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Międzyrzecz

Polska / lubuskie

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Summary

Province:lubuskie / inne (before 1939)
County:międzyrzecki / Meseritz (before 1939)
Community:Międzyrzecz / Meseritz (before 1939)
Other names:Meseritz [j.niemiecki]
 
GPS:
52.4445° N / 15.5779° E
52°26'40" N / 15°34'40" E

Location

Andrzej Kirmiel

Miedzyrzecz is located in the central-east part of the Lubuski Province, at the intersection of state roads number 3 (E 65) and 137.

It is part of the Miedzyrzecz County and the seat of the town and village municipality Miedzyrzecz.

Obrzyce (German: Obrawalde) – a former village situated about 2 km east of Miedzyrzecz, nowadays within the town’s administrative boundaries. Since 1904 it has housed a psychiatric hospital. During World War II the Nazis carried out a euthanasia program in it.

 

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History

Andrzej Kirmiel

It is not known when the Jews first settled in the town.  Literary sources say that they were present in Miedzyrzecz at least from the 16th century, and alongside with the Germans they played an important role in the town’s development. The Jewish district was located in the northeast of the town, between the oval of the city walls and Wysoka (High St.) and Zydowska Streets (Jewish St.) (German: Hohe Straße and Judenstraße)  [see street map of Miedzyrzecz no. 3]. The relations between Jews and Christians in Miedzyrzecz were always tense- the town chronicles mentioned repeated conflicts and exiles. Apart from traditional, religion biased dislike and economic conflicts emerged. Yet another cause of the conflict was the attempt of the Jewish community to emancipate from the town’s rule and pass under the state rule of the officials. The above mentioned factors, alongside with some other ones caused, that the town inhabitants took advantage of every occasion to eliminate the deeply hated competition.

The first serious opportunity arose in 1520, when after a big fire the bourgeoisie threatened to leave town, and King Sigismund I the Old agreed to expel the Jews on the condition that the bourgeoisie would took over the payments made previously by the Jews to the royal treasury. Those 10 marks (ancient monetary units) in silver were probably a big burden to the bourgeoisie, as the Jews returned to the town.

It is not known when exactly the Jews appeared in Miedzyrzecz. The 1532 privilege of the Brandenburg Margrave’s Joachim I, in which it was stated that Polish Jews were allowed to trade in the Margraviate, mentions also the Jews from Miedzyrzecz. Also the survey of the ruler’s properties, which was done in the years 1564-1565, and embraced also the royal town of Miedzyrzecz, mentioned Jews. It said: there were 18 Jewish houses in Miedzyrzecz, and each of them paid to the castle 30 grosz (Polish cents) and 2 pounds of pepper. Apart from that a Jew paid 15 grosz and 2 pounds of pepper for each sales place. Moreover, all Jews supplied the official with a vat of olive oil and half a pound of saffron every year. Then there was the Jewish population per capita which the community paid – amounting to 30 florins. That money through the mediation of the Board of the Jewish Communities in Gniezno flew i

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