Jews In Kielce - Krzysztof Urbański

Jews In Kielce

By Krzysztof Urbański

  • Release Date: 2011-11-14
  • Genre: History
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Kielce, owned by the state since 1795, became the district capital in 1816. The growth of its importance with the simultaneous decline of Chęciny made the Jews of the latter town think of taking up permanent residence on the banks of the Silnica. Unfortunately, the first attempts of settling in Kielce were opposed by the rich townspeople. This, however, did not restrain trade activity at fairs. Aleksander Wielopolski’s reforms opened the gates of Kielce and enabled Jews to reside and to set up their own shops. Because of the guerilla warfare of 1863-1864 and limited possibility of moving in the country it was only after 1865 that the flow of Jews began. In 1872 there were 505 Jewish residents in Kielce, in 1874 – 1,046, in 1880 – 2,640. After 1882 and 1883 a surge of Jews expelled from villages reached the town. In 1896 there were 2,946 Jews in Kielce, in 1915 – 14,795, in 1921 – 15,530, in 1931 – 18,638, and in 1939 – 20,942. Between the years 1900 and 1939 every third inhabitant of Kielce was Jewish.
Depending on their means, they lived in different parts of the town: the rich in the center, close to the market square; the poor in the suburbs – Szydłówek, Psiarnia, Piaski, Barwinek.
As the population was growing, measures were taken to establish a Kielce synagogue district. It was approved by state authorities in 1868. A house of prayer was opened in a building in Bodzentyńska Street; a bath in Nowowarszawska Street and a kosher butcher’s in St Tekla Square. The cemetery was situated in the suburb of Pakosz.

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