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Polska / śląskie

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


Province:śląskie / śląskie autonomiczne (before 1939)
County:pszczyński / pszczyński (before 1939)
Community:Pszczyna / Pszczyna (before 1939)
Other names:Pszczyn
Pels [j. jidysz]; פשצ'ינה [j. hebrajski]; Pless [j. niemiecki]
49.9856° N / 18.9482° E
49°59'08" N / 18°56'53" E

Location /

Pszczyna is the capital of Pszczyna County in Silesia. There are 37,000 inhabitants (according to data from 1998). The town lies in the Racibórz – Oświęcim Valley, on the river of Pszczynka (the right-bank tributary of Vistula).



Adam Marczewski /

Marsz śmierci - styczeń 1945 r. | Muzeum w Gliwicach


The first records about the presence of individual Jews in the city of Pszczyna, stem from the year 1505.. The Jews, who were settling here, came from the West and brought with them Western models of social and political life organization. They also brought Western customs and religious rituals as well as the language of the Ashkenazi Jews (In Hebrew the word: אַשְׁכְּנָזִים “ashkenazi” refers to Germany, as the country from which they came).

When in 1526 Silesia came under the rule of the German emperors, the Silesian Jews also came within the jurisdiction of the Empire.

The beginning of the XVI-th century saw an intensified competition between Jewish and Christian merchants in Silesia. The growing wealth of the Jews caused increased discontent and mounting tension among the townsmen, who lodged several claims against the Silesian Jews to the imperial authorities in Vienna.

On September 14th 1559, emperor Ferdinand I, issued an edict on the expulsion of Jews from the Habsburg hereditary lands, e.g. from Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. From that moment, the Jews were officially not allowed to settle in Silesia, though in fact, the emperor’s edict was not commonly observed. The Jews were however assigned to live in specially isolated enclaves i.e. Głogów and Biała Prudnicka in Silesia as well as Osobłóda in Opavian Silesia .

The life of the Jewish Community in the Opolsko-Raciborska ordynacja estates (Polish: Ordynacja estates- 1. Landed property in fideicommis; 2. Entail) under the Habsburg rule in the XVI-th century was regulated by the so called “land regulations” (Polish: ordynacja ziemska) passed in 1561. The “land regulations” listed common and state laws as well as resolutions passed by the sejmiks (Polish: regional assembly) of Silesian provinces and entailed a separate section “Von Juden” (German: “On the Jews”), which specified the right of settlement on the Habsburg lands and the loans given by the Jews to lords, peasants, etc. .

The 30-Years War (1618-1648) resulted in the depopulation of several Silesian cities. Emperor Ferdinand striving for an improvement state finances, mitigated his policy towards the Jews in 1627 and issued an edict re-allowing Jewish settlement


Local history

Izrael badacz

Rynek w Pszczynie - 1914 r. | nieznany

The settlement of Pszczynka is assumed to have already existed in the 10th century and was granted a charter in 1303. Since 1327 the town was under the Czech rule, suffering the same political fate as the whole Silesia. In 1742 it became a part of Prussia. At that time the town became an important craft center. In the interwar period, as a result of the plebiscite in 1921 Pszvzyna was incorporated into Poland. During World War II, in September 1939 Pszczyna was occupied by the German army. At the end of 1944 and the beginning of the 1945 the town witnessed “the death marches” of prisoners from the concentration camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Pszczyna was liberated by the Soviet Army in February 1945.


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