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Bydgoszcz

Polska / kujawsko-pomorskie

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Summary

Province:kujawsko-pomorskie / poznańskie (before 1939)
County:bydgoski / bydgoski (before 1939)
Community:Bydgoszcz / Bydgoszcz (before 1939)
Other names:בידגושץ' [j. hebrajski]; Bromberg [j.niemiecki]
 
GPS:
53.1234° N / 18.0082° E
53°07'24" N / 18°00'29" E

Location

Tomasz Kawski /

Bydgoszcz – a city in northern Poland, the capital of Kujawy-Pomorania Province. It lies by the Brda River and the Bydgoszcz Canal, 264 km northwest of Warsaw.

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History

Tomasz Kawski

The history of Jews from Bydgoszcz can be divided into four periods:

  • - the first – from the end of the Middle Ages to 1555,
  • - the second – from 1770s to 1920,
  • - the third – from 1920 to the end of 1939,
  • - the fourth – from 1945 to 1970s.

The first Jews started to settle in Bydgoszcz in the Middle Ages. It is confirmed by the sources from 1507 which indicate the existence of an organized settlement. It can be assumed that the first Jewish settlers came to Bydgoszcz at the end of the 15th century or at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries. The development of the community was impeded by the Royal Privilege from 1555 banning  Jews from living in the town or in its suburbs. In fact, the order was not strictly obeyed. Jews continued to live in the town during the next decades (1569-1578), as well as for a short period of time in 1713.

The next period in the history of the Jewish diaspora is connected with the Partitions of Poland. The Prussians allowed only 4 Jewish families (a total of 11 people) to settle in Bydgoszcz in 1772. In the following decades, up until the 1870s, the number of Jews contiuned to grow. In 1788, there were 41 Jewish residents in the town (2% of the total town’s population), in 1816 – 233 (3.8%), in 1837 – 420 (5.6%), in 1861 – 1,372 (6.6%), in 1871 – 1,963 (7.8%), in 1885 – 1,488 (3.2%), in 1900 – 1,519 (2.9%), in 1910 – 1,345 (2.3%). The growth of Jewish population was caused by the migration movements at the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century. Some people moved to big cities in central Germany, whereas others emigrated to America.

Initially, the Jews from Bydgoszcz belonged to the Fordon kehilla. However, at the beginning of the 19th century they began to make attempts to establish their own community. The first Jewish cemetery was created in Bydgoszcz in 1816, and another, the so-called “new cemetery”, was established in the second half of the 19th century. In 1820,  ritual baths were rented and a house of prayer was opened in Pod Blankami Street. In 1834, a synagogue was opened. On 29 June 1834, the kehilla of Bydgoszcz finally gained its independence from Fordon. In 1852, Julius Gebhardt, Ph.D., became the first rabbi in the town and served the office until 1885. His successors were: Wilhelm Klemperer, Ph.D.,

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Local history

Tomasz Kawski /

Targ miejski na Starym Rynku w Bydgoszczy | Nieznany

The settlement which eventually became Bydgoszcz was established in the first half of the 11th century as a frontier stronghold meant to fend off the attacks of Pomeranians, Prussians, and later on, the Teutonic Order. In the 11th  and 12th century, a settlement started to develop around the fortress; it benefited greatly from its location on the Amber Route, near a ford on the Brda River. The existence of the Castellany of Bydgoszcz was first noted in historical documents dating back to 1283. Ca. 1300, the short–lived Duchy of Bydgoszcz and Wyszogród was established in the area. In 1330, the stronghold was taken by the army of the Teutonic Order.

Bydgoszcz was incorporated back into Poland in 1337. The incorporation was officially confirmed six years later by virtue of the Treaty of Kalisz. Kazimierz III Wielki granted the town Magdeburg rights and gave it the ephemeral name of Kuningsberg (Królewiec). In 1409, the Teutonic Knights managed to take control over the town and the castle once again, but their victory was short–lived. The area started to develop territorially and economically in the second half of the 15th century and in the 16th century, thanks mainly to the political stability of the country. Grain trade (with new granaries built in the river port) and salt trade started to thrive. In 1523, a water supply system was built in the town. Bydgoszcz was also a place of great political importance – in 1520 it hosted the General Sejm, in the years 1594–1688 it was the seat of the Royal Mint, and in 1657 one of the agreements with the Elector of Brandenburg were signed here (the so–called Treaties of Bromberg). The town suffered great damage due to numerous epidemics hitting it in the years 1624–1716; the crisis aggravated even further in the aftermath of the Swedish Wars.

After the First Partition of Poland, Bydgoszcz was incorporated into Prussia. In 1773, the authorities commenced the construction of the Bydgoszcz Channel connecting the Brda with the Noteć and, consequently, the Vistula with the Oder. Bydgoszcz became the centre of the Noteć District. In 1807, it became a part of the Duchy of Warsaw (a capital of a department) and eight years later, it was once again taken by Prussia and incorporated into the Great Duchy of Posen (later Poznań Province) as the centre of

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