Końskie [ˈkɔɲskʲɛ] (Yiddish: Kinsk, קינצק / קינסק) is a town in south-central Poland with 20,328 inhabitants (2008), situated in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. Historically, Końskie belongs to the province of Lesser Poland, and since its foundation, until 1795 (see Partitions of Poland), it was part of Lesser Poland's Sandomierz Voivodeship.

Palace and park ensemble in Końskie
Palace and park ensemble in Końskie
Coat of arms of Końskie
Końskie is located in Poland
Coordinates: 51°12′N 20°25′E / 51.200°N 20.417°E / 51.200; 20.417
Country Poland
Established11th century
Town rights1748
 • MayorKrzysztof Obratański
 • Total35.70 km2 (13.78 sq mi)
 • Total19,962
 • Density560/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
26-200 to 26-204
Area code+48 41
Car platesTKN


Romanesque tympanum above the south side door of the Gothic St. Nicholas & St. Adalbert parish church

The oldest settlement which is now Końskie dates back to the 11th century. The burial ground from this period was discovered in the north part of the town in 1925. Końskie was mentioned in historical sources in 1124 for the first time, with Prandota of Prandocin (the progenitor of Odrowąż family) recorded as the owner of the settlement. For the next few centuries the settlement was owned by the Odrowąż family. Iwo Odrowąż, the bishop of Kraków, founded a parish and built a church dedicated to St. Nicholas in 1220–1224. The church was torn down in the 15th century and a new Gothic one was built in its place in the years 1492–1520. Some elements of the older Romanesque church were saved in the new one (e.g. the Romanesque tympanum, pictured). Końskie received city rights from King Augustus III of Poland on December 30, 1748.[1] It was a private town, administratively located in the Żarnów County in the Sandomierz Voivodeship in the Lesser Poland Province.[2] The Polish 14th Cuirassier Regiment was formed in Końskie by Stanisław Małachowski in 1809.[3]

World War II

Memorial to local Polish partisans

During the joint German-Soviet invasion of Poland, which started World War II in 1939, the town was invaded and then occupied by Germany, and the Einsatzgruppe I entered to commit various crimes against the population.[4] Końskie was briefly visited by Adolf Hitler on September 10, 1939, while on the way to Kielce after landing on an airfield nearby. His car cavalcade visited the headquarters of General Walther von Reichenau at the local mansion. Hitler was followed by director Leni Riefenstahl who came a day later, ordered to film the Nazi German victory over Poland.[5]

On September 11, 1939, the Germans carried out mass arrests of around 5,000 men over the age of 18 in the town and its vicinity after finding the bodies of several German policemen and soldiers (including general Wilhelm Fritz von Roettig, first German general to be killed in the conflict) reportedly mutilated by the Poles. The next day two dozen local Jews were summoned to dig graves for the German dead, and shortly afterwards, most of the Jews were shot by the Germans (Końskie massacre [pl]). Reportedly, this event mas witnessed by Riefenstahl who fainted when witnessing the random killing of on September 12, 1939.[5][6][7][8][9][10]

Polish inhabitants of Końskie were also among Poles massacred by the Germans in the nearby village of Stadnicka Wola in April 1940.[11] In 1941–1943, the Germans operated a prisoner-of-war camp for Soviet and Norwegian POWs in the town.[12] About 26,000 POWs passed through the camp, 23,000 of whom either were murdered or died of starvation or epidemics.[12] The Polish resistance movement organized escapes for the camp inmates.[12]

Końskie was the centre of Polish underground resistance during World War II, with battles fought by the Armia Krajowa under Major Henryk Dobrzański ("Hubal") in the nearby forests which the German army feared to enter. The town was taken over by the partisans for a few hours on the night of September 1, 1943, with a number of Gestapo agents assassinated.[13] The Nazi Germans retaliated by executing civilians including Jews.[14]

In 1944, during and following the Warsaw Uprising, the Germans deported thousands of Varsovians from the Dulag 121 camp in Pruszków, where they were initially imprisoned, to Końskie.[15] Those Poles were mainly old people, ill people and women with children.[15] 24,000 Poles expelled from Warsaw stayed in the town, as of 1 November 1944.[15]

Jewish history of Końskie


The first mention of the Jewish community in Końskie dates to the 16th century. The pre World War II Jewish population of Końskie (known as Koinsk during the Russian occupation or Kinsk in Yiddish – קינצק / קינסק) comprised 60.6% of the total population of the town or about 6,500 persons as of September 1939. The town's Jewish cemetery was founded in the 17th century, and expanded to span two hectares with the last burial in 1943.[16]

Local Jews digging graves for German soldiers killed in the Battle of Końskie

After the Nazi German invasion of Poland, a ghetto was established in 1940 and closed off in the spring of 1941. The Jews of Końskie and Polish prisoners from Końskie and surrounding towns were forced to dig up the graves, which were used in the construction of pig farms, the Modliszewicach spire, and walls in Końskie and nearby villages. The cemetery was also used as a place of execution for both Jews and Poles.[16]

The complete eradication of the Jewish population of Końskie took place on November 3–9, 1942, when all men, women, and children were loaded into cattle cars to Treblinka II and gassed. Approximately 600 Jews were murdered by the Nazis on the way to the camp. In the subsequent January 1943 "Aktion" in the Konskie Ghetto, the remaining Jews were ferreted out from attics and other hiding places and murdered.[17] The Germans imprisoned several Poles in the local prison, and then deported them to concentration camps for rescuing Jews.[18]

Koinsk appears under the name Bociany as the setting for Chava Rosenfarb's Yiddish language novel of the same name. Bociany was published in English in the author's own translation by Syracuse University Press in 2000. The translation won the John Glassco Award for Literary Translation in 2000.

The Koinsk Organization of Israel ("Ha'Ayarah She'Li: Sefer Ha'Zikaron Le'Yehudei Konskiyah, Hebrew, 2001) commemorates the tragic death of the Jews of Konskie every year at The Diaspora Museum close to the 25th of the Jewish month of Cheshvan.[19]

Recent history


In 1975–1998, the town was administratively located in the Kielce Voivodeship. Most of the town labour force was employed in the local foundry (Koneckie Zakłady Odlewnicze) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Since 1997 the town has developed into a major trade centre for small business.

Notable buildings and landmarks

Sights of Końskie (examples)
Saint Nicholas church
Development of the city of Końskie over the centuries (multiphase map)
  • Classicistic Palace and park complex founded by Jan Małachowski of the Nałęcz coat-of-arms in the 17th century (based on Pillnitz complex) includes
    • Egyptian orangery (Egipcjanka)
    • Greek Temple (now theatre)
    • Gloriette
    • Gazebo (Altanka)
    • Two Palace wings (now residence of the municipal council)
    • Memorial to local Polish scouts killed during World War II
    • Community building turned into a pig slaughterhouse by the SS, with Jewish gravestones from the Konskie Jewish cemetery.
  • Late Gothic church of Saint Nicholas, 1492, with the Romanesque tympanum from the 13th century. The parish is led by Pralat Zapart
  • Baroque church of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Anne
  • Monuments of Polish national heroes Tadeusz Kościuszko and Henryk Dobrzański
  • Spire, built by the SS with Jewish gravestones from the Konskie Jewish cemetery.
  • Cemetery for the German soldiers killed in World War I, respected along with the Polish one
  • Home of Jankiel Pelta at ul. Pilsudskiego 42 (38 Maja-ego 3 till the change of address after World War II)
  • Końskie Synagogue built 1684, burned in 1939. Its embers and metal remnants remain in Końskie.



The local football team is Neptun Końskie [pl]. It competes in the lower leagues.

Notable people

Iwo Odrowąż

International relations


Twin towns – Sister cities


Końskie is twinned with:


  1. ^ (in Polish) BIP Miasta i Gminy Końskie Archived 2010-12-30 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Województwo sandomierskie w drugiej połowie XVI wieku; Cz.1, Mapy, plany (in Polish). Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN. 1993. p. 3.
  3. ^ Gembarzewski, Bronisław (1925). Rodowody pułków polskich i oddziałów równorzędnych od r. 1717 do r. 1831 (in Polish). Warszawa: Towarzystwo Wiedzy Wojskowej. p. 62.
  4. ^ Wardzyńska, Maria (2009). Był rok 1939. Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion (in Polish). Warszawa: IPN. p. 58.
  5. ^ a b Krzysztof Woźniak (July 24, 2011). "Tragiczne wydarzenia 12 września 1939 (Tragic events of September 12, 1939)". Końskie (in Polish). Końskie.org.pl. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  6. ^ Wardzyńska, p. 119
  7. ^ Böhler, Jochen (2009). Zbrodnie Wehrmachtu w Polsce: wrzesień 1939, wojna totalna (in Polish). Wydawnictwo Znak. pp. 211–213. ISBN 978-83-240-1225-1.
  8. ^ Harris, Paul (2007-04-29). "Hollywood tackles Hitler's Leni". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2023-05-25.
  9. ^ Petropoulos, Jonathan (2014-11-28). Artists Under Hitler: Collaboration and Survival in Nazi Germany. Yale University Press. pp. 252–253. ISBN 978-0-300-21061-3.
  10. ^ Lemay, Benoît (2010-07-27). Erich von Manstein: Hitler's Master Strategist. Casemate. pp. 86–87. ISBN 978-1-935149-55-2.
  11. ^ Wardzyńska, p. 254
  12. ^ a b c "Tragiczna Karta Historii". Powiat Konecki (in Polish). Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  13. ^ (in Polish) Cezary Chlebowski, Pozdrówcie Góry Świętokrzyskie Czytelnik, Warszawa 1981, ISBN 83-07-00200-1 pp. 259-262 and 265-266
  14. ^ (in Polish) B. Kacperski, J. Z. Wroniszewski, Konspiracja konecka 43-45, Końskie 2006
  15. ^ a b c "Transporty z obozu Dulag 121". Muzeum Dulag 121 (in Polish). Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  16. ^ a b "KONSKIE". IAJGS Cemetery Project. IAJGS. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  17. ^ Pessach Goldberg; Danuta Dabrowska; Abraham Wein Jakubowicz; Aharon Weiss (1976). Jewish Communities in Poland, Volume I. Jerusalem, Israel: Pinkas haKehilot branch of Yad Vashem. pp. 240–243. ISBN 965-308-007-5. OCLC 22956042.
  18. ^ Rejestr faktów represji na obywatelach polskich za pomoc ludności żydowskiej w okresie II wojny światowej (in Polish). Warszawa: IPN. 2014. pp. 232, 243, 323.
  19. ^ "Ha'arayah She'li: Sefer Zikaron Le'Yehudei Konskiyah-Kinsk-Konsk" by the Irgun Yotzei Koinsk
  20. ^ Bain, Robert Nisbet (1911). "Malachowski, Stanislaw" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 17 (11th ed.). p. 456.

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