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SZYDLOWIEC, town in Kielce province, E. central Poland. As a center of trade, smithery, and production of building materials, Szydlowiec attracted Jewish settlers from the end of the 15th century. By the end of the 17th century there was an organized Jewish community under the jurisdiction of the *Sandomierz-Krakow province. In 1765 the Jewish population of Szydlowiec and its environs numbered 902 persons. Johann Philippe de Carosi, a German in the employ of the Polish king, visited the town in 1779 or 1780 and found a densely populated Jewish quarter whose population constituted about 90% of the total inhabitants of the town. The Jews engaged mainly in commerce of agricultural produce as well as timber, building materials, beverages, hides, and ironware. In 1788 the owner of the town, Duke Radziwill, granted the Jews additional municipal land and the right to erect additional dwelling houses, a synagogue, and a cemetery. Between 1825 and 1862 Jews were not permitted to reside outside their quarter. The Jewish population of Szydlowiec grew considerably from the 19th century, numbering 2,049 (64.8% of the total population) in 1827; 2,780 (73.2%) in 1857; 5,298 (71.3%) in 1897; and 5,501 (77.1%) in 1921. In the second half of the 19th century Jewish contractors developed the building materials and tanning industries. In 1905–06 Jewish workers and youths, led by the *Bund and *Po'alei Zion, actively participated in the struggle against the czarist regime.

After World War I the town quickly developed into a shoe-producing center (with 14 tanneries), completely controlled by Jews, and provided work for many hundreds of shoemakers, fitters, and traveling salesmen. The ten stone quarries also belonged to Jews, and their products were widely distributed. The Jews in Szydlowiec also had a long tradition of trading in hardware. There were several Jewish libraries, trade unions – especially a strong leather workers' union – and groupings of all parties active among Jews in Poland.

Holocaust Period

On the outbreak of World War II there were about 7,200 Jews in Szydlowiec. On Sept. 23, 1942, 10,000 Jews from Szydlowiec and its vicinity were deported to the *Treblinka death camp. On Nov. 10, 1942, the Germans established four new ghettos in the region (at *Sandomierz, Szydlowiec, *Radomsko, and Vjazd). The Jews were encouraged to leave their hiding places in the forests, being promised security in these ghettos. Thousands of Jews, not seeing any possibility of surviving in the forests during the winter, responded to the German appeal. About 5,000 Jews were concentrated in the ghetto of Szydlowiec. The Jewish community was liquidated when the remaining 5,000 Jews were sent to Treblinka. After the war the Jewish community of Szydlowiec was not reconstituted.


Halpern, Pinkas; N.B. Gelber, in: Historishe Shriftn, 7 (1929), 238–9; S. Kalabiński (ed.), Carat i klasy posiadajaçe w walce z rewolucja 19051907 w Królestwie Polskim (1956), index; B. Wasiutyński, Ludność źydowska w Polsce w wiekach XIX i XX (1930), 32; A. Rutkowski, in: BŻIH (1955), no. 15–16; idem, in: Folks-Shtime (Yid. Jan. 22, 1958); A. Finkler, Shidlovtse, fun Letstn Khurbn (1948), 105–7; Devar ha-Shavu'a (Jan. 3, 1964).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.