KIELCE, capital of Kielce province, S.E. Poland. Jews were excluded from Kielce by a royal "privilege" granted to the city in 1535. Kielce belonged to the estates of the bishops of Cracow until 1818, and thus the prohibition on Jewish settlement remained in force. In 1833 a small number of Jews settled in Kielce. They were expelled in 1847 but returned shortly afterward. In 1852 there were 101 Jews in Kielce and the congregation was affiliated to the neighboring community at Checiny.
It became a separate community in 1868, and a cemetery was established. The Jewish population increased from 974 in 1873 to 2,659 in 1882, 6,399 in 1897, and 11,206 in 1909, mainly by immigration from the adjacent small towns. A pogrom in 1918 did not prevent the growth of the community, which by 1921 numbered 15,530 (37.6% of the total population), and by 1931, 18,083. Jews pioneered in exploiting the natural resources of the region and developed industries, commerce, and crafts; among enterprises established by Jews were several banks. Jewish organizations included associations of Jewish merchants and artisans, an old-age home, and an orphanage, as well as a library, a high school, and a number of religious and secular Jewish schools. A Yiddish weekly was published jointly for the Kielce and *Radom communities.
J. Lestschinsky, Dos Yidishe Folk in Tsifern (1922), 77–78; Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland, 13 (1963), Eisenbach, in: Bleter far Geshikhte, 3:2–3 (1950), 3–62, and index; Rutkowski, in: BZIH, 15–16 (1955), 75–182; 17–18 (1956), 108–28; P. Meyer et al., Jews in the Soviet Satellites (1953), index; S. Mikołajczyk, The Rape of Poland (1948); A memorial book, Sefer Kielts, was published in 1957 (Heb., partly Yid.). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Szaynok, Pogrom Zydow w Kielcach, 4 lipca 1946 (1992); D. Engel, Bein Shiḥrur le-Beriḥah (1996). Index; PK.