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Człopa

Polska / zachodniopomorskie

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Summary

Province:zachodniopomorskie / inne (before 1939)
County:wałecki / Deutsch Krone (before 1939)
Community:Człopa / Schloppe (before 1939)
Other names:Schloppe [j.niemiecki]
 
GPS:
53.0885° N / 16.1211° E
53°05'18" N / 16°07'15" E

Location

Robert Dziemba

The city is situated in the Wałecki Lake District, in the valley of the Cieszynka River and the Drawsko Forest, by the Kamień and Miejski Lakes.

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History

Małgorzata Grzenda /

 

A couple Jewish families already lived in Człopa in the middle of the 17th century. In 1674, 28 Jews were listed in the city. During the 18th cen. The Jewish community grew considerably and amounted to 250 citizens. In the following years the number of Jewish citizens systematically grew. In 1839 the local community had 311 members – the most in its history. Towards 1840 a synagogue was built in the city, local Jews also possessed their own cemetery. It was the community’s most magnificent period.

In the second half of the 19th cen. The number of community members began to fall rapidly. In 1871, 195 Jews lived in the city and in 1933, on the day before Hitler’s ascent to power, approximately 100 citizens were Jews. At the beginning of 1938 all Jewish property was, including shops and buildings belonging to the community – the synagogue and buildings adjacent to it, was taken from the Jews and given for ownership to the city. The few Jews that remained in the city were banished form it in the beginning of 1939. They were confined in the camp in Piła (german:  Schneidemühl), from where they were transported to other camps, where they were killed .

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Local history

Robert Dziemba /

The origin of the name of Człopa has not been clear. Historical records mention various forms of the name of Człopa e.g. Szlup, Słup, Slop, Szlopa (German Schloppe). There are three versions that explain the origin of this name. According to one of them the name of Człopa is derived from the word Slu (of Slavonic origin which is the equivalent to German die Furt)  denoting a ford  - a place where you can cross the water safely i.e. the marsh, lake etc. Physical conditions of Czopa environs seem to confirm the existence of such a ford. It is also known that strongholds (fortified settlements) used to be erected in such places to control  fords and transportation routes. This gave rise to permanent settlement. Most probably the remains of such a fortified settlement are located in the vicinity of today’s Człopa, on Kamień lake. Historical sources mention two “stronghold hills” in the vicinity of the town; one of them being above the mentioned site on Kamień lake and the other within the town limits. The latter was leveled after 1772 , one of the reasons for that being the elevation and enlarging the presbytery garden and the construction of the embankment along the Cieszynka River. Both hills could have been in the past fortified defense structures guarding the ford. There is also a hypothesis that the name of Człopa is derived from the word Słupi (of Slavonic origin denoting a pole or a pile). It could suggest that in the initial period of settlement (most probably in the 9th – 10th centuries)  the houses were erected on piles (slupi) in this area due to unfavorable natural conditions. Both etymologies of the name Czlopa are based to some degree on the environmental conditions and this fact supports them. Another hypothesis aiming at the explanation of the origin of this name can be found on the information board in the church in Człopa. According to it the name is connected to the alleged, legendary founder of the settlement whose name was probably Czołp or Człop. However, this information is not supported by any reliable source material. In some German studies one can find a possible explanation of the name of Czołpa. Baed on it the name is derived from a Germanic word Slop or Schlopp denoting originally a loop (or bend, curve). It is suggested by the scholars who provide this etymology that the Cieszynka River meanders in the vicinity of C

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