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Polska / śląskie

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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 /

The first records that mention individual Jews in the city of Pszczyna date back to1505. The Jews who settled in Pszczyna originally came from Western Europe.

After Silesia came under the rule of the German Empire in 1526, successive rulers introduced restrictions regarding Jewish settlement in the area. On 14 September 1559, Ferdinand I issued an edict ordering Jews to leave the Habsburg hereditary lands such as Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia.

The Thirty-Years War (1618-1648) resulted in the depopulation of several Silesian cities. As a result, the emperor Ferdinand mitigated his policy towards the Jews in 1627 and issued an edict re-allowing Jewish settlement after paying a special fee of 40,000 guldens. Taking advantage of change in attitudes, Jews again settled in Pszczyna in 1634. In spite of laws reminding about the ban on Jewish settlements under severe penalties and imprisonment in case of disobedience, the census of Jewish population in Silesia held in 1691 mentions the presence of Jews in Pszczyna.

New restrictions and legal regulations regarding Jewish settlement in Silesia, including Pszczyna, were introduced in subsequent years. During the First Silesian War in 1742, Pszczyna came under the rule of the Kingdom of Prussia. The emperor Ferdinand II began to work towards curtailing freedoms and settlement of the Jewish community in Silesia. The most important legal act regulating the status of Jews in Silesia (except for Wrocław and Głogów) was the so called “Juden Regelment,” introduced on 2 December 1751. The document imposed on land owners and city councils the duty of reporting, within 14 days, every case of Jewish settlement to the county and royal tolerance office. In 1787 the Prussian authorities repealed, for ec


Local history /

Rynek w Pszczynie - 1914 r. | nieznany

In the first years of the existence of the Polish State, the terrain of present-day Pszczyna belonged to the Kraków District. Not until 1178 did Duke Kazimierz II Sprawiedliwy give it to his nephew, the Duke of Opole and Racibórz Mieszko I Plątonogi.

The origins of Pszczyna are associated with its location in the moorland valley of the Pszczyna river at the trade route from Rus through Kraków to the Moravian Gate. Archeological excavations have revealed the existence of a medieval town dating back to the second half of the 13th century. According to the 19th century ducal chronicler named Schaeffer, the first castle of the Pszczyna Dukes already existed in the 12th century and the beginning of the town dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries.

The first historical reference to Pszczyna dates back to 1303 in a document which mentions a ducal clerk – a castellan of the castle in Pszczyna. Although the document granting town privileges to Pszczyna did not survive, it is assumed that the town was established at the end of the 13th century. In 1498 Kazimierz, Duke of Cieszyn, issued a privilege which confirmed the town privilages earlier granted to Pszczyna.

In 1336, Pszczyna found itself under the rule of Opawa Dukes, the dynasty of Przemyslid. In 1407 Jan II Żelazny gave Pszczyna along with the castle, Mikołów, and neighbouring villages for life to his wife Helena Korybutówna – the niece of Władysław Jagiełło, a moment that is remembered as the demarcation of the Pszczyna lands. During the rule of Helena (1424-1449/50), the Pszczyna land was troubled by invasions of Hussites. The former Rybnik – Krnov Duchy was divided between brothers from the Przemyślid family, Jan II Starszy and Wacław II, who took the Pszczyna lands along with the towns of Pszczyna, Rybnik, Mikołów, and Mysłowice.

In 1474, the king of Hungary Maciej Korwin, who then ruled in Silesia, sold the Pszczyna Lands to Duke Henryk Młodszy of Podiebrad for 20,000 zlotys. However, in June 1475, Henryk relinquished Pszczyna in favor of Czech lands, and transferred ownership of Pszczyna to his brother Wiktoryn Opawski. Wiktoryn ruled over Pszczyna until around 1480 and then gave it to his daughter, who married the Duke Kazimierz II Cieszyński, in the form of a dowry. The rule of Kazimierz Cieszyński was a time of great economic prosperity on th





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