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Translation of "Sienno" chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Polin
Published by Yad Vashem
Published in Jerusalem
Our appreciation to Sandy Zimmerman, who allowed us to publish
the translations which were done by Shalom Bronstein for her private use.
This is a translation from:
Jewish Communities, Poland,
Volume VII, page 577, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
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(Subdistrict of Ilza, Kielce District)
In the beginning of the 15th century, Sienno is mentioned as an urban settlement under the ownership of the Polish royal house. In the days of King Wladyslaw Jagllo [1632-1648], it was handed over to the nobleman Dovieslaw of Olszewnica in return for one of his estates. A church was erected in the middle of the 15th century. In the middle of the 16th century, it was Lutheran and in the 18th century, it was, once again, Catholic. King Sigismund III [1587-1632] granted the town the privilege to hold a weekly fair.
Jews first settled in Sienno in the 16th century. There were no restrictions against Jews settling in Sienno and in 1766; the number of poll tax payers (2 zloty a person) came to 100. The Jews earned their living through peddling and small businesses. They also manufactured and sold whisky. One of them owned an inn.
There was already a small community in 1576. In the end of the 19th century, there was a resident rabbi, R. Abraham Joshua Heschel, who later emigrated to the United States and became well known as an innovative theological thinker. Rabbi Isaac Mordecai Padova of Opoczno served the community in 1905 and in the 1920s; the rabbi was R. Samuel-Solomon Razani.
In September 1939, the Germans captured Sienno. Their entry was marked by brutality against the Jews, but afterwards, life almost returned to normal in this small town, at least during the first part of the occupation. A Judenrat was established that provided Jewish laborers for the Germans and cared for 1,000 refugees from the western part of Poland and from neighboring towns who came to Sienno. In the winter of 1941, the number of Jews there came to some 2,000 and the Judenrat received help in the sum of 2,000 zloty from the IS"S (Independent Jewish Help) Society in Krakow. An open ghetto was established in December 1941, whose residents were permitted both to leave for work in the daylight hours and to acquire food.
In October 1942, the ghetto of Sienno was liquidated; its 2,000 residents were taken by train to the Treblinka death camp.
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