For other places with the same name, see Chęciny (disambiguation).

Coat of arms
Coordinates: 50°48′10″N 20°28′2″E / 50.80278°N 20.46722°E / 50.80278; 20.46722
Country  Poland
Voivodeship Świętokrzyskie
County Kielce
Gmina Chęciny
  Total 14.12 km2 (5.45 sq mi)
Population (2012)
  Total 4,304
  Density 300/km2 (790/sq mi)
Postal code 26-060
Area code(s) +48 41
Climate Dfb
Car plates TKI

Chęciny [xɛnˈt͡ɕinɨ] (Yiddish: חענטשין – Khantchin or Chentshin) is a town in Kielce County, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, Poland, with 4,252 inhabitants (2006). It was first mentioned in historical documents from 1275, and obtained its city charter in 1325. At that time was one of major urban centers of northern Lesser Poland. The most important sight in Chęciny is the royal castle built in the late 13th or early 14th century on the Castle Hill above the town. It fell into a ruin in the 18th century and remains in that state to this day. For centuries Chęciny (or Chentshin) had a Jewish community and it had been the center of the Hasidic Chentshin dynasty, (Chęciny being pronounced as "Chentshin" or "Khantchin" in Yiddish.)

Location and name

Chęciny is located in Lesser Poland, and for centuries it belonged to Sandomierz Voivodeship. The distance to Kielce is 15 kilometres (9 miles). The town lies among the hills of western Świętokrzyskie Mountains, and is an important center of building materials, where the so-called Chęciny Marble is excavated. The town does not have a rail station, the nearest one is 5 km (3 mi) away in Radkowice. Chęciny is served by Kielce’s mass transit system, and east of the town goes Expressway S7. With the ruins of the castle and Jaskinia Raj nearby, Chęciny is an important tourist center. There are several tourist trails, marked by different colors (red, blue and yellow).


Panorama of town

The town is first mentioned in historical documents from 1275. It obtained its city charter in 1325. At that time Chęciny was an important urban center, where in May 1331 King Ladislaus I of Poland (Polish: Władysław Łokietek) organized a meeting of Lesser Poland's and Greater Poland's nobility, to discuss the oncoming war with the Teutonic Knights. In 1465 Chęciny burned in a great fire, the same happened again in 1507. In the 16th century Chęciny was a local center of mining and commerce, with its marble famous across the Kingdom of Poland and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It also was a center of Protestant Reformation. Chęciny was partially destroyed in the Zebrzydowski Rebellion, but real destruction came during the Swedish invasion in 1655 – 1660. On April 1, 1657 the town was completely destroyed by the Transilvanians of George II Rakoczi. In 1660 there were only 48 houses, out of 341 in 1655. In 1764 Chęciny was designated as legal center for northern Lesser Poland, for Radom, Chęciny and Opoczno counties. In 1795 the town was annexed by the Austrian Empire, and next year, the seat of the county was moved to Kielce.

Most of this time, Jews were not permitted to live in Kielce, and had to find dwellings in nearby towns. By 1827 the (1740) Jews were 70% of the population. 70 years later they were 4,361, still 70%. A series of fires and recessions caused the Jewish population to dwindle to 61% in 1905, with 3,414 Jewish residents. By the end of World War I only 512 homes stood erect, and by 1921 there were only 2,825 Jewish residents, a mere 51%, living along the main road and around the town center. An account from the period depicts the town as being extremely unclean.

At the end of 1939, after the invasion of Poland, a Judenrat and the Jewish Ghetto Police was established by the Nazi German occupiers. In the spring of 1940 several dozen Jews from the new ghetto were murdered in a forest on the outskirts of town. In June 1940 there were approximately 2,800 local Jews and another 1,000 refugees remaining in the ghetto. In January 1941 the Germans planned to move 5,000 Jews from the Kielce Ghetto to Chęciny in exchange for 2,500 Polish forced-labourers, but due to a typhus epidemic in the town, this plan was postponed. On July 5, 1941 the order was given to establish the ghetto and by July 22 it was resettled during the Jewish "3 weeks of mourning". The ghetto had no walls, due to a shortage in materials. Some 500 Jews mostly from poor families, were chosen by the Judenrat, under German orders and sent to the HASAG labour camp in April 1942. In June another 105 Jews were rounded up to be sent to the HASAG camps, but vanished, and were probably shot.

919 Jews from Luposzno were brought to the town in September 1942, and small groups of Jews were brought in from other nearby cities, with the population rising 4000.

Under the orders of Gerulf Mayer, the local Gendarme commander, the ghetto was liquidated on September 12. The Jews were chased to the market square and marched to the Wolice train station 7 km (4 mi) away, where they were sent to the Treblinka death camp. Dozens were shot on the way during the assembly and march. 40 Jews "unfit for travel" remained in the ghetto and were shot on the 14th, two days later. A second group of 30 Jews from the Judenrat and other officials was left to search for valuables and bring them to the remaining synagogue. Some of these Jews escaped, the rest were killed in December by the Gendarmes.[1]

Points of interest

Chęciny seen from the castle
View at Chęciny
One of three castle towers


  1. Virtual Shtetl The US Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos vII-A, page 207 (including image of Judenrat). – written according to the (Yiddish) Yizkor book, summing up personal memories.

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chęciny.

Coordinates: 50°48′10″N 20°28′02″E / 50.80278°N 20.46722°E / 50.80278; 20.46722

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/5/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.