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Polska / śląskie

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Province:śląskie / śląskie autonomiczne (before 1939)
County:Rybnik / rybnicki (before 1939)
Community:Rybnik / Rybnik (before 1939)
Other names:Rybńik [j. śląski]
Rybnick [j. niemiecki]
Rybníky [j. czeski]
Рыбник [j. rosyjski]
ריבניק [j. hebrajski]
50.1018° N / 18.5461° E
50°06'06" N / 18°32'46" E


Adam Marczewski

The town of Rybnik is the county’s seat in the Silesian Province. It is located on the Rybnicki Plateau, in the Silesian Highlands, by the Ruda and the Nacyna Rivers.



Adam Marczewski /

Park in Rybnik | Z archiwum Muzeum w Rybniku

In 1747, during the First Silesian War, the majority of the territory of Silesia, with the exception of Cieszyn Silesia and the Duchy of Troppau, got under the rule of the Kingdom of Prussia.
Silesian Jews hoped then for better life, which was described by rabbi Marcus Brann, a Jewish historian, „The young King of Prussia, who marched in Silesia in December, was welcomed by oppressed Jews, who were full of hope that a ray of justice and kindness enlighten their dark paths of miserable life.”
Firstly, Prussian authorities were indifferent to Silesian Jews. However, as the time passed, Frederick II of Prussia started striving for restriction of Jews’ freedom. Many different taxes were imposed on Jews, which contributed to some economic benefits for the country. On April 17, 1750, Prussian authorities issued the General Prussian Code and General Privileges (Pruski Regulamin Główny i Generalne Przywileje), which in great detail governed the legal, social, political and economic situation of Jews. Jacob Jacobson commented on it as follows, “like everwhere else in Germany the aim of this code is to maintain a certian number of Jews living in the state, let them run a strictly specified economic activity within the state’s economic system and burden them with taxes as high as possible for protection and tolerance of their existence here.” . 
„Juden Reglement”, issued on December 2, 1751, was the fundamental legal act regulating the status of Silesian Jews (except from Wrocław and Głogów). It obligated land owners and municipalities to notify county authorities and royal office for tolerance of every case of Jewish settlement within 14 days. By means of this a system of control over the inflow of Jews to Silesia was created. No Jewish beggars and vagabonds were tolerated by Prussian authorities. .

In September 1768 Jews were forbidden to build new cemeteries and synagogues without paying for a special license. Afterwards, new Prussian decrees allowed Jews to settle down exclusively in villages where they could legally work as innkeepers, craftsmen, bakers and leaseholders of estate’s breweries.
In 1776 Prussian authorities gave the Jews one month to move to the right bank of the Oder River, where they could settle down in the countryside only. 
After a few years, in September 1779, Prussian a


Local history

Adam Marczewski

Pieczęć miasta Rybnika z 1669 | Romancop

In the 10th century a fishing settlement was located here, giving its name to the future town. The formation of Rybnik took place around 1308, based on German law. The town’s advantageous location – by the trade route from Racibórz to Krakow, largely influenced its development. In 1327 prince Władysław Bytomski paid homage to the Bohemian King and from that time Rybnik came under Bohemian sovereignty and shared the political fortunes of Silesia. Before 1336 a defensive castle was built in Rybnik. In 1443 the Hussites army destroyed the town. Luis II Jagiellon (1506-1526), King of Hungary and Bohemia, died in 1526 without an heir, thus the Bohemian throne was given to Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este from the Habsburg dynasty. That is how Rybnik came under the Habsburg dynasty’s rule. Since 1742, Rybnik belonged to the Prussian state. Prussian king Frederick William II of Prussia (1744-1797) developed local mining and a brewery industry, which influenced the development of the local economy. The census of 1784 proved that there were 805 inhabitants in Rybnik. The great fires of 1794 and 1796 destroyed a part of the town. The opening of the railway line in 1856 constituted another factor influencing development of the city. A steel mill was built in 1889 and cast iron foundry and machines factory – in 1899. Many bituminous coal mines were opened near Rybnik. In 1910 there were 11 700 inhabitants in Rybnik.

Between the wars, 1919-1922, Rybnik’s inhabitants took an active part in the Silesian uprisings. Despite the result of the 1921 referendum (60,7% support for Germany), Rybnik was incorporated into Poland in 1922.

During the Second World War, in September 1939, Rybnik was taken over by the German army. The town was incorporated into the Third Reich. In March 1945 the Soviet Army took over the town. During heavy battles, 25% of the town’s buildings were destroyed.


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