SIEDLCE, city in E. Poland. Jews lived there from the middle of the 16th century, occupied as innkeepers, and later also as craftsmen and merchants. In 1794 a Jewish school and the house of the rabbi were built there; the Jewish cemetery was enlarged in 1798. In the 18th century there was a small Jewish hospital; a larger one was erected in 1890. The most noted rabbis of Siedlce in the middle of the 18th century were R. Meir, author of Netiv Meir (19312), and Israel Meisels (officiated 1858–67) son of Dov Berush *Meisels. In the second part of the 18th century the rabbis of Siedlce visited Warsaw where they carried out religious functions for Jews living there illegally. A group for the study of the Torah and Talmud was founded in Siedlce in 1839, and at the end of the 19th century a Bikkur Ḥolim society was established. During World War I a Jewish high school was opened. Yiddish periodicals published in Siedlce included the Shedletser Vokhnblat, which Abraham Gilbert began to produce in 1911. Jacob Tenenboim, who between the two world wars edited the weekly Dos Shedletser Lebn with Joshua Goldberg, also collaborated with Gilbert.
The *Bund started activities in Siedlce around 1900. At first the Polish Socialist Party also had a great influence among the Jews in Siedlce, but Zionism won the greatest adherence, though all shades of Jewish political parties were active.
In 1906 the czarist Okhrana (secret police) organized a pogrom against the Jews of Siedlce in which 26 Jews were killed and many injured. In 1920 Siedlce was occupied by the Red Army, and after its recapture by the Poles antisemitic excesses occurred. The Jewish population numbered 3,727 (71.5% of the total) in 1839; 4,359 (65%) in 1841; 5,153 (67.5%) in 1858:8,156 (64%) in 1878; and 14,685 (47.9%) in 1921.
Sefer Yizkor li-Kehillat Siedlce li-Shenat Arba Esreh le-Ḥurbanah (Yid., 1956).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.