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Chojna

Polska / zachodniopomorskie

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Summary

Province:zachodniopomorskie / inne (before 1939)
County:gryfiński / Greifenhagen (before 1939)
Community:Chojna / Königsberg in der Neumark (before 1939)
Other names:
 
GPS:
52.9638° N / 14.4279° E
52°57'49" N / 14°25'40" E

Location

izrael.badacz.org /

 

Chojna (German Königsberg in der Neumark) – a town located in the north-west of Poland, in West Pomeranian (Zachodniopomorskie) Province in the county of Gryfino. The city is the seat of the of the mixed urban and rural municipality of Chojna. During the years 1975-1998 the town was administratively part of Szczecin Province.  Chojna is located in Myśliborski lake region, on the Rurzyca River (the right-bank tributary of the Oder (Odra)  River). According to the census of 31th December 2009 the population of the town numbered 7398.

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History

Małgorzata Grzenda

According to The Encyclopedia of Jewish life before and during the Holocaust, the first Jews settled down in Chojna (Königsberg in der Neumark at that time) prior to 1351. It is known that that year they fell victim to persecutions . Most probably the pogrom against the local Jews resulted from the bubonic plague  (the Black Death), which ravaged Western Europe towards the end of 14th century. The most affected places were port cities – the plague reached Gdańsk, from where it spread to Pomorze (Pomerania). Jews were accused of spreading the epidemic, poisoning wells etc. In 1510 following the order passed by Joachim I, Elector of Brandenburg, Jews were expelled from the entire area of the March(Margraviate)  of Brandenburg (German: Markgrafschaft Brandenburg) (including Chojna).

 

However, expulsion order was not strictly obeyed and the Jewish community continued to live in Brandenburg. It is known that at that time Jewish bankers occupied themselves with granting loans on interest to margraves as well as to nobility, townsmen or even peasants. The most famous Jewish banker operating in Brandenburg was Lippold ben Judel Chluchim, who was the administrator of the mint of Margrave Joachim II Hector (1505 – 1571). Following the Margrave’s death, Lippold was accused of embezzlement and witchcraft and was burned on January 28, 1573, after excruciating torture. Pursuant to the edict of February 1, 1573, passed by Margrave John George  Jews were expelled from the Margraviate. They fled primarily to Poland, but also to Śląsk (Silesia) and Czech. Soon afterwards it was found that there was a shortage of efficient traders and bankers, therefore as early as 1575 the same margrave John George granted Jews a five years’ permission to carry out trade, visit fairs and remain within the town limits. In the years to follow that permission was renewed e.g. in 1593. Right after his succession to the throne, Elector Joachim Frederick, at the request of Polish Jews, extended that privilege for another five years, thanks to which the state treasury would get additional 1000 thalers a year. The margraves’ policy towards Jews aimed at achieving the maximum profits and limiting the rights of Jewish residents at the same time. On one hand Jews were not allowed to purchase houses and real estate but on the other they could rent dwelling places and st

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Local history

izrael.badacz.org

The beginning of the settlement in today’s Chojna goes back to the  turn of the 7th and 8th centuries.

In the 13th century the West Pomeranian Duke Barnim I brought colonists from Brandenburg there, and in 1255 Chojna was granted a town charter under Magdenburg Law. Beginning from 1270 the town was part of Brandenburg. Its name was Königsberg until 1945. At the turn of 13th and 14th centuries defensive walls with numerous turrets were built around the town During 1402-1455 the Chojeński Land was given as security to the Teutonic Knights.  It was under Teutonic rule that social and economic as well as administrative and political aspects of Chojeński Land were shaped. That region was a scene of several military operations conducted by the Polish, Teutonic or Pomeranian forces, which in consequence led to the town’s devastation and depopulation. In 1455 the Brandenburg margraves purchased Chojeński Land from the Teutonic Knights. The 17th century witnessed more wars which caused destruction and decimated the population. Beginning from 1720 the town was part of Prussia.

In the first part of the 19th century the Chojnia county was established, which embraced the area on the left bank of the Odra River and the town of Kostrzyń.

During the 18th and 19th  centuries the main occupation of the local people included farming and tree cutting. The development of the town was hampered primarily by its location, far from the main routes of the West Pomerania. Not until the second part of the 19th century did it gain a road and railway connection to the most important cities of the region. In those times Chojna was famous for the production of bells made by the Fischer’s family. They established a large foundry in the 19th century. The production of beer was essential to the town’s economy in those times. It is reflected by the fact that there were 92 breweries in 1808.

It is worth mentioning that a branch of the women’s concentration camp in Ravensbrück was established in Chojna in August 1944 near then airport construction site, where the camp prisoners worked. Most of the prisoners were women from Warsaw, who were taken to Ravensbruck after the Warsaw Uprising . The women were placed in wooden barracks fenced with barbed wire. The camp had hospital barracks. The female prisoners were used to do earthworks  for the constructio

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