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Polska / świętokrzyskie

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


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 with the population of 207,000 (2007) is a capital city of Świętokrzyskie Province. Kielce is an administrative and economic centre of the region. The city is important in terms of tourism and culture. Until 1999, it was a capital city of Kieleckie Province. After an administrative reform, it became a capital of a newly created Świętokrzyskie Province.

The city is located in the south-central part of Poland, on the Bobrza Riverand its tributary the Silnica River, in a valley crossing Świętokrzyskie Mountains. Within the city there are animated and inanimate nature reserves, such as Kadzielnia, Karczówka, Ślichowice, Wietrznia, Biesak-Białogon, as well as part of the Chęciny-Kielece Landscape Park.



Marta Kubiszyn

ul. Starowarszawska | Jan Ziembiński

Jews were not permitted to settle in Kielce through the 1930s, as a result of the city being within 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 sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, this ban was frequently broken; hence in 1761, under the bishops’ decree, all Jews living in Kielce were expelled from the city. Nevertheless, many kahals 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 intervened and obtained permission 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 Pakosz municipality. In 1843 Kielce’s inhabitants forced the Council of Administration to ban Jews from the city starting on 1 July 1844. However, in 1858–1862 Jews returned to Kielce. At that time the city welcomed dismissed Russian servicemen of Jewish origin and their families, as the ban did not apply to them. In 1852 approximately 100 Jews Jews lived in Kielce; they belonged to the Chęciny municipality 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 in 1862 that permitted the Jews to settle freely in Kielce. 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 There was also an active Hasidic community in the city.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, at the beginning of the twentieth century, and during the interwar period, the kahal of Kielce underwent rapid demographic and economic development. By 1873, Kielce was inhabited by 974 Jews, and by 1909 as many as 11,206. Depending on how wealthy they were, Jews lived in the city centre or in the poorer suburbs – Szydłówek, Psiarnia, Piaski and Barwinek. Before World War I, Kielce had a large synagogue that was constructed in 1902, 9 prayer houses, over 30 cheders attended by more than 900 boys, a


Local history

Marta Kubiszyn /

Budynek magistratu w Kielcach, 1930 | nieznany

The first references to Kielce appear in documents dating back to around 1084, although some suppose that there had been a trading community much earlier in this area, located near a fortified settlement which was the seat of the local castellan. Either at the turn of the 11th century or in the early 12th century, an extensive area to the south of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains was granted to the bishops of Kraków who were the most affluent hierarchs in Poland until the end of the 18th century. In spite of Tatar raids, the settlement developed successfully as a consequence  Kielce received the Magdeburg law in 1364. As a bishop’s town, Kielce had de non tolerandis Judaeis privilege which was valid until Aleksander Wielopolski’s reforms of 1862. The 15th and 16th centuries saw demographic and economic growth of the town, which was directly connected to the rapid development of mining industry, especially iron and non-ferrous metals in the area.

The town became favourite place of residence of the bishops of Kraków. In the second quarter of the 17th century, on bishop Jakub Zadzik’s request, a new magnificent residence in the baroque style of the Waza dynasty (today the seat of the National Museum) was constructed, designed by the Italian architect Giovanni Trevano. In the 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 then that a seminary and a secondary school which was under the patronage of Kraków Academy from 1735, were established. 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 “Mons Pietatis” offering loans free of interest 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 it belonged to the Duchy of Warsaw (Department of Kraków). Under Austrian rule, the diocese of Kielce was established for the first time in





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