The region in south-central Poland was in the 19th century during the partition of Poland part of the Russian Empire. The area became an important centre for the production of armaments and there were a number of large munitions factories. After the German invasion of Poland in 1939, these factories were integrated into the economy of the Third Reich and many of the Boys were taken as slave labourers to work in them.
Kielce had a significant Jewish population before the war. After the liberation the city was the scene of a major program in July 1946 in which almost 40 Jews lost their lives and many more were injured. It prompted a mass exodus of Holocaust survivors from Poland.
Today, Kielce is the home of an important Holocaust education programme.