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Polska / zachodniopomorskie

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Province:zachodniopomorskie / inne (before 1939)
County:gryfiński / gryfiński (before 1939)
Community:Gryfice / Greifenberg (before 1939)
Other names:Greifenberg in Pommern [j. niemiecki]
53.9167° N / 15.2000° E
53°54'59" N / 15°11'59" E


Małgorzata Grzenda

Gryfice is a town located in the northern part of the Western Pomerania Province. It is situated on the Gryficka Plain, constituting part of the Szczecińskie sea-coast region. The Rega River, one of the biggest in Pomerania, runs through the town and is considerd to be one of the most beautiful kayak routes in Poland. The distance from Gryfice to the Baltic Sea is 22 km.



Małgorzata Grzenda

The beginnings of the Jewish settlement in Gryfice date back already to 1705, when Hirsch Joseph, a Jew living in Gryfice at that time, was granted a protection privilege. He lived together with his son Jochim Josef, who applied for the privilege allowing him to settle in Kamień Pomorski (Cammin) several years later- in 1718. However, as reported by the commissaries Massow, Somnitz and Borck (Stargard Szczeciński,  2nd of April, 1718), he stood a slim chance to be granted this privilege, as there already was one Jew living in Kamień. Hirsch Joseph was one of those Jews from the Zaodrzańskie Pomerania region (German Hinterpommern) who were obliged to pay taxes. He had two sons and two daughters. In 1728 he paid 20 thaler and 4 groshe for the protection. In 1712 the fee for Jews who wanted to settle in Gryfice was set on 8 thaler. Johann Friedrich Kopf, a tanner from Gryfice, in his letter addressed to the official supervising excise duties dated 19th November 1721, complained, that Jews from Gryfice, Płotów (Plathe) and Reska (Regenwalde) buy out hides of slaughtered animals. As a result, in order to supply shoemakers with hide, he had to import it from tanners living abroad, which was connected with paying unnecessary custom fees. Therefore, Jews were forbidden to trade in hide under the penalty of 100 florins. In the Pomerania Government (German: Pommersche Regierung) report „on Jewish community” from the 10th of August 1731, a state town was mentioned, and Gryfice had such status at that time; it was stated, that a Jew, Hirsch Joseph, lived there, and that the town had the possibility to accept one more Jew, preferably a person with good reputation whose father already had the privilege. Four years later, in a decree addressed to the government from the 13th of September 1735, concerning the location of Jewish population in Pomeranian towns under the Gryfice entry there is a note informing, that a Jew, Hirsch Joseph, may still live in town, and the second place remains vacant. In the book there is also a list of Jews living in Gryfice and the amount of tax they paid, prepared by an assessor and military official (German: Kriegs- und Steuerrat) called Bühring. One of the Jews, Michael Wulff, when he came to the town in 1749, was obliged to buy silver worth 4 Marks. In 1781, and later, in 1784, Simon Jonas was listed


Local history

Małgorzata Grzenda

Rynek w Gryficach | Dawid P.

In 1262 Wartislaw III, Duke of Pomerania, granted Gryfice town privileges under Lubeck Law. The town was then called Nowe Miasto nad Regą (Latin: Nova civitas supra Regam). Only Barnim I, Duke of Pomerania, changed the town’s name to Gryfia Mountain – a town on the Rega River (Polish: “Gryfia Góra – miasto nad Regą”, Latin: Civitat Griphemberch super Regam). The German name of the town, Greifenberg in Pommern, comes from the Latin name griphus, and a latter German word Grief(f) or Greif(f) (Polish “gryf”, English “griffin”). The second segment of the word – -berg is typical for German towns’ names and signifies a mountain. The name may be translated as “Griffin Mountain”, or “ Mountain of the Griffins” which may be referred to the surname of a Western Pomerania dynasty of dukes who founded the town, and from whom it took the griffin in its coat of arms. In 1945 the communist authorities changed the name of the town to Zagórze (from June 1945 to June 1946). The present day name Gryfice has been officially used since June1946. In the early Middle Ages the territory of the Gryfice Land was populated with Western Pomeranian tribes, then for a short period the land was subordinated to Mieszko I of Poland and Bolesław III Wrymouth. In the 13th century, when the Dukes Wartislaw III and Barnim I ruled in Pomerania, a town was created out of three villages, which, as it was already mentioned, was granted town rights in 1262, together with the privilege of clearing forests, shipping on the Reda River and on coastal waters. It was also temporarily exempted from tax and customs fees. The town was advantageously located by the important trade route of  the navigable Rega River, which joined the crucial towns of Wolin and Kołobrzeg This favourable location conditioned the economic development of Gryfice which was based on traditional commodities exchange and local artisan production. Numerous sołectwa (subdivision of municipality), mills and inns received new owners. The export of commodities in Gryfice led to the organization of yearly fairs; the biggest was called “Saint Gaweł Fair” (on the 10th of October), then also honey fairs (on the 30th of September) and poultry fairs. There were two guilds in town – of merchants and brew masters. Sea trade and navigation on the river f




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