[Yiddish, Kieltz] - A city that began as a trading settlement, mentioned [in sources] as early as the eleventh century. It was granted its town charter in the mid-fourteenth century. Away from the main trade routes, Kielce was more important as a mining center and for the smelting of lead, iron, copper and silver ore.

As the property of the Krakow bishops, the city had been granted the privilege de non tolerandis Judaeis, which remained in force until the partitions. After 1815, Kielce was located within the Kingdom of Poland. In 1852, there were approximately 100 Jews living there and belonged to the Community in Checiny. An independent Community was founded in 1868, at which time a cemetery was also founded. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the economy revived as industry developed (building materials, artificial fertilizers, tanneries, glass) and the building of rail connections with the Dabrowa mining region, and later with Czestochowa.

Economic changes brought about in increase in population. In 1882, there were already about 2,600 Jews living in Kielce, and in 1909, there were over 11,000. There were over 30 chadarim (plural of cheder) operating in the city at that time, as well as private schools, for the most part elementary schools, including some for girls. Jewish political parties, the Bund and Stronnictwo Postepowo-Demokratyczne ("The Progressive-Democratic Party") were active.
A Jewish demonstration demanding political and cultural autonomy on November 11, 1918, sparked a pogrom during which many buildings and schools were destroyed. Despite the worsening conflict, whose roots were primarily economic in nature, the Jewish Community continued to grow. In 1921, there were approximately 15,500 Jews living in Kielce (over 37% of the total population). They were involved above all in middle- and small-scale enterprises. There were numerous crafts organizations, an orphanage, old people's home, library and secondary school (gimnazjum).

In 1932-1939, approximately 5,000 Jews from Kielce and its environs emigrated to Palestine. In 1939, the Jewish Community numbered about 25,000 people (over 35% of the total population). During the Second World War, several thousand Jews were resettled here from the smaller towns nearby, as well as those from the Lodz district, Poznan and Vienna. On March 31, 1941, a ghetto was created in the city, which held a total of approximately 27,000 people. The Germans created a Judenrat, headed first by M. Pelc, and, after his arrest and deportation to Auschwitz (brought about by his refusal to carry out Nazi orders), H. Lewi held the position. The ghetto was decimated by disease. In the course of a few days in August 1942, about 21,000 Jews were sent to Treblinka. The remaining group of approximately 2,000 people were put in a labor camp; some of them died in Auschwitz, and only a few managed to survive.
After the Second World War ended, about 200 people returned to Kielce, most of whom lived on Planty Street, where an orphanage and kibbutz were founded. On July 4, 1946, a pogrom began after accusations that a Polish boy had been kidnapped by Jews. Forty-two people were killed, and over 40 were injured. The Kielce pogrom prompted anti-Jewish incidents in and around the city; trains, for example, were stopped and searched for Jews. These events resulted in a mass emigration of Jews to Israel and other countries. Kielce still has a synagogue dating back to the early twentieth century, which currently holds an archive. Communities of Jews whose ancestors originally came from Kielce continue to exist in Israel, the United States, Canada, Argentina and France.

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