Polska / dolnośląskie
|Synagogues, prayer houses and others||Cemeteries||Places of martyrology||Judaica in museums||Andere|
|Province:||dolnośląskie / inne (before 1939)|
|County:||Legnicki / Liegnitz (before 1939)|
|Community:||Legnica / Liegnitz (before 1939)|
|Other names:||dawniej Lignica; Liegnitz [j.niemiecki]|
Legnica is a urban poviat and the seat of Legnica county, in Lower Silesia Province. It is situated on the Legnicka Plain, on the Kaczawa River and its left tributary – the Czarna Woda River.
According to Friedric Emanueul Fischer and Carl Friedrich Stuckardt, Jews settled near the castle in Legnica in c. 1170. A researcher in the history of Silesian Jews, Marcus Brann, found this account extremely questionable. Not until 1301 were there any accounts confirming the presence of Jews in the town. In 1314, one of documents mentions "a Jewish town" located near Legnica, on the "Czarna Woda River”. That Jewish settlement occupied a few streets – it started at the old castle bridge, then went along Nowa Street across the castle yard, reaching deep inside the castle garden and beyond Głogowska gate. It had a synagogue, a Jewish school and a cemetery. An account of 1339 mentions a Jewish street by the coal market.
The first document on the Jews of Legnica comes from 1447 – Elżbieta, Duchess of Legnica, granted to the town of Legnica the entire authority (all rights and courts) that her ancestors had had over the Jewish street situated in front of the castle.
In 1447, a dispute arouse between Duchess Elisabeth and the Jewish bankers who demanded that she returned a loan. It resulted in a pogrom of Jews and burning down their district. In the mid-15th c., a series of pogroms of the Jewish population took place instigated by the activity of the famous preacher, a Franciscan monk, Jan Kapistran. In the sermon given in 1453 in Wrocław he accused Jews of theft and desecrating the Host. It entailed a series of trials. A number of Jews from many Silesian cities became defendants, while executions took place in Wrocław, Legnica, and Świdnica. On 5 August 1453, Jews were burnt at the stake in Legnica. Concurrently, Jewish property was confiscated, and 318 Jews of Legnica who survived persecutions were expelled from the town. These events brought an end to the Jewish community of Legnica.
Jews returned to the town as late as in the 19th c. Although the edict of toleration issued by the Prussian king on 1 June 1755 allowed Jews to settle in Legnica Głogów, and Wrocław, it only pertained to well-off individuals who had at least 1,000 ducats while their wives and children were omitted. Not until the issuance of the next edict (1812) did Jews begin to move to Legnica. The newcomers included the residents of Głogów and other towns in Lower Silesia and Wielkopolska. One of the first settlers was Meier Neumann Prausnitz, a banker.
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