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Chojnów

Polska / dolnośląskie

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Summary

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

Location

Wojciech Wojtasiak

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

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History

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The first historical references to Jews in Chojnów date from 1320.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.

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Local history

Miłosz Gudra /

Chojnów | unknown

The first record of a settlement called “Haynow” in historical sources dates back to 1272. Already in 1288, it was described as civitas (a city) in the documents of Duke of Legnica Henryk V Gruby. Chojnów was granted full city rights in 1333, when Duke Bolesław III leased the profits from Chojnów to the inhabitants of Wrocław, who in exchange gave the duke a loan. At that time, the settlement was fully transformed into an urban centre.

Once it became a town, Chojnów gained a street grid that exists to this day. The centre of the town was marked by the Main Square, which had been created before the settlement gained city rights, with buildings erected around the extension of Wysoka Droga Street. In the middle of the 14th century, German settlers started to arrive to Chojnów. In 1339, the town received customs rights.

At the turn of the 15th century, Chojnów experienced rapid economic development thanks to trading relations with other localities and to guilds operating in the town, headed by townsmen dealing with cloth making and weaving. The Clothmakers’ Guild, founded in 1332, received a number of privileges in 1384 and 1394. The power of the Municipal Council steadily increased as the town’s economy flourished. In 1387, the council purchased several land estates in Michów, Gołaczów, and Wojcieszyn from Duke Ludwik I. The town also enjoyed the so-called “mile privilege,” according to which the only products that could be sold in the town were those produced in nearby villages located in the radius of one mile around Chojnów. In 1394, the town gained monopoly over salt trade.

The town was plagued by numerous fires; the largest ones broke out in 1318 and 1428. The latter was caused by Hussites who raided the town and killed numerous inhabitants. Only 15 townsmen managed to survive the fire by hiding in the church tower. The town was rebuilt with the considerable financial support of the governing duke, who exempted the survivors from paying taxes for eight consecutive years. In 1439, the inhabitants of the town were granted considerable reductions of their mortgage debts.

Chojnów started to recover from the economic crisis and by the beginning of the 16th century, it once again became a well-developed, wealthy urban centre. The Municipal Council and the town’s inhabitants coll

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