views updated


SANDOMIERZ (Rus. Sandomir ; in Latin documents of the 12th century Sudomir; in early and Jewish sources Tsoyzmir or Tsuzmir ), town in Kielce province, central Poland. Jews settled there at the beginning of the 13th century, making that community one of the oldest in Poland. In 1367 representatives of the Jewish communities of Sandomierz, *Cracow, and *Lvov requested King *Casimir iii (the Great) to confirm the privileges of Polish Jewry. Toward the end of the 15th century the townsmen of Sandomierz waged a stubborn struggle against the local Jewish merchants, who were sometimes compelled to move to other towns. In 1550 there were 40 Jews living in Sandomierz and paying state taxes. At the beginning of the 17th century there existed a street with 16 houses owned by Jews, and the old synagogue was built. During the war with Sweden (1655/56) most of the Jews of the town were slaughtered and the rest expelled. In 1658 (see *Poland-Lithuania) King John ii Casimir permitted the Jews to return to Sandomierz and granted them the right to engage in commerce. This privilege was later confirmed by King John iii Sobieski (1674) and King Augustus iii (1745). The struggle of the townsmen, supported by the local Catholic priests, against the Jews of Sandomierz led to a series of *blood libels at the end of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th. In the first case, which occurred in 1698, the *parnas of the community, Aaron Berek, was accused of murdering a Christian child (see the pamphlet of the Jew-baiting priest Stefan Żuchowski, Odgłas processów kryminalnych na Zydów…, 1700). Considerable harm was done to the Jewish community of Sandomierz as a result of other blood libels in 1710 and 1748. In 1765, 430 Jews paying the poll tax resided in the town; they comprised 90 families (with 14 tailors, 8 hatmakers, 2 goldsmiths, and 5 butchers) owning 30 houses. Another 366 Jews who lived in the surrounding villages also paid the poll tax. During the period of Austrian rule in Sandomierz (1795–1809) the restrictions on Jewish craftsmen were abolished, and a Jewish school with German as the language of instruction was opened. In 1815 Sandomierz was included in Congress Poland. Restrictions on Jewish settlement in the town remained until 1862. In 1827, 799 Jews lived there (23% of the total population), and in 1857, 924 (29%). In the second half of the 19th century the Jewish population of the town increased considerably, reaching 2,164 (34%) in 1897. Their main livelihood was from trading in agricultural produce, leather, timber, tailoring, shoemaking, and transportation. In 1921 there were 2,641 Jews (39%) living in the town.

[Mark Wischnitzer and

Arthur Cygielman]

Holocaust Period

At the outbreak of World War ii there were about 2,500 Jews living in Sandomierz. The German army entered on Sept. 15, 1939 and immediately organized pogroms, during which Jews were killed. In the first half of 1942 nearly two thousand Jews from the vicinity were expelled to Sandomierz, and the town's Jewish population grew to about 5,200. On Oct. 29, 1942, about 3,200 Jews were deported from Sandomierz to the *Belzec death camp. During deportations which took place in the summer and fall of 1942, thousands of Jews from the whole *Radom district fled into the forest, where they tried to survive in hiding and to organize guerilla units. On Nov. 10, 1942, the Germans published a decree on the establishment of four new ghettos in the region (Sandomierz, *Szydlowiec, *Radomsko, and Ujazd), where Jews were promised security if they left the forests. Thousands of Jews, unable to see the possibility of surviving in the forests during the winter, responded to the German appeal. About 6,000 Jews were concentrated in the ghetto of Sandomierz, which was liquidated on Jan. 10, 1943, when almost all its inmates were deported to the *Treblinka death camp. Only 700 Jews were left; of them 300 were deported to the forced-labor camp in *Skarzysko-Kamienna, and 400 were transferred to the forced-labor camp established in Sandomierz. This camp was liquidated in January 1944 and almost all the inmates were murdered. After the war the Jewish community of Sandomierz was not reconstituted.

[Stefan Krakowski]


Warsaw, Archiwum Głowne Akt Dawnych, Komisja rządowa spraw wewnętrznych i policji, 2963; Władze centralne powstania listopadowego, 362; Archiwum skarbu koronnego, 35 no. 316 (= cahjp, 2174, 3696, and 7827, respectively); Zakład Narodowy imienia Ossolińskich, 1640/ii (= cahjp, Ḥm 6650); Halpern, Pinkas, index; R. Mahler, Yidn in Amolikn Poyln in Likht fun Tsifern (1958), index; B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wiekach xix i xx (1930), 31, 54, 71; L. Rotoczny, Przewodnik po Sandomierzu (1910); D. Kandel, in: Kwartalnik poswięcony badaniu przeszłości Żydow w Polsce, 1 (1912); I. Schiper, Dzieje handlu żydowskiego na ziemiach polskich (1937), index; M. Balaban, Historja Żydow w Krakowie i na Kazimierzu, 2 vols. (1931–36), index.