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Polska / śląskie

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


Province:śląskie / inne (before 1939)
County:raciborski / (before 1939)
Community:Racibórz / Ratibor (before 1939)
Other names:Ratibor [j. niemiecki]; רטיבור [j. hebrajski]
50.0962° N / 18.2109° E
50°05'46" N / 18°12'39" E


Adam Marczewski /

Racibórz – a town in southern Poland on the Silesian Highland, capital of Racibórz County. It lies 76 km southwest of Katowice, 367 km southwest of Warsaw. It lies in the Racibórz-Oświęcim Valley, on the Odra river.



Adam Marczewski

Synagoga w Raciborzu - widok od Pl. Dominikańskiego | własność publiczna

According to Marcus Brann, a 19th century researcher of Jewish history in Silesia, the earliest Jewish settlement near Racibórz dates back to 1060. However, this information does not seem very likely and it has no confirmation in any historical sources.

Another information, written down by one of priests of Stara Wieś (now a district of Racibórz), which dates back to the second half of 11th century states that where the church of Saint Nicholas stands, used to be a synagogue. According to some uncertain folk stories, a wooden synagogue used to be in Stara Wieś. The presence of Jews in Stara Wieś in the 11th century is probable because Rarcibórz was then a part of the Great Moravia, where Jews could freely settle. They could travel through the Moravian Gate in business and reach Racibórz by the Amber Road.

Priest Augustin Weltzel, on the other hand, notes that the first Jews of Racibórz come most probably from Khazars, whose country was in the Lower Danube region. It was not until many years later that Jews from Germany joined them.

Marcus Brann states that in 1367 Jews lived in Racibórz on Sukiennicza Street (today Solna Street) in the vicinity of the town wall. The first synagogue stood on the corner of Solna and Lecznicza Streets (then Żydowska Street – Ger.: Judengasse) . According to Weltzel, the synagogue dates back to 1432. In 1379 Jews resided in the part of the city located west from the city square. In 14th century, there was already a Jewish municipality in Racibórz.

In the beginning of the 16th century, the competition between Jewish and Christian merchants in Silesia grew. The Jews were becoming wealthier, which evoked growing anxieties in the townspeople, who begun to file complaints on the Silesian Jews to the authorities in Vienna. The town of Racibórz, using the unfriendly attitude towards the Jews as a pretext, accepted the privilege de non tolerandis Judaeis issued by the Czech king Władysław. On 1 January 1510, duke of Raciborz, Valentin the Hunchbacked, issued a privilege which banned all Jews from Raciborz. As a result, Jews could not settle in the town. However, it is known that Jews lived in Racibórz at least until the mid-16th century.

When Silesia came under the rule of German emperor in 1526, the Silesian Jews came under the jurisdiction of the Holy Roman Empire, to


Local history

Adam Marczewski

In the 9th century a settlement defending the Odra crossing was on this site. Gall Anonim made a mention of it in 1108 calling it Ratibor A convenient location at the crossing of trade routes from Bohemia and Moravia to Cracow and Rus contributed to the development of the settlement which was a seat of castellany in the 12th century. From 1172 it was a capital of the Duchy of Opole and Racibórz (to 1532). In about 1217 Ratibor was granted civic rights under Flemish law. Besieged twice in 1241 by Tartars the town was managed to defend itself. A fast development of Ratibor took place in the 13th century when the town became a big trade (salt store houses, the biggest grain markets in Upper Silesia) and craft (cloth manufacture and weaving) center. Racibórz was a stronghold – in 1241 it resisted Tartars’ attacks twice while Cracow did not. In 1299 the town had defence walls with three gates. In the 1st half of the 14th century it was the most populated town in southern Silesia. In 1327 Duke Władysław Bytomski (1277-1352) swore fealty to the Bohemian king and from that moment Ratibor was under the Czech control and shared the political fate of Silesia. After the death of childless Louis II (1506-1526) King of Bohemia and Hungary in 1526, Archduke of Austria Ferdinand I ruled as a King of Bohemia; as a result, Ratibor came under Habsburg rule. During the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) Ratibor was destroyed several times.

From 1742 Ratibor was within Prussia and it was then that the thriving economic development of the town began. Iron mines and ironworks were founded there and iron industry developed. There was also a porcelain factory in Ratibor. The development of the town accelerated the creation of the railway in 1846 which later connected Berlin and Vienna. In 1858 the town had a population of 10 thousand; in 1890 – 20250 and in 1910 – 38508.

Between the wars in 1919-1921 many inhabitants of Ratibor participated in the Silesia uprisings. The results of the plebiscite in 1921 made the town remain within Germany.

During World War II the Germans established several forced labour camps in Ratibor. In March 1945 after heavy fights the town was seized by the Soviet Army. About 80% of buildings was destroyed. Later, the town was incorporated into Poland.



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