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Polska / opolskie

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Province:opolskie / inne (before 1939)
County:kluczborski / Kreuzburg (before 1939)
Community:Kluczbork / Kreuzburg (before 1939)
Other names:Kreuzburg [j. niemiecki]
50.9725° N / 18.2181° E
50°58'20" N / 18°13'05" E


Adam Marczewski

The city of Kluczbork is the seat of the county (second level of local government administration in Poland) in the Opole Province. It is situated in the Northeastern end of Silesian Lowland (Nizina Śląska) in the borderland with Silesian Upland (Wyżyna Śląska), on the Stobrawa River.



Adam Marczewski /

Synagoga w Kluczborku, przed 1938 r. | nieznany

First notes about the Jews living in Kluczbork come from 1414. The Jews that settled in the area came from the West and brought along Western ideas of the organization of social life and administration. They also brought their tradition, religious rites and the language of Ashkenazi Jews (Hebr. אַשְׁכְּנָזִים, Ashkenazi, refers to Germany as the land of their origin).
In the 15th century, most of the Jews were traders or lent money to the Silesian princes (at that time in the whole of Christian Europe there was a Church ruling against lending money for interest). Some Jews were artisans with small workshops or had shops.
When in 1526 the Silesia became part of the German Empire, the Silesian Jewry were in the imperial, and not Czech, jurisdiction.
In the beginning of the 16th century, the competition between Jewish and Christian merchants in Silesia grew. The Jews becoming wealthier evoked growing anxieties in the townspeople, who begun to file complaints on the Silesian Jewry to the authorities in Vienna.
This culminated in a public appearance of the Silesian elder, the bishop of Wrocław, Jakub von Salza, who in 1535 requested of the Hungarian king, Ferdinand I Habsburg, that an imperial edict should be issued expelling Jews from the Duchy of Opole and Racibórz.
On September 14, 1559, Ferdinand I issued an edict expelling the Jews from the Habsburg hereditary land -- from Czech, Moravia, and Silesia. From that moment onwards, the Jews could not legally live in Silesia, but in reality the imperial edict was not universally observed. There were separate enclaves set for the Jews to live in. Those were Głogów and Biała Prudnicka in Silesia and Osobłóda in the Troppau Silesia.
The life of the Jewish community under the Opole-Racibórz Law and the Hapsburg rule in the 16th century was regulated by a “land rule” established in 1561, which was a code of customary and state law, and contained the resolutions passed in the Silesian duchies. There was a separate chapter in it titled “Von Juden,” which regulated the matter of Jewish settlement on the Hapsburg hereditary land, of lending money for interest to lords and peasants, and other.

In 1582-1584, the emperor Rudolf II confirmed the earlier imperial edict which ordered Jews to leave the Hapsburg land (apart from a few enclaves).


Local history

Adam Marczewski

Settlement of Cruceburch was mentioned for the first time in 1252. In 1253 Henry III, the Prince of Wroclaw, gave permission to the Order of the Teutonic Knights to set up a city in that place. They did not manage to set up the city and in 1274 Prince Henry established the city of Kluczbork under German law. In 1327 Prince Wladyslaw Bytomski paid liege homage to a Czech king and from this moment Kluczbork was under Czech control and shared political lot with Silesia. In years 1331-1356 the city was in pledge for the Polish King Kazimerz the Great/Wielki. The city had embankment and a fortified castle in 1396 . In years 1428-1434 Kluczbork was occupied by Hussites. Louis II Jagiellon (Ludwik II Jagiellończyk), king of Hungary and Bohemia, died heirless in 1526, and consequently, the Archduke of Austria Ferdinand Habsburg became the king of Bohemia. In this way Kluczbork came under the Habsburg control. In 1528 the great fire ravaged the most of the city. In 1590 city’s defensive walls were build. During the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) the city was pillaged and robbed by different armies (including tsarist army in 1634) . In 1637 an epidemic killed almost the whole population of the city .
In years 1660-1671 Polish brethren found shelter in Kluczbork and organized here synods in 1663 and 1668. In 1742 the city was incorporated to Prussia. In 1868 the first railway line: Wroclaw-Fosowskie was opened with a station Kluczbork. In 1908 a hydroelectric power station on the Stobrawa River was built.

In January 1945 the Soviet army took over Kluczbork. 16% of the city’s buildings were destroyed during the fighting.

Population of the city: 26,100 (2004).



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