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Polska / opolskie

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Province:opolskie / inne (before 1939)
County:brzeski / Grottkau (before 1939)
Community:Grodków / Grottkau (before 1939)
Other names:Grottkau [j. niemiecki]
50.6981° N / 17.3830° E
50°41'53" N / 17°22'58" E


Adam Marczewski

Herb miasta Grodków | plik publiczny

Grodków is located in Brzeg County in Opole Province. It is situated on Grodkowska Plain (Równina Grodkowska).



Adam Marczewski /

The first records about Jews in Grodkow date back to 1324 Their presence there is proved in documents dated 1367. Jews settling down there came from the West and brought with them western models of social and political organization of a state. In addition to that, they also imported tradition, religious rites and a language of Ashkenazi Jews (Hebr. אַשְׁכְּנָזִים, the word “Ashkenazi” denotes Germany as a country where they came from.)

Most Jews in the 15th century occupied themselves with trade and granted loans to Silesian dukes (charging interests on financial loans was then prohibited by Canon law in the whole of Christian Europe.) Some Hebrews ran small craft workshops and shops.

Good financial situation of Jews evoked increasing hatred against them and led to pogroms, whose source was related to economic issues. Kazimierz Bobowski comments on those facts as follows: “Increasing pogroms against Silesian Jews from the 15th century should be related to a growing class disparity in towns. The patriciate of many Silesian towns hoped that pogroms would defuse, only in some degree in the least, dissatisfaction of the poor with economic releations.”

The wave of pogroms and expulsions of Jews that happened in Silesia in1453 was caused by fierce sermon of Johannes Capestrano, a monk (1386-1456). He was a Franciscan friar, inquisitor general, appointed by Pope Nicholaus V to a mission to Germany and Poland. In his sermons Capestrano called for atonement, ascesis and defence against Turks, Hussites and Jews, whom he accused of Host desecration. That was one of the reasons why Jews from Grodkow were expelled from Grodkow in 1453.

Although Jews were not allowed to live in Grodkow in subsequent years, Zydowska St. (Judengasse – present Wyspianskiego St.) [Eng. Jewish Street] used to exist in the town, which may indicate presence of Jews there.

During the 1742 First Silesian War the best part of Silesia got under the rule of the Kingdom of Prussia (except Cieszyn Silesia and the Duchy of Opawa.)

In the years between 1789 and 1799 the European consciousness was being influenced by the French Revolution, whose ideas of equality and fraternity were spread all across Europe by the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte. This gave rise to a Jewish E


Local history

Adam Marczewski /

The first records of Stary and Nowy Grodków date back to 1234 when Henryk I Brodaty, the Duke of Wrocław, granted them with the German rights. In 1268 Grodków was granted civic rights by the Duke of Wrocław – Henryk IV Probus. Ten years later the same procedure was repeated.  The settlement was situated on a trade route from Czech and Nysa to Toruń and Gdańsk, which had resulted in its development. Since 1308 the city had the staple right.

Since the first half of the 14th century Grodków was under Czech dominion. From 1344 to 1810 Grodków was a property of the Bishops of Wrocław and was part of the Duchy of Nysa. In 1428 the city was burnt down by the Hussites.
In 1526, the year Archduke Ferdinand Habsburg of Austria succeeded to the throne and after the heirless death of King Ludwik II Jagiellończyk of Czech and Hungary, Grodków fell under the Habsburg’s rule. During the Thirty Years War the town was looted by the Saxons and the Danes (1632).

In 1742 Grodków was incorporated into Prussia. Since 1816 it became the capital town of the county after the treasury came into possession of bishops goods. In 1847 the Brzeg-Nysa railway line (via Grodków) was opened what in turn helped in further economic growth of the town.

In February 1945 Grodków was invaded by the Soviet Army. During the fights 45% of the town buildings were destroyed. As a result of Yalta-Potsdam resolutions the town was incorporated into Poland. After the war, Polish settlers came and took the place of displaced Germans. In 1950 the county became part of the new Opole Province. Since 1999 Grodków is the capital of the county in the Brzeg County.

Translation: Caroline Kiecoń


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