|• Mayor||Wojciech Kudelski|
|• Total||32 km2 (12 sq mi)|
|Elevation||155 m (509 ft)|
|• Total||76 438|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Postal code||08-100 to 08-119|
|Area code(s)||+48 025|
Siedlce (pronounced /'ɕɛdlt͡sɛ/ listen; Yiddish: שעדליץ Shedlits, Russian: Седльце Sedl'tse) is a city in eastern Poland with 76,438 inhabitants (as of 2013[update]). Situated in the Masovian Voivodeship (since 1999), previously the city was the capital of a separate Siedlce Voivodeship (1975–1998). Siedlce lies between two small rivers, the Muchawka and the Helenka, along European route E30. It is the fourth largest city of the Voivodeship, and the seat of a Roman Catholic Diocese of Siedlce. Siedlce is a local educational, cultural and business center.
The city, which is a part of historical province of Lesser Poland, was most probably founded some time before the 15th century, and was first mentioned as Siedlecz in a document issued in 1448. In 1503, local nobleman Daniel Siedlecki erected a new village of the same name nearby, together with a church. In 1547 the town, which until the Partitions of Poland belonged to Lesser Poland’s Lublin Voivodeship, was granted Magdeburg rights by King Sigismund the Old. Siedlce as an urban center was created after a merger of the two neighboring villages. In the 16th century, and until mid-17th century, Siedlce prospered, with its population quickly growing and a number of artisans opening their shops here.
The period of prosperity ended during the Swedish invasion of Poland (1655 - 1660), when Siedlce, together with most Lesser Poland’s towns and cities, was burned by the Cossacks, Tatars, Muscovities, Swedes and the Transilvanians. After these conflicts, the town belonged to the Czartoryski family, as a dowry of Joanna Olędzka, who married Prince Michał Jerzy Czartoryski. In 1692 Siedlce burned, and the destruction was used by Kazimierz Czartoryski, the son of Michał Jerzy, to plan a new, modern market square, together with adjacent streets. In the first half of the 18th century, a new parish church was built. In 1775, after Aleksandra Czartoryska married Hetman Michał Kazimierz Ogiński, the town passed over to the Ogiński family. At that time Siedlce emerged as one of the most important cultural centers of the nation, the Ogiński Palace was visited by several notable artists and writers, such as Franciszek Karpiński, and Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz. King Stanisław August Poniatowski visited the palace twice, in 1783 and 1793. Due to efforts of Aleksandra Ogińska, several improvements took place in Siedlce. Among them, a new town hall was built, which now is one of symbols of the city. Until 1807, when it was confiscated by the Russian authorities, Siedlce remained a private property.
After the third partition of Poland (1795), Siedlce belonged to the Habsburg Empire, and in 1807, it became part of the Duchy of Warsaw. After the creation of Russian-controlled Congress Poland (1815), Siedlce became the seat of a province (see Podlasie Governorate). During the November Uprising, the Battle of Iganie (April 10, 1831) took place near the town. In the January Uprising, Siedlce was an important center of the rebellion. In the early 20th century, local students protested against the Russification, and in 1906, Russian secret police organized here the Siedlce pogrom. Nevertheless, the town developed, with new administration buildings, post office complex, prison and courthouse. In the late 19th century, Siedlce became an important railroad junction, with connections to Warsaw (completed 1866), Brześć (1867), Małkinia Górna (1884), and Czeremcha (1906). Earlier on, in 1867, Siedlce Governorate was created. At that time, Siedlce was an important center of Jewish culture, with Jews making 50% of the population.
In the Second Polish Republic, Siedlce since 1918 belonged to Lublin Voivodeship. The town was a large military garrison, where 9th Infantry Division was stationed, and remained an important rail junction. During World War II, the area of Siedlce was home to large partisan units of the Home Army and other organizations, such as Armia Ludowa. Due to German terror, the town lost one-third of its population, including its Jewish minority. In late July 1944 (see Operation Tempest), Home Army units freed the town, together with the Red Army. After the war, 50% of Siedlce was in ruins, including the town hall.
Until the Second World War, like many other cities in Europe, Siedlce had a significant Jewish population. At some times, indeed, Jews were the majority of its population. The presence of Jews at Siedlce is attested from the mid-16th century - inn keepers, merchants and artisans. A Jewish hospital existed in the town since the early 18th century. In 1794, a Beit Midrash (study hall) was founded in the town and 1798 the Jewish cemetery was extended, testifying to the increase of the community. These changes coincided with the town coming under Austrian rule with the Third Partition of Poland. Austrian rule lasted until 1809. It was passed to Russian rule in 1815 formally (in 1813 de facto), that lasted for over a hundred years. Until 1819 the Jewish community of Warsaw, 90 kilometres (56 miles) to the west, was formally subject to the authority of the Siedlce rabbis.
For much of the 19th Century - a time when the town's population steadily increased - Jews were the majority of Siedlce's population: 3,727 (71.5%) in 1839; 4,359 (65%) in 1841; 5,153 (67.5%) in 1858; 8,156 (64%) in 1878. Later on, the percentage of Jews decreased due to non-Jewish migration: according to Russian census of 1897, out of the total population of 23,700, Jews constituted 11,400 (so around 48% percent). The first Polish census, in 1921, recorded 14,685 Jews living in Siedlce. Their number remained steady in the interwar period, and in 1939, on the eve of the Second World War, there were some 15,000 Jews living in the town. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, secular political and cultural activity was evident among Jews in Siedlce, as in the whole of Eastern Europe. In 1900 the Bund started activity in the town, as did the Zionist movement, and many of the town's Jews were adherents of Polish Socialist Party. Between 1911-1939 two Yiddish weeklies were published in the town, and a Jewish high school was founded during the First World War.
In the last decades of Tsarist rule, many Siedlce activists (both Polish and Jewish) took part in the 1905 Revolution. After a series of attacks on Russians in all of Poland during the Bloody Wednesday (15 August 1906) the Russian authorities organized a pogrom in Siedlce as a reprisal on 8–10 September 1906, in which 26 Jews perished.
In the wake of the First World War the town was affected by the Polish-Soviet War, being occupied by the Red Army in 1920 and taken over by the Polish Army in 1921. In 1939, Jews constituted some 37% of the town's population. Germans exiled some thousand Jews from elsewhere in Poland to Siedlce in 1940, especially from Łódź, Kałusz and Pabianice. In March 1941 - still before the formal decision to implement the "Final Solution" of wholesale extermination the Jews - German forces rampaged for three days in Siedlce, killing many of its Jewish inhabitants. In August of the same year the town's Jews were herded into a ghetto and on October 1, 1941 were completely cut off from the outside world. In August 1942 some 10,000 of the Siedlce Jews were deported to Treblinka together with around 10 thousand gentile population for the Siedlce forced labour camps and murdered there. The town's remaining 7,000 Jews were sent off to extermination on November 25, 1942.
The Siedlce Jewish community was not restored after Nazi defeat, and the town's later history lacked the hitherto conspicuous Jewish component. Survivors of the town's population established an association in Israel which in 1956 published a comprehensive memorial book on the community's history. Y. Kravitz, one of the survivors, published in 1971 his memoires entitled "Five Years of Living Hell under Nazi Rule in the City of Siedlce".
The city is a cultural hub for the entire province. There are festivals, exhibitions, and concerts of country-wide significance held in Siedlce. The town has three museums, and three separate public libraries. The principal animators of culture operating in the city are the Culture and Art Center (CKiS) and the Municipal Cultural Centre (MOK). There are two movie theatres; the art-house cinema run by the CKiS, and the multiscreen cinema Novekino network. A number of artistic groups operate in the city, including the dance companies LUZ and Caro Dance, the Choir of the City of Siedlce, and the Theatre ES. The city also has an art gallery located at the University. A painting by El Greco, "The Ecstasy of St. Francis", is preserved there. It is the only painting of El Greco in Poland.
Among the media outlets which operate in this area a the local television (TV Siedlce) and the Catholic radio station Radio Podlasie. Siedlce is the location of the regional headquarters of the TVP Warsaw/TVP Info, RDC (Radio For You) and Radio Eska.
- Uniwersytet Przyrodniczo-Humanistyczny w Siedlcach (University of Natural Sciences and Humanities in Siedlce)
- Wyższa Szkoła Finansów i Zarządzania (The College of Finance and Management)
- Wyższe Seminarium Duchowne (Theological seminary)
- Instytut Teologiczny (Institute of Theology)
- Nauczycielskie Kolegium Języków Obcych (Foreign Languages Teachers' College) granting diplomas of the University of Warsaw
- Medical University of Warsaw, Faculty of Health Sciences
- University of Bialystok, Faculty of Law
Notable secondary schools
- I LO im. Bolesława Prusa (Bolesław Prus Grammar School)
- II LO im. Św. Królowej Jadwigi (St. Queen Jadwiga Grammar School)
- Zespół Szkół Ponadgimnazjalnych nr 1 im. Stanisława Staszica (Stanisław Staszic Grammar School)
- Zespół Szkół Ponadgimnazjalnych nr 3 im. Stanisława Staszica (Stanisław Staszic Grammar School)
People from Siedlce
- Artur Boruc - a football goalkeeper
- Richard Burgin - a Jewish composer who attended St. Petersburg Conservatory and became the concert master for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
- Lidia Chojecka - a Polish middle distance runner who specializes in the 1500 metres and sometimes 3000 metres.
- Agata Wróbel - weightlifter, 2000 Summer Olympics silver medalist
- Aleksandra Klejnowska - weightlifter
- Bolesław Prus - writer, novelist
- Przemysław Truściński - artist
- Leon Wyczółkowski - painter
- Bohdan Arct - fighter pilot, writer
- Vladimir Chelomei - Soviet Academician and scientist in the field of mechanics and control processes; Designer of missiles, spacecraft, and space stations; Founder and the General Constructor of OKB-52 (now NPO Mashinostroyenia).
Twin towns — Sister cities
Siedlce is twinned with:
Points of interest
- Siedlce Department (Polish: Departament Siedlecki): a unit of administrative division and local government in Polish Duchy of Warsaw in years 1806–1815.
- Gdańsk-Siedlce - one of the districts of the city of Gdańsk.
- Joshua D. Zimmerman, Poles, Jews, and the politics of nationality, Univ of Wisconsin Press, 2004, ISBN 0-299-19464-7, Google Print, p.16
- Ludwik Bazylow (1972). Ostatnie lata Rosji carskiej. Państwowe Wydawn. Naukowe. p. 162. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- Józef Piłsudski; Leon Wasilewski. Pisma zbiorowe: wydanie prac dotychczas drukiem ogłoszonych. Instytut Józefa Piłsudskiego. p. 32. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- Zakład Naukowo-Badawczy Archiwistyki (Poland) (1 January 1997). Archeion. Naczelna Dyrekcja Archiwów Państwowych, Zakład Naukowo-Badawczy Archiwistyki. p. 334. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- Feliks Tych (1990). Rok 1905. Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza. p. 81. ISBN 978-83-03-02915-7. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- Wolf Yesni (ed.) "Memorial to the Siedlce Community - 14 Years Since its Destruction" (in Yididsh), 1956
- ,י.קראוויץ, "החיים בגיהנום, חמש שנים תחת שלטון הנאצים בעיר שדליץ", תשל"א
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