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Making a living

A house driver is waiting on the lower marketplace, Rynek Dolny, in the early twentieth century, and a bus appearing at the same place in 2011. On the left is the building of the Primary School, built in 1918.
© Photo adapted from the original by Bodzentyn.net | Old photo: courtesy of local historian Stephan Rachtan.

The majority of the Jews were poor. Most of them were craftsmen, artisans and tradesmen. Commonly there was a dwelling at the rear of a shop, which faced the street. In addition to shop keeping, Jews also earned their living as artisans of every sort, coppersmiths, carpenters, leather workers, tailors and cobblers, to name a few. They also participated in fairs held regularly for trade in horses, cattle, grain and many craft products.

The upper marketplace, Rynek Grny, in the early twentieth century and in 2011.
© Photo adapted from the original by Bodzentyn.net | Old photo: courtesy of local historian Stephan Rachtan.

The main handicraft performed by both Polish and Jewish residents was shoemaking. In addition many Polish residents were carpenters and butchers. Since the Jews were keeping a kosher kitchen there were of course also several butchers among the Jews performing the religious slaughter. In the Jewish community there seems to have been an abundance of tailors, not allowing any of them to make a good enough living.

Of course, not all of the Jews in Bodzentyn and its surroundings were tradesmen and businessmen. Some of them were doctors and dentists; others ran small farms with agriculture. There were also Jews who earned a living by transporting goods and people between Bodzentyn and Kielce, the nearby provincial capital.

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