First Jews mostly likely settled in Kazanów in the first half of the 17th century. A Jewish community was established between 1710 and 1711. 80 Jews lived there in 1718, with the number increasing to 170 in 1927 (26.5% of the overall population). In the 18th century, the community built its own cemetery.
During the first National Census of the Second Polish Republic carried out in 1921, 336 people from Kazanów declared their Jewish origin; they made up 41.3% of the town’s population. Initially, in only a wooden house of prayer existed in Kazanów, but in the years 1929–1930, a brick synagogue was built. The community also owned a house for the rabbi, a cheder, a mikveh, a plot of cropland, and a meadow.
In the inter-war period, the leaders of the community were Herszel Szykrot (between 1927–1929, according to official documents of the community), and Josek Micenmacher (1931). In 1927, Izaak Rotfeld became the first rabbi; he was succeeded by Lejzor Rolnicki, who started to perform the function on 1 March 1936. In the years 1927–1930, the function of the mohel was performed by Herszel Grynblat, who, as a result of a scandal linked to illegal slaughter, had to move to Radom in 1930. It is worth noting that the fairs in Kazanów enjoyed a lot of popularity, as one could buy poultry for a very low price. The poultry was then sold at a profit in Radom, Zwoleń or Skaryszew.
According to data from 1933, there were 517 Jews living in Kazanów, whereas in 1937, only 428 remained. The same year, 80 families were urged to pay their contributions to the community. The moveable property of the community was estimated at 800 złoty, the immovable property was worth 3,000 złoty, and debts amounted to 1,517.50 złoty. The Community Board was dominated by Orthodox Jews, who often described themselves as being politically neutral. In the State Archive in Kielce, one can find documents of the community dating back to the 1920s and 1930s (see annual reports in section Recollections and accounts).
Upon the outbreak of WWII, there were 456 Jews living in Kazanów[1.1]. Germans quickly seized the town and started persecuting the Jewish population. Forced labour and other mandatory activities were introduced. Jews from neighboring villages were forcefully displaced to Kazanów.
In March 1942, Germans shot 16 Jews and 16 Poles in a forest near Kazanów in retaliation for a German gendarme killed by Polish partisans. In October 1942, Jews from the town were gathered and transported to the ghetto in Sienno. During the deportation, Germans murdered 12 Jews. Later on, the Jews were sent to a death camp in Treblinka.
- [1.1] A. Penkalla, Żydowskie ślady w województwie kieleckim i radomskim, Radom 1992, p. 127.