zdjecie_glowneIn 2007, on the commemoration of the 65 the anniversary of the Kielce ghetto extermination and the murder of more than 20 thousand Jews, the Jan Karski Society erected the Menorah Monument financed from the private funds of the Białek Family.

It was made by Marek Cecuła - a worldwide known ceramist from Kielce who was saved from Holocaust and the Pogrom.
Every time I am here I wonder if this Menorah goes down to the ground and is a symbol of death or it goes up as a sign of the renewed life. Thanks to such people like you I am sure that it goes up – said Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich.
img_6824img_6823p1100283p1100268a
konferencja_maleIn Spring 2012, Bogdan Białek, the chairman of Society expressed the initiative of moving Zagajscy Prayer House into neighbourhood of Jewish cemetery. Currently, the House is situated in the courtyard of the tenement building in the city center.  

 

After the translocation the  building will be renovated and expanded. As a result the Place of Memory and Reflection ”Beit ha Midrasz” will be created. Itwill be an educational and cultural center  led by Society. This undertaking  is very expensive, therefore along with New Space Arts Foundation, the current owner of the object, we try to obtain  finances from Norway Funds. 

 

ludzie_okladka_ang.malePrior to World War II, there were about eighteen thousand Jews in Kielce. They were rightful and active citizens of the city, which they considered their home.Not many people realised that this was one of the youngest Jewish communities in Poland.

 

Extract from the book „People to People”, published by the Jan Karski Society. The publication apperared in July 2009 and was available in three languages: Polish, English and Hebrew.

 

For many years, Jews were prohibited from settling in Kielce. They had lived for hundreds of years in nearby towns, such as Chęciny, Chmielnik, Pińczów, Raków, Wierzbnik, and Ostrowiec but the owners of Kielce, the Krakovian bishops, did not allow Jews to set up permanent residence in the city. This prohibition was finally lifted after the Tsar’s imperial edict on the equality of rights for Jews in 1862.In 1876, a decision to build a railway line from Dęblin to Dąbrowa Górnicza stimulated an increase in Jewish settlement in Kielce. In 1860, 2640 Jews were living in the city. They were predominantly involved in trade, which was a poorly developed industry in Kielce, and the newly-established companies quickly built up a solid reputation even with Polish clients. It took the townspeople a long while to come to terms with their Jewish competition.

 

rubinowicz1David Rubinowicz was born on July 27, 1927, in Kielce. He had a younger brother, Herszel, and a little sister named Malka. His parents were Josek and Tauba.

 

The five of them shared a small wooden house on Krajno's main road. The Rubinowiczes were country folk, no different from their neighbors, except that they happened to be Jews. Josek Rubinowicz was a dairyman; he owned a cow and a wagon, and ran a small shop. But a year after the German occupation, the dairy was no more.

 

The cow had been sold so the Germans wouldn't take it, and now the Rubinowiczes were much poorer. David had an uncle in Kielce whom he used to visit regularly, and the Rubinowiczes had lived there themselves before moving to Krajno.

 

Like many Polish cities and towns, Kielce had a large Jewish population - in 1939, every fourth person was a Jew. On April 4, 1940, David went to see his uncle again. He got up earlier than usual and left after breakfast. On his right arm he wore "the four-inch armband in white with the star of Zion" all Jews over the age of ten had been ordered to display, at all times, on pain of imprisonment. As Jews were not allowed to travel on vehicles, he walked.

ohelchasjpg

The tomb (in Hebrew 'ohel) is situated next to the fence of Jewish Cemetery in one of the dictricts of Kielce, called Pakosz.

 

It seemed that for many years nobody knew about the existence of the building. Erected in the twenties of XX century, latterly was used as a workshop.Fortunately, thanks to local government, Or Cheim foundation from Katowice and Hassids, who arrived in Kielce from New York to find out actual situation of the ohel, it was recently renovated and restored to be used on primary purposes.

 

The doors with windows were exchanged. In the place where graves had been before, now are located granite gravestones of Kuzimirer and his nephew Jehuda Lejba - spiritual leader of Hassids from Kazimierz. Just as in the past, the Hassids from all over the world start to come here on a pilgrimage, to pray by the grave of tzadik on the anniversary of his death.

 

obraz 1464On 4 July 1946, an outbreak of anti-Jewish violence took place in Kielce and claimed the lives of almost 40 Jews. In fact, there were 42 Jewish victims of the pogrom as several of the injured later died in hospital.

 

The victims included a child, a newborn, a pregnant woman, and youths - 16 and 17-year-old members of the kibbutz. These events were sparked by a rumour that a Polish child had been abducted by Jews. The pogrom began in the morning and lasted for 6 hour, but the anti-Semitic atmosphere and attempts to incite more incidents lasted until evening. Most of the turbulence took place at a building on Planty Street, where the accused Jews resided. The attacks on the Jews were provoked by the actions of the communist police and the army through their authentication of the child's abduction and their incompetent handling of the aggressive mob that had gathered on Planty Street.

dom zagajwskichmaleIn linguistics, which in my opinion is a branch of knowledge highly overestimated and which surprisingly was a subject of my PhD dissertation, there is a term called relative chronology. It is something which happened earlier or later than something else, which we know definitely happened.

 

While reading Krzysztof Urbański's books "Kieleccy Żydzi" (Kielce's Jews) and "Leksykon dziejów ludności żydowskiej Kielc" (The lexicon of history of Jewish people in Kielce), various manipulations from relative chronology come to my mind. We must remember that this chronology is called relative for some reason and using its methods one can easily be mistaken. We are on the borderline of factual truth and literary truth, wandering around the stray paths of memory.

 

 

dm5maleA private house of prayer (3 Słowackiego st., Kielce) was erected on Herszel Zagajski's initiative in 1922.

 

During World War II it was devastated by the Germans, and after the occupation it served as a storehouse.

 

 

 

 

 

Page 1 of 2