Polska / opolskie
|Synagogues, prayer houses and others||Cemeteries||Sites of martyrdom||Judaica in museums||Andere|
|Province:||opolskie / inne (before 1939)|
|County:||nyski / Grottkau (before 1939)|
|Community:||Otmuchów / Ottmachau (before 1939)|
|Other names:||Ottmachau [j. niemiecki]|
Otmuchów is situated in the Nysa district and Opole Province. It lies at Przedgórze Sudeckie, by the Złote Mountains, in Obniżenie Otmuchowskie (valley) by the Nysa Kłodzka River, between Lake Otmuchowskie and Lake Nyskie.
Adam Marczewski /
Jewish presence in Otmuchów was confirmed as early as in 1367. The exact number remains unknown but most probably it was not more no than a dozen or so Jews. 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.)
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 the whole of Christian Europe.) Some Hebrews ran small craft workshops and shops.
Good financial situation of Jews evoked increasing hatred against them and led to pogroms, whose source was related to economic issues. Kazimierz Bobowski comments on those facts as follows: “Increasing pogroms against Silesian Jews from the 15th century should be related to a growing class disparity in towns. The patriciate of many Silesian towns hoped that pogroms would defuse, only in some degree in the least, dissatisfaction of the poor with economic relations.”
Early in the 16th century competition between Jewish and Christian merchants in Silesia intensified. Financial enrichment of Jews evoked increasing dissatisfaction and tensions among towners, who very often complained about Silesian Jews to imperial authorities in Vienna. Taking advantage of anti-Semitic atmosphere the town of Otmuchów adopted the De non tolerandis Iudaeis privilege, issued by Czech King Wladyslaw. Yet George, Margrave of Brandenburg-Asbach, was trying to prevent Jews from abandoning the towns of the Opole-Racibórz duchy reminding all the towners and merchants about a positive influence of Jewish activity on the economic situation of the state.
When Silesia went under the rule of German emperors in 1526 also Silesian Jews went under the jurisdiction of the empire.
Early in the 16th century competition between Jewish and Christian merchants in Silesia intensified. Financial enrichment of Jews evoked increasing dissatisfaction and tensions among towners, who very often complained about Silesian Jews to imperial authorities in Vienna, which in 1535 forced Jakub von Salza, a Wrocław
The original settlement existed in what is today Otmuchow as early as the 10th century. In 1000, the bishops of Wrocław had built their estate in Otmuchów settlement. In 1115 a castellany and the bishops’ castle were established. In 1327 Duke Władysław Bytomski pledged his fealty to the King of Bohemia and from then on Otmuchów was under Bohemian dominium and shared the political fate of Silesia. In 1347, Otmuchów was granted city rights on German town law. The location on the trade route from Bohemia to Silesia fostered the town’s development. In 1369 the defensive wall was constructed. In 1428 the Hussites conquered and plundered Otmuchów. In 1526 the King of Hungary and Bohemia, Louis II Jagiellon died childless and Archduke of Austria, Ferdinand Habsburg became the new king. As a result Otmuchów was under the reign of the House of Habsburg. During the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) the town was repeatedly destroyed. From 1741 Otmuchów belonged to the state of Prussia. In the second half of the 19th century the largest sugar refinery in Silesia was built. During the interwar period the town was known under German name Ottmachau. In 1933 the water dam was built thus creating the Lake Otmuchowskie.
In May 1945 Otmuchów was occupied by the Soviet Army. During the fights 50% of city buildings had been destroyed.
The town has 6,500 inhabitants (2005).