Chelmek was an industrial settlement, which administratively belonged to the Chrzanow district, but because of its location, it was closer to Oshpitzin, altogether 5 – 6 kilometers distant. Everyone regarded it as part of the Oshpitzin district and as far as Kehilla and community services were concerned, the Jews of Chelmek availed themselves of the Oshpitzin institutions.
The settlement was located on the left bank of the Przemsze [?] River, some two kilometers from the Trzebinia – Oshpitzin railroad line.
There are records of the settlement only from the middle of the 15th Century, and its area was quite small then. As of 1795, when the Austrians occupied the area, it was listed as a village with more than 500 inhabitants and nearly 100 dwellings. Next to the new bridge that had been constructed over the Przemsze there was a customs station.
In the 1921 census, the locality had 1314 souls and 230 buildings.
There were small industries, a quarry, and sawmills. In 1920, the Czech industrialist. J. S. Bata [?] built a large shoe-factory, "Bata Shoes", which expanded rapidly and by 1938 employed about 2000 workers.
There had always been a few Jewish families in Chelmek who were engaged in trade and industry. Among the "Bata" employees there were also Jews, but not all were locals. From the long-time Jewish families that are known to us were: Yitzchak Mandelbaum, Kalman Wulkan, Waldner, Schönherz, Krakauer, and Bochner-Sonnenschein.
The synagogue was located in the Mandelbaum family home, in several rooms set aside by them for this special purpose. They greeted all comers to the House of Prayer affably and would distribute sweets to the children.
Administratively, Chelmek was affiliated with Chrzanow, and belonged to its district, but because of its proximity, the Jews of Chelmek preferred to obtain their communal services in Oshpitzin.
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