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Polska / opolskie

Synagogues, prayer houses and others Cemeteries Sites of martyrdom Judaica in museums Andere


Province:opolskie / inne (before 1939)
County:nyski / Neisse (before 1939)
Community:Nysa / Neisse (before 1939)
Other names:Neisse [j. niemiecki]
50.4787° N / 17.3369° E
50°28'43" N / 17°20'12" E


Adam Marczewski

The town of Nysa is a seat of the county in Opolskie Province. It is situated at the border of the Sudeckie Foothills and the Silesian Lowland, by the Nysa Kłodzka River.



Adam Marczewski /

Wnętrze synagogi w Nysie | Lesley Nicholson

Jewish residents of Nysa are first mentioned in 1319, when they could live on separate Jewish street, on which also a house of prayer was to be located. . New Jewish settlers 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.) At the time of settling down in Silesia at the turn of the 14th century Jews were not restricted by any legal regulations. What is more, they were also protected by numerous privileges issued by Silesian dukes, who followed the example of such privileges as the one granted to Jews by Boleslaw the Pious in 1264 [the General Charter of Jewish Liberties, known as the Statute of Kalisz.] In the 14th century on one of the town’s streets called Judengasse a synagogue used to stand.

When Sielsia got under the rule of Czech dukes in 1327, also Silesian Jews adopted Czech jurisdiction.

In March 1327 a certain Jew, upon the jury’s verdict, was sentenced to prison, but the Bishop of Wrocław himself named Nanker (1326-1341) stood up for his release. The same Bishop was the author of diocesan statutes, published in 1311, that ordered Jews to wear clothes marked with yellow circles and cover their heads so that they could be distinguished from Christians.

In the mid-14th century the Black Death epidemics broke out in Silesia, which brought about famine and starvation. At that time Jews were accused of poisoning wells, which led to the pogrom against Jews also in Nysa on April 2nd 1349. The immediate cause of the pogrom was fire of a house of a Jew who refused to be baptized. As a result of the riots 40 Jewish households were torched.

In 1361 another pogrom against Jewish inhabitants took place, which was sparked by the news that a Host had been reputedly desecrated. . In 1410 a wooden synagogue was erected. The first record of a Jewish cemetery in Nysa dates back to May 10th 1423. A Jewish community was exempt from cemetery taxation in 1488, which might imply its closure,

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 t


Local history

Adam Marczewski

Panorama Nysy, 1493 r. | Michel Wolgemut, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff

A settlement might have existed there in the 10th century. The first reference to the town dates back to 1155 . In 1223 Nysa was located under the Flemish law. The favorable location of the town by trade routes from Prague to Opole and from Kłodzko to Cracow enhanced its development. In 1241 the Mongols burnt down Nysa. At the beginning of the 14th century the town was the capital of the Duchy of Nysa. In 1327 Prince Waclaw of Bytom paid homage to the king of Bohemia, and from that moment Nysa went under the Bohemian rule, sharing the political history of Silesia. In 1350 the town was fenced with defense walls. In 1429 the Hussite armies burnt down some parts of Nysa. In 1521 an epidemic killed over half of the town inhabitants. In 1526 King Louis II of Hungary died childless, and the throne of Bohemia was taken over by Ferdinand Habsburg, the Archduke of Austria. Hence, Nysa went under the Habsburg dynasty’s rule. In 1542 a great fire destroyed the town. In 1551 the population of Nysa numbered 7,344. In 1580 a modern system of bastion fortifications was constructed in Nysa. During the Thirty Years’ War, in 1632, the town was burnt down by the Sass armies. In 1742, the Swedish army invaded Nysa. In 1700 the Austrians fortified Nysa with a new line of walls with a broad moat. In 1742 the town was incorporated to the territory of Prussia. The Prussian authorities decided to build a fortress in Nysa, which substantially changed the town’s character. In 1756 the town’s population numbered 5,284. During the Napoleonic Wars, in 1807, the fortress of Nysa capitulated after four months of the Wittenberg siege. In 1810, the population of Nysa amounted to 7,257. In the 19th century the local economy revived. It was, however, blocked by the existence of the fortress and a military camp. In 1900 the number of the inhabitants of Nysa increased to 20,337. In 1903 the fortress of Nysa was closed and the town could develop in a normal way.

During World War II, in March 1945, the Soviet army conquered Nysa. Over 50% of the town buildings were then destroyed due to the military actions.




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