Encyclopedia

Kielce

site of a pogrom in 1946 where 42 Holocaust survivors were killed by a mob. The massacre at Kielce convinced most survivors that they had no future in Poland.

a medium-sized city in southeast Poland. 22,000 Jews lived there before WWII. When the city was liberated by the Soviet army, only 2 Jews remained. Gradually, about a 150 former residents came back, and they lived in the Jewish community building.

At the beginning of July 1946 anti-Semitic rumors spread through the town. It was said that a missing Polish boy had been killed by the Jews to use his blood to make matzot. His body was said to be in the basement of the Jewish community building. On July 4 a mob gathered outside the building. The mob attacked and killed 42 Jews and wounded 50 more. Order was restored by the central government in Warsaw. Seven of the main instigators and killers were tried and executed, and the missing Polish boy was later found in a nearby village.

The pogrom was a turning point in the attempt to rebuild a Jewish community Poland. Kielce convinced most survivors that Poland had no future for them. Of the 244,000 Jews who had returned to Poland after the war, only 80,000 remained by 1951.


Sources: Encyclopedia of the Holocaust; Steinlauf, Bondage to the Dead.



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