kraków. In the second quarter of the 17th century, a new, magnificent Vasa Baroque residence (today the seat of the National Museum) was constructed on Bishop Jakub Zadzik’s request. It was designed by the Italian architect Giovanni Trevano. In mid-17th century, the prosperous period of the town’s history came to an end. During the Swedish Invasion, in 1655, Kielce was nearly burnt down, and a high tribute was imposed on the town. The rebuilding of Kielce started at the beginning of the 18th century. It was around that time that a seminary and a secondary school were established in the town; the latter operated under the patronage of Kraków Academy from 1735. A limestone mine was opened on the Kadzielnia Hill together with two brickyards. Thanks to the donation made by Bishop Andrzej Załuski, the first credit union offering loans free of interest, called “Mons Pietatis,” was founded.

In July 1789, the Four Years’ Sejm decided that the property of the bishops of Kraków was to be taken over by the royal administration. Shortly afterwards, as a consequence of the Third Partition of Poland, Kielce came under Austrian rule (West Galicia), whereas from 1809 i





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