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Biała (woj. opolskie)

Polska / opolskie

Synagogues, prayer houses and others Cemeteries Sites of martyrdom Judaica in museums Andere


Province:opolskie / inne (before 1939)
County:prudnicki / Neustadt (before 1939)
Community:Biała / Zülz (before 1939)
Other names:Biała Prudnicka
Zülz [j. niemiecki]
Бяла [j. rosyjski]
50.3854° N / 17.6643° E
50°23'07" N / 17°39'51" E


Adam Marczewski

Herb miasta Biała | plik publiczny

The town Biala is located in  Prudniki County, Opole Province. It is situated on the Glubczycki Plateau, on the Biala River (tributary of the  Osobloga River).



Adam Marczewski

View on the synagogue in Biała | J. Chrząszcz

The first information about Jews living in Biala comes from 1427. Abraham, a Jew from Ziebice, settled down in Biala with his family at that time. In 1562 an independent Jewish community was established. In 1563 Emperor Ferdinand I removed the Jews from Silesia with the exception of only two towns: Biala and Glogow. As a result, many Jews settled down in Biala and the town was called „Judenzuelz” („Jewish Zülz”). Twenty-six Jewish families lived in Biala in 1600. The local cemetery became the burial place for Jews from almost the whole territory of Silesia. In 1601 Emperor Rudolf issued a decree giving Jews the right to permanent settlement in Biala. The town’s authorities were then obliged to take care of them. The wooden synagogue was then situated in Judengasse. About 600 Jewish inhabitants lived in Biala in 1724 and by 1742 their number increased to 1,000. In the big fire of 1769 the synagogue and neighboring Jewish houses were burnt down. A new synagogue, made of brick, was built in 1774 and it was located in Karisplatz (now Walowa St.). About 1,001 Jews lived in Biala in 1780, and they constituted 49.2% of all inhabitants. They owned 40 houses in town, which was 17% of all buildings. Jews earned their living with trade and craft, they had contacts with Wroclaw, Krakow, Jaroslaw and other towns. Trade brought them prosperity, so the Jews from Biala quickly built their fortunes.  In 1812 the Jewish community reached the peak number of 1,096. There was a synagogue, a yeshiva, and a Jewish library in town. Jews called their town „Macum Cadik”, which means „Town of Fair People”. At the beginning of the 19th century many Jews decided to move to Silesia, to better developed areas. As a result only 912 Jews remained in Biala, constituting 34.9% of all inhabitants. In 1845 there were only 591 Jews left in Biala, which made up 22% of all inhabitants. In the middle of the 19th century there was a Hebrew printing house in Biala. Jewish emigration continued at the turn of the 20th century. Most Jews moved to big towns, very often to Wroclaw and Berlin. In 1914 the Jewish community in Biala was dissolved, and the remaining Jews became subordinated to the kahal of Nysa. All dishes from the synagogue were taken to Prudnik. Only 14 Jews lived in Biala in 1925, and in 1935 – only 12 Jews. Their fate is unknown.


Local history

Adam Marczewski /

The settlement of Biała (the seat of a castellany) was first mentioned in 1225. From 1270 on, the town was under Czech rule and shared the political fate of Silesia. During the following years many German colonists settled there, and as a result the German name of the settlement – Zülz – appeared in 1285. In 1311 Zülz was granted town rights under German Law.  The town was surrounded by defense walls with towers. In 1428 many skirmishes with the Hussites took place. In 1526 the King of Czech Lands and Hungary – Ludwik II Jagiellończyk (1506-1526), died without an heir and as a result Ferdinand Habsburg sat on the throne, and Zülz passed under the Habsburg rule. In 1544 a great fire destroyed the town. During the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) the town was robbed by the Hohenzollern family. In 1654 a plague devastated the town. In 1742 Zülz, along with the whole Silesia region was attached to Prussia. Zülz was at that time a well known trade center, which had contacts with Wrocław, Kraków, Jarosław and other cities. In 1791 and 1793 fires destroyed the town again.. At the beginning of the 19th century embroidery and lace making developed.  

During World War II, in January 1945, Zülz was occupied by the Soviet Army. The Russians burnt part of the town buildings around the market square. Afterwards, the city was incorporated into the Polish territory.



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