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Polska / dolnośląskie

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Province:dolnośląskie / inne (before 1939)
County:legnicki / Goldberg (before 1939)
Community:Chojnów / Haynau (before 1939)
Other names:Haynau [j. niemiecki]
51.2727° N / 15.9377° E
51°16'21" N / 15°56'15" E


Wojciech Wojtasiak

Province: Lower Silesia, county: Legnica, municipality: Chojnów.



Tamara Włodarczyk /

The first historical references to Jews in Chojnów date from 1320. According to Marcus Brann, a 19th-century researcher of Silesian Jews, Duke of Legnica Bolesław III supposedly sold Złotoryja and Chojnów to Jews for 5,000 Marks, but we possess no historical sources that would confirm the existence of a larger Jewish settlement in the first half of the 14th century. However, some sources dating from the second half of the 14th century mention Jews of Chojnów, such as Salomon of Chojnów, who was listed as a Wrocław Jewish taxpayer for the period from 1351 to 1356, but who must have lived in the town much earlier. A reference to Chojnów was made in 1370 in a privilege issued by Duchess Agnieszka Świdnicka, who, in the document, granted freedom of religion to the Jews from the Duchy of Świdnica who inhabited Bolesławiec, Dzierżoniów, Jawor, Jelenia Góra, Kamienna Góra, Lwówek Śląski, Niemcza, Strzegom, Świdnica and Chojnów itself. Approximately 100 years later Jews left Chojnów due to persecutions that took place in Lower Silesia after the speeches given by Jan Kapistran, a Franciscan, in Wrocław in the spring of 1453.

Jews were gone from Chojnów for about 300 years and they did not start to settle again in the town until towards the end of the 18th century and they did not create their own religious community until after the entry into force of the Edict of Emancipation of 1812. The 19th century saw the biggest growth of the Jewish community in Chojnów, which had 105 Jewish residents in the year 1867. The Jews of Chojnów took part in World War One. The names of eight of those who were killed in war were commemorated on a plaque placed in the synagogue by members of the Association of Jewish Front Soldiers (Polish: Związek Żydów Żołnierzy Frontowych). The Jews of Chojnów made a living as traders, craftsmen and bankers, among whom were Lachmann and Ohnstein, the owners of a mustard factory situated in Reja Street. Apart from that, Ohnstein was also a town councilor.

The number of the Jewish population began to decrease from the beginning of the 20th century on, with only 32 Jews living in Chojnów in 1932. Martin Schreiber and Hermann Schulz were the Jewish community chairmen; Josef Rosenberg was a minute taker and treasurer. The community board members included also L. Freudenthal from Bolesławiec and Wolff Warschawski, a cantor and ritual slaughterer.


Local history

Miłosz Gudra /

Chojnów | unknown

The first record of the “Haynow” settlement comes from 1272. Already in 1288, the documents of the Duke of Legnica, Henryk V the Fat, described it as a civitas – a city. Chojnów was granted the full city charter in 1333. It was linked with the fact that Duke Bolesława III leased the profits from Chojnów to the inhabitants of Wrocław who in exchange lent him some money. At that time, the settlement was transformed into the town.

The existing until today the net of the streets was shaped permanently after the town was granted a charter. The main square was a centre of the town; it had been created when the extension of Wysoka Droga (High Road) had been surrounded by the buildings before the charter was granted. In the middle of the fourteenth century, German settlers began coming to Chojnów. In 1339, town received the staple right.

At the turn of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Chojnów experienced rapid economic development. It was influenced, except the trade, also by the guilds which existed in the town. They were lead by the burghers engaged in cloth industry and weaving. The cloth guild, founded in 1332, received in 1384 and 1394 a number of privileges. The power of the municipal council was increasing more and more in the economically developing town center. In 1387, Chojnów council purchased from Duke Ludwik I the ownership of the country manors in Michów, Gołaczów, and Wojcieszyn. The town had also the mile privilege; it stated that only the products from the villages within 1 mile radius of Chojnów could be sold in the town. In 1394, Chojnów received the monopoly of the salt trade.

The town was plagued by numerous fires; two largest took place in 1318 and 1428. The latter fire was related with the Hussites attack during which the inhabitants were massacred. Only 15 burghers, hidden in the church tower, survived the attack. It was commemorated by the tablet on the church tower. The town was rebuilt with the considerable financial support of the governing duke; he relieved the saved burghers from a duty to pay taxes for 8 years and in 1439, the inhabitants received the reduction in mortgage debts.

Slowly, Chojnów was resurrecting economically and in the beginning of the sixteenth century it became again a well-developed, wealthy town. Municipal council and the inhabitants benefited from the


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