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Polska / śląskie

Synagogues, prayer houses and others Cemeteries Sites of martyrdom Judaica in museums Andere


Province:śląskie / śląskie autonomiczne (before 1939)
County:cieszyński / cieszyński (before 1939)
Community:Cieszyn / Cieszyn (before 1939)
Other names:Teschen [j. niemiecki]; צ'שין [j. hebrajski]; טעשין [j. jidysz]
49.7499° N / 18.6355° E
49°44'59" N / 18°38'07" E


Adam Marczewski /

Cieszyn - a city with county rights in southern Poland, in the Silesian Province. It lies on the right bank of the Olza River (on the left bank lies the Czech Těšín). It is situated 370 km southwest of Warsaw and 73 southwest of Katowice.



Adam Marczewski

Chasyd idący w międzywojennym Cieszynie. | nieznany

Jews began to settle in Cieszyn in the first half of the 16th century. It might have been connected with the fact that the town was incorporated to the Habsburg Empire. The first historical reference dates back to 1531, the year in which a Jew called Jakub bought a house in Cieszyn (he sold the house and left the town the same year) .

The competition between Jewish and Christian merchants increased in Silesia at the beginning of the 16th century. The fact that the Jews grew rich caused dissatisfaction and tensions among the village people who filed numerous complaints against the Silesian Jews to the imperial authorities in Vienna.

That was one of the reasons why, on 14 September 1559, Emperor Ferdynand I issued an imperial edict ordering that the Jews be expelled from the Habsburg hereditary lands, i.e. the Czech Republic, Moravia and Silesia. From then on, the Jews could not take up official residence in Silesia; however, the imperial edict was not widely applied. The Jews had separate enclaves in which they could live: Głogów and Biała Prudnicka in Silesia and Osobłóda and Opawa Silesia .

The life of the Jewish community in the Cieszyn borough under the Habsburg control in the 16th century was regulated by so-called land regulations, enacted in 1561, which were lists of common and state laws and resolutions of the local government councils of Silesian duchies. They contained a separate chapter entitled “Von Juden”, which defined the law of settlement on Habsburg lands and set loans given on interest by the Jews to lords and peasants, as well as other things .

Cieszyn Duke Wacław Adam (reigned 1579-1617) did not abide by all the imperial edicts and often used the services of Jewish musicians and had a court glazier of Jewish origin called Markus. The duke awarded Markus for his faithful service by issuing, in 1575, a privilege that permitted him to buy a house in the town. Markus, however, ran up debt and the town council sold his house in 1578.

In the years 1582-1584, Emperor Rudolf II confirmed the previous imperial edict stating that the Jews had to leave the Habsburg hereditary lands, excluding specially separated enclaves.

The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) led to the depopulation of many Silesian towns and cities. Striving to improve the f


Local history

Cieszyn ok. 1640 r. - miedzioryt Meriana | własność publiczna

From the 7th to 9th century, the area of today’s Cieszyn was occupied by the gord of the Golensizi tribe. In the 9th century, the settlement was severely damaged, most probably by the troops of Svatopluk I, the prince of Great Moravia. It was when the gord was reconstructed into a fortified settlement on the Castle Mountain, protected by wood and earth embankments, almost 10 metres high and thick, that the history of today’s Cieszyn actually started. The new gord was made up of small huts abutting a road covered with laths. Among the excavated residues of its buildings, archaeologists found items testifying to the Slavic origin and developed culture of the inhabitants of the gord. Cieszyn later gained importance as a border guard point on the southern frontiers of lands ruled by Bolesław Chrobry. As the seat of a castellan, it became also the state administration centre of the first Piasts.  In 1155, Cieszyn was mentioned for the first time in a papal bull issued by Hadrian IV as Tescin. In the mid-11th century or about 1180, the first sacral building, a Romanesque rotunda, was built in the area .

In 1172, the castellany of Cieszyn became part of the newly established Duchy of Racibórz, which merged with the Duchy of Opole in 1202. In 1290, the founder of the Cieszyn line of Piast dynasty, Mieszko, became the ruler of the new Duchy of Cieszyn. He started to rebuild the gord into a castle. In 1327, in Opawa, Casimir I, a son of Mieszko, paid homage to the king of Bohemia, John of Luxembourg. From that moment on, the Duchy of Cieszyn was a fief of the Bohemian Crown, enjoying a high degree of internal autonomy.  Being the capital of the duchy, Cieszyn gained importance and expanded.

Cieszyn saw its heyday under the rule of Duke Przemysław I Noszak (1358–1410), who managed in 1374 to win a charter for Cieszyn under the Magdeburg Law. At the time, the wooden castle was replaced with a brick one and Mikołaj Giseler was appointed probably the first mayor of the town . Moreover, a town council was established and located in a newly-built town hall building. In 1416, Duke Bolesław I confirmed the previous privileges of Cieszyn and granted new ones, such as the mileage right for guilds and the  right of townspeople to possess houses and own land estates .

The town saw a rapid growth under the





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