Olkusz [] is a town in south Poland with 37,696 inhabitants (2004).

Situated in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship (since 1999), previously in Katowice Voivodeship (1975-1998), it is the capital of Olkusz County.


The city is on the Baba river, with a major road reaching it from Warsaw, making it the central city of the vicinity. Tourists who wish to visit the nature and historical sites, start from here.

According to the city website, a fable is mentioned that the city was formed by ancient Phoenicians who traveled here and found lead ore. The origin of the name is the Phoenician El-Khuds meaning to chisel.

A first written historical document from the year 1299 refers to the city of Olkusz. The city was ruled by citizens of German descent, and the inhabitants were mostly wealthy, due to the lead mines. Silver was discovered too.

Various wars crossed the path of this city, which was at its lowest at the end of the 17'th century.

Antony Kocjan, A national Polish war hero, pilot and engineer was born here.

Jewish Holocaust

One of the most famous images of the holocaust is of Rabbi Moshe Hagerman the 'Dayan' - Jewish municipal chief judge, dressed in his Talit and Teffilin and being abused by Nazi soldiers. This image was later identified by people who survived the war and the incident, as an image from the 'Bloody Wednesday of Olkusz', taken on July 31, 1940.

The plight of the Jews during this year until deported, can be read online in various sites. Most of the 4097 Jews listed by the Germans, were eventually deported to Auschwitz and perished there. About 250 Jews of Olkusz and its surroundings, survived the war.


External links

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