In Enemy Land: The Jews of Kielce and the Region, 1939-1946

In Enemy Land: The Jews of Kielce and the Region, 1939-1946


Sara Bender
Translated by Naftali Greenwood and Saadya Sternberg

Series: The Holocaust: History and Literature, Ethics, and Philosophy
ISBN: 9781618118714 (hardcover)
Pages: 356 pp.
Publication Date: March 2019

Add To Cart

This book offers a study of the Jewish community in Kielce and its environs during World War II and the Holocaust. It is the first of its kind in providing a comprehensive account of Kielce’s Jews and their history as victims under the German occupation. The book focuses in particular on Jewish-Polish relations in the Kielce region; the deportation of the Jews of Kielce and its surrounding areas to the Treblinka death camp; the difficulties faced by those attempting to help and save them; and daily life in the Small Ghetto from September 1942 until late May 1943.

Sara Bender is Professor at the Department of Jewish History of the University of Haifa. Her studies compare the histories of the Jewish communities in Poland and Eastern Europe during World War II and the Holocaust, focusing on Poland and subjects such as Jewish resistance, relations with Poles in towns and villages, forced labor camps in the Radom district, and Jewish life among partisan units in Lithuania and west Belorussia. Her book The Jews in Bialystok during World War II and the Holocaust was published by Brandeis University Press in 2008.  


Sara Bender’s In Enemy Land: The Jews of Kielce and the Region, 1939-1946, appears at a time when Holocaust history is under new pressures. These pressures are most evident in Poland, where a nationalist government has seen fit – and has largely failed – to limit certain kinds of Holocaust-related terminology if it ascribes guilt to Poles during wartime. … Bender’s carefully researched and tightly focused study of Kielce and its environs is not directly engaged with these discussions until its concluding chapter. But Kielce, as is well known, was the site, in the spring of 1946, of the worst postwar pogrom in liberated Poland. Like the wartime events in the smaller northern town of Jedwabne, the events at Kielce, in which 47 Holocaust survivors were murdered in mob violence, remain a flashpoint in any postwar account of Polish-Jewish relations.
— Norman Ravvin, Canadian Jewish News

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. The Jews of Kielce between the World Wars
Chapter 2. From Occupation to Ghettoization—September 1939–April 1941
Chapter 3. The Ghetto (April 1941–August 1942)
Chapter 4. Deportation of the Jews of Kielce and Surrounding Areas (August 1942–January 1943)
Chapter 5. The “Small Ghetto” and the Labor Camps (September 1942–August 1944)
Chapter 6. Jews and Poles in Kielce Subdistrict during the German Occupation