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Będzin Castle
Będzin Castle
Flag of Będzin
Coat of arms of Będzin
Civitas Regi Bendzinensis
Będzin is located in Silesian Voivodeship
Będzin is located in Poland
Coordinates: 50°20′N 19°7′E / 50.333°N 19.117°E / 50.333; 19.117Coordinates: 50°20′N 19°7′E / 50.333°N 19.117°E / 50.333; 19.117
Country Poland
Voivodeship Silesian
GminaBędzin (urban gmina)
Established9th century
City rights1358
 • City mayorŁukasz Komoniewski
 • Total37.08 km2 (14.32 sq mi)
Highest elevation
382 m (1,253 ft)
Lowest elevation
260 m (850 ft)
 (30 June 2021[1])
 • Total55,542
 • Density1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code(s)+48 32
Car platesSBE
Primary airportKatowice Airport

Będzin (Polish: [ˈbɛɲd͡ʑin] (listen); also Bendzin in English; German: Bendzin; Yiddish: בענדין, romanizedBendin) is a city in Zagłębie Dąbrowskie, southern Poland. It lies in the Silesian Highlands, on the Czarna Przemsza river (a tributary of the Vistula). Even though part of Silesian Voivodeship, Będzin belongs to historic Lesser Poland, and it is one of the oldest towns of this province. Będzin is regarded as the capital of Zagłębie Dąbrowskie.

It has been situated in the Silesian Voivodeship since its formation in 1999. Before 1999, it was located in Katowice Voivodeship (1975–1999). Będzin is one of the cities of the 2.7 million person conurbation - Katowice urban area and within a greater Silesian metropolitan area populated by about 5,294,000 people.[2] The population of the city itself as of June 2021 is 55,542.[1]

Będzin is located 12 km (7 mi) from Katowice and 4 km (2 mi) from the center of Sosnowiec. Together with Sosnowiec, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Czeladź, Wojkowice, Sławków and Siewierz it makes Zagłębie Dąbrowskie, a highly industrialized and densely populated part of western Lesser Poland. Będzin borders the cities of Sosnowiec, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Czeladź, Siemianowice Śląskie, and Wojkowice, as well as the village of Psary. The highest point of the town is St. Dorothy Mountain 382 metres (1,253 feet) above sea level, and the area of Będzin is 37.08 square kilometres (14.32 square miles).


Będzin is divided into eight districts: Grodziec in 1951–1975 was a separate town, Gzichów is part of Będzin since 1915, Ksawera is part of Będzin since 1923, Łagisza in 1967–1973 was a separate town, Małobądz is part of Będzin since 1915, Śródmieście is the historic center, Warpie is part of Będzin since 1923.


The name Będzin most probably comes from ancient Polish given name Beda or Bedzan. In the past, the town was also called Banden, Bandin, Bandzien, Bondin, Bandzen, Bandzin, Badzin, Bendzin, and Bendsburg (1939–1945).


Medieval Holy Trinity Church

First mention of the village of Będzin comes from 1301, but a settlement (or a grod) had existed here since the 9th century, guarding ancient trade route from Kyiv to Western Europe. In the 1340s, a town was founded here, with King Casimir III the Great building a stone strongpoint. On August 5, 1358, Będzin was incorporated as a town, and became a royal city of Poland, administratively located in the Kraków Voivodeship in the Lesser Poland Province of the Polish Crown.

In the Jagiellonian period Będzin, located on the border between Lesser Poland and Silesia, was a major trade center. In 1565 King Sigismund II Augustus allowed the town to have five markets a week, and in 1589, at Będzin Castle, Polish–Austrian negotiations took place. At that time, a Jewish community already existed here. In 1655, during The Deluge, both town and castle were destroyed by the Swedes, and Będzin did not recover from the destruction for many years. Following the Third Partition of Poland, in 1795 the town was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia, and was included within the newly established province of New Silesia. In 1807 it was regained by Poles and included in the short-lived Duchy of Warsaw and in 1815 it became part of Russian-controlled Congress Poland.

Industrial revolution[edit]

19th-century view of the Będzin Castle

In the late 18th century rich deposits of coal were found in the area. In the 19th century, Będzin and its vicinity enjoyed a period of rapid industrialization and urbanization. New settlements and towns were founded, and the region of Zagłębie Dąbrowskie was established in southwestern corner of Congress Poland. In 1858, Będzin got its first rail connection, due to construction of the Warsaw–Vienna railway. The town increased in population and size, when town limits were expanded by including neighboring settlements. During the January Uprising, in February 1863, Będzin was captured by Polish insurgents after their victory in the Battle of Sosnowiec nearby.[3]

Early 20th-century view of Będzin

The Będzin Power Station was opened in 1913.

Pre-war tenement houses in Będzin

Będzin was eventually restored to Poland, when the country regained independence in 1918, after World War I. In the Second Polish Republic Będzin was an important center of local administration and industry. New rail station, waterworks, schools and offices were built.

World War II[edit]

During the German invasion of Poland, which started World War II, the Wehrmacht entered Będzin on September 4, 1939, and in the following days the Germans committed the first atrocities in the city. On September 6, the Germans murdered 20 Poles, and on September 9, they murdered 100 Jews,[4] set fire to the synagogue and Jewish houses, and then in attempt to blame the Poles they arrested and executed 42 Poles.[5] Local Polish parish priest Wincenty Mieczysław Zawadzki [pl] rescued a group of Jews who escaped the German massacre by opening the gates of the Holy Trinity church to them and giving them shelter.[5] The German police carried out mass searches of Polish houses.[6] Inhabitants of Będzin were also among Poles murdered in Celiny in June 1940.[7] The Będzin Ghetto was established by the German occupational authority in July 1940. During the occupation, the city's name was changed to a German form, Bendsburg, and it was part of Upper Silesia Province, as the capital of Landkreis Bendsburg.

During the war the city was the base for a working party (E716) of British and Commonwealth prisoners of war, under the administration of Stalag VIII-B/344 at Łambinowice (then known as Lamsdorf). In January 1945, as the Soviet armies resumed their offensive and advanced from the east, the prisoners were marched westward in the so-called Long March or Death March. Many of them died from the bitter cold and exhaustion. The lucky ones got far enough to the west to be liberated by the allied armies after some four months of travelling on foot in appalling conditions. Their sufferings, though severe, pale by comparison to those of the Jews of Będzin (see below).[8] In 1943–1944, the Germans also operated a subcamp of the Auschwitz concentration camp in the present-day district of Łagisza, in which they held and brutalized from 300 to over 700 prisoners as forced labourers.[9]

In August 1943, as the Germans attempted to round up the last Jews still in Będzin, Jewish resistance fighters staged an armed revolt that lasted several days. One of the leaders was a woman, Frumka Plotnicka, who had earlier been a fighter in Warsaw in the ghetto revolt there.[10] All the resistance fighters were killed in the action. More than 1000 Będzin Jews survived the war, several given help by local Poles.[citation needed]

On January 27, 1945, the town was captured by the Red Army. Subsequently, the castle was rebuilt, now housing the Museum of Zagłębie. New districts with blocks of flats were built and new factories were opened, including the Łagisza Power Station.

Jews in Będzin[edit]

Mizrachi Synagogue

Until World War II, Będzin had a vibrant Jewish community. According to the Russian census of 1897, out of the total population of 21,200, Jews constituted 10,800 (around 51% percent).[11] According to the Polish census of 1921 the town had a Jewish community consisting of 17,298 people, or 62.1 percent of its total population.[12] In September 1939, the German Army (Wehrmacht) overran this area, followed by the SS death squads (Einsatzgruppen), who burned the Będzin synagogue and murdered 200 Jewish inhabitants.[13] A Będzin Ghetto was created in 1942. Eventually, in the summer of 1943, most of the Jews in Będzin were deported to the nearby German Auschwitz concentration camp. Since Będzin was one of the last Polish communities to be liquidated, there are a relatively large number of survivors from there, and an extensive collection of their personal photographs were recovered, offering photographic insight into the pre-war life there.


Będzin is conveniently located at the intersection of two national roads - the 94th (Zgorzelec - Kraków), and the 86th (Katowice -Warsaw). Katowice International Airport is located 23 km (14 mi) away, at Pyrzowice. The town also is a rail hub, where two connections meet. Będzin has three rail stations (Będzin-Miasto, Będzin and Będzin-Ksawera), and convenient bus and tram connections to neighboring cities. The first tram line was opened there in 1928. At that time the Black Przemsza River which runs through the city was also an important transport hub. The "Black" Przemsza is so named because the river bed as it flows through Będzin exposes a coal seam, making the water above it appear black.


The city's most notable sports club is volleyball team MKS Będzin, which competes in the PlusLiga (Poland's top division). Other clubs include association football teams Sarmacja Będzin [pl] and RKS Grodziec [pl], which compete in the lower leagues, and American football team Zagłębie Steelers.

Sights of Będzin (examples)
Royal Castle, now a museum
Mieroszewski Palace, now a museum
Medieval town walls
Unique riveted water tower

Notable people[edit]

Twin towns — sister cities[edit]

Będzin is twinned with:[14]

Former twin towns:

In March 2022, Będzin terminated its partnership with the Russian city of Izhevsk as a response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[15]

References and other sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Local Data Bank". Statistics Poland. Retrieved 2022-05-29. Data for territorial unit 2401011.
  2. ^ European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-07-28. Retrieved 2009-03-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Mateusz Załęski. "Powstanie styczniowe w Zagłębiu. Sprawdź, jak Zagłębiacy zaskoczyli Imperium Rosyjskie". Twoje Zagłębie (in Polish). Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  4. ^ Wardzyńska, Maria (2009). Był rok 1939. Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion (in Polish). Warszawa: IPN. pp. 98, 124.
  5. ^ a b "Patriarcha Będzina". Niedziela.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  6. ^ Wardzyńska, p. 119
  7. ^ Wardzyńska, p. 142
  8. ^ Lamsdorf: Stalag VIIIB 344 Prisoner of War Camp 1940–1945 - Home
  9. ^ "Lagischa". Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  10. ^ Megargee, Geoffrey (2012). Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos. Bloomington, Indiana: University of Indiana Press. p. Volume II 140–143. ISBN 978-0-253-35599-7.
  11. ^ Joshua D. Zimmerman, Poles, Jews, and the politics of nationality, Univ of Wisconsin Press, 2004, ISBN 0-299-19464-7, Google Print, p.16
  12. ^ Jewish Historical Institute community database "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-16. Retrieved 2012-02-16.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Dissonant Lives: Generations and Violence Through the German Dictatorships By Mary Fulbrook page 176
  14. ^ "Miasta partnerskie". bedzin.pl (in Polish). Będzin. Retrieved 2020-02-14.
  15. ^ "Będzin zerwał współpracę z rosyjskim Iżewskiem. Mieszkańcy i samorząd wspierają mocno ukraińskie miasto partnerskie - Obuchów" (in Polish). Retrieved 13 March 2022.
  • Weiss, Ann (2005). The Last Album: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America. pp. 32–37. ISBN 0-393-01670-6.
  • Mary Fulbrook, A Small Town near Auschwitz: Ordinary Nazis and the Holocaust (Oxford University Press, 2012)

External links[edit]