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Polska / dolnośląskie

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Province:dolnośląskie / inne (before 1939)
County:oleśnicki / Oels (before 1939)
Community:Bierutów / Bernstadt (before 1939)
Other names:Bernstadt [j. niemiecki]
51.1245° N / 17.5460° E
51°07'28" N / 17°32'45" E


Wojciech Wojtasiak

The town of Bierutów is situated in the Oleśnica county, Lower Silesian Province. It is situated on the Oleśnicka Plain, on the Widawa River.



Martyna Sypniewska

First records of Jewish presence in Bierutów date back to the 14th century, when the town was within the borders of the Duchy of Oleśnica.

From the end of the 14th century there is no further mention of Jews residing in Bierutów until the second half of the 17th century, when they began to settle in the area. They were encouraged to settle there by the local rulers, as their presence was bringing profits to the economy. In 1686 Markus Elias took a lease on ducal custom duties, and by 1694 three new Jewish lease holders were noted in municipal records.

Soon thereafter, an official Jewish council was formed in the town. Jewish merchants did not get a warm welcome from local tradesmen, who feared competition. At the beginning, Jewish activity was restricted to small trade, peddling, and selling goods at the town market. However, Jews had the monopoly on production of alcoholic beverages. All the above exerted an impact on the profile of Jewish settlement in the area. Most Jews settled in the surrounding villages, and the town itself was inhabited solely by ducal tenants and people working for Jewish merchants from Poland, who would stop in Bierutów on their way to Wrocław.

From the mid-18th century onwards the Jewish community of Bierutów was expanding, mainly due to the influx of people from the nearby villages and from Wrocław. Following the incorporation of Bierutów to Prussia in 1742, an Office for Tolerance was established for the Jewish population of the town and for part of the Oleśnica county. In 1751 there were 10 Jews registered in the Office; 7 of them resided in the nearby villages, and 3 of them resided in the town itself.

In 1722 there were 4 Jewish families residing in the town; in 1761 there were already 12. Towards the end of the 18th century (1785), 20 Jewish resided in Bierutów (total of 104 people). At the beginning of the 19th century, the number of Jewish families equaled 43. In 1825 there were 119 Jews in Bierutów, in 1843 –121, in 1849 – 204, in 1871 – 145, in 1880 – 211,  in 1907 – 116, and in 1924 – 80. According to historical records, from the beginning of the 20th century onwards Jewish population began to leave the town.

Initially, Jews of Bierutów celebrated religious services in a rented room. From the beginning of t


Local history

Wojciech Wojtasiak

The oldest mentions of the trade settlement Fürstenwald come from 1214. In 1266, the town of Fürstenwald was granted the municipal charter. Its advantageous position by the trade route from Wrocław to Kluczbork stimulated the town’s development. Since 1329, the town was under Czech rule, and its political situation resembled that of Silesia. In the 16th century, the town changed its name to Bieruthow. Since 1526, it belonged to the House of Habsburg. Since 1742 it was part of Prussia. It was when the town changed its name to Bernstadt. In the 18th century, the textile trade began to develop.

During WWII, Bernstadt was captured by the Soviet Army in January 1945. After the war, the town’s name was changed to Bierutów.





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