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Polska / zachodniopomorskie

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Province:zachodniopomorskie / inne (before 1939)
County:szczecinecki / Kreis Neustettin (before 1939)
Community:Barwice / Bärwalde (before 1939)
Other names:Bärwalde [j. niemiecki]
53.7438° N / 16.3554° E
53°44'37" N / 16°21'19" E


Małgorzata Grzenda /

Barwice – a town located in north-western Poland, in the West Pomerania Province, in Szczecinek County. It is situated 25 km north-west of Szczecinek, 168 km north-east of Szczecin, 491 km north-west of Warsaw. It lies on the Gęsia River.



Małgorzata Grzenda /

Most likely, the first Jews, at the number of six, arrived in Barwice (then called Behrenwalde) as early as 1690. Fifteen years later, it was recorded that the town had six Jewish households, among which were the families of Marcus Levi, Benjamin Jacob, Jacob Levin, and Jacob Israel. In 1706, Marcus Levi was a delegate to a meeting of the Association of the Jewish Communities of Pomerania (German: Pommersche Landjudenschaft), which was held in Stargard.

In 1712, a fee of 6 thalers was established for Barwice (now called Beerwalde), which had to be paid to the royal treasury in exchange for permission to settle in the town. However, the decision quickly became groundless. It was so because a decree issued by the Government of Hinter Pomerania (German: Hinterpommersche Regierung) stated that only one Jewish family was allowed to live in a private town like Barwice, unlike in a state town. Therefore, all unprivileged Jewish families had to leave the town in the following years. The report of 2 April 1718 states that Marcus Levi received a safe conduct, but had to surrender his court privilege. Jochim Salomon, on the other hand, was forced to leave the town and requested permission to settle in Połczyn (Polzin), where no Jews lived at that time. That permission could have been granted to him only on the condition that he surrendered his privilege. By the end of 1728, the only Jewish family living in Barwice was that of Samuel Salomon, who had received his privilege ten years earlier, and who was referred to as wirklicher Schutzjude ("a real protected Jew"). It is known, however, that Jacob Arndt, a Jew from Szczecinek (Neustettin), would occasionally stay in the vicinity of Barwice.

In 1737, the Barwice town authorities estimated the wealth of Samuel Salomon as so meager that he could not even afford to visit the markets to purchase new wares. Based on that, it can be assumed that the situation in trade in such a small town as Barwice was really unfavorable at the time, although the government supported the purchase of local textiles, including wool. These goods were then sent to Gdańsk and to Poland, a process in which the Jewish merchants played an essential role. The name of Jochim Levin, who was mentioned in 1764, is associated with the textile craft. The last reference to S


Local history

Małgorzata Grzenda

Barwice is one of the oldest settlements in Pomerania. In the area where the town is located nowadays, on the so called “salt route” from Greater Poland to Kołobrzeg, there were once two fortified settlements. The town changed its name at least three times. Till the 12th century it was known by its Slavic name Barwice. At that time also its German name Behrenwalde was known (Bear Forrest – it clearly indicates that the area had once been a primeval forest). It was then changed into Bärwalde. The name Barwice was used again after the area was incorporated into Poland in the aftermath of WWII. First records of Barwice are contained in a document dating back to 1286. Przemysław II donated the settlement to the Templar Knights. Probably in the 14th century Barwice was granted Lübeck town location charter. in 1477 Barwice was owned by the Duchy of Pomerania and in 1648 by Brandenburg-Prussia. As a result of the fire of 1626 most of the buildings, including the church and town hall, were destroyed. In the 19th century a new church was build. The town is also known for old city plan and timber-frame houses from the turn of the 18th and 19th century. The oldest known town seal dates back to 14th century. It consists of a town symbol – a bear heading to the right side in the background of an oak tree . On the rim of the seal there is a Latin inscription “SECRETV BURGENSIVM BERWOL”. What is interesting, on the seal from 1626 and its later versions, the bear is heading to the left side, not to the right as it was originally. After the war the town was rebuilt. Nowadays there a few industrial plants.



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