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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:Zülz [j. niemiecki]
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 history of Jewish settlement in Biała dates back to the influx of Jews from Western Europe to Silesia (the first wave of migration reached Silesia between the 13th and the 14th centuries; see: Jews in Silesia until the 14th c.). The first historical record of Jews living in Biała comes from 1427, when a Jew from Ziębice named Abraham settled there with his family. When in 1526 Silesia came under the rule of German emperors, the Jewish population of the region also came under the jurisdiction of the Habsburg dynasty (see: Jews under the Habsburg rule).

In 1540, anti-Semitic sentiments led the townspeople and merchants to ask for all Jews to be removed from Biała, but Margrave George Hohenzollern, who ruled over the Duchy of Opole and Racibórz, did not uphold these pleas. In 1543, however, he published a document banning Jews from living in Głubczyce. Nine Jewish families subsequently left Głubczyce and settled in Biała Prudnicka.

In 1562, the sejmik (local parliament) of the Duchy of Opole and Racibórz adopted a resolution obliging Jews to sell their houses, pay their debts, and leave the Duchy within a year. The proprietor of Biała Prudnicka, Jan Krzysztof Prószkowski, opposed this resolution and opted for letting Jews stay in the town. As a consequence, Biała became the only place in Opolian Silesia where Jews were free to settle and live. Due to many Jews arriving to the town, Biała soon became known as Judenzüelz (“Jewish Zülz [Biała]” in German).

In 1600, there were 26 Jewish families living in Biała. The local cemetery became the burial place for Jews originating from the entire area of Silesia.

On 13 April 1601, the local Jewish community was granted a special privilege from Emperor Rudolf II. It obliged Biała's authorities to provide legal protection to Jews. The document also allowed Jews to settle in the areas of Nysa, a suburb town located near Biała. Over the course of the following years, local Jews bought houses in Nysa and engaged in small trade. Several years later the new proprietor of Biała, Count Hans Christoph von Proskowski, confirmed the privileges of local Jews. Accordi


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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