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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: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 /

Rybnik – a town in southern Poland, in the Silesian Province, Rybnik County. It is located 52 km southwest of Katowice, 346 km southwest of Warsaw. It lies on the Rybnik Plateau, a part of the Silesian Highland, on the rivers Ruda and Nacyna.



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

There was a fishing village on the spot already in the 10th century – the future town took its name from numerous ponds in the vicinity (the word ‘rybnik’ means ‘fishpond’ in several Slavic languages, including Czech and Silesian). Rybnik was granted town rights under the Magdeburg Law by the Count of Racibórz at some point before 1308. Advantageous location on a trade route from Racibórz to Cracow encouraged the town’s growth and development. In 1327 Leszek, the Count of Racibórz, together with other rulers from the Upper Silesia, offered fealty to John the Blind, King of Bohemia. From that moment on Rybnik was under the Bohemian administration and shared its political fate with the rest of Silesia. Four years later the Count died and for the next two centuries the area of Rybnik remained under the rule of members of the Premyslid royal dynasty offshoot from Opava.

Before 1336 a fortified castle was erected in Rybnik. In 1433 the Hussites devastated the town. After Ludwik II Jagiellończyk (Louis II of Hungary) died without progeny in the battle of Mohacs in 1526 Ferdinand I Habsburg, Archduke of Austria and the future Holy Roman Emperor, became the ruler of Bohemia. In the 16th century the Duchy of Racibórz, and therefore also Rybnik, was returned to the hands of Count Jan II the Good, last in the Opole line of the Piast dynasty. The Count died in 1532; soon after his death Rybnik was proclaimed a free-state city of the Reich, a direct subject to the Emperor. The town was ruled by members of Bohemian and German noble families.

From 1742 Rybnik, along with the majority of Silesia, belonged to Prussia. The colonizing and economic policy of the Hohenzollerns (Frederic II the Great, Frederic William II) encouraged development of mining and brewing industry in the region, which improved the overall state of local economy. In the years 1794 and 1796 extensive fires destroyed parts of the town, which was by now owned by the state. In 1856 railway line was opened in Rybnik, which further influenced the town’s development. In 1889 an ironworks was built and in 1899 an iron foundry and a machine factory were opened. Numerous coalmines were in operation in the vicinity of the town. In 1910 Rybnik totalled over 11 thousand residents.

After the end of First World War the residents of Rybnik actively participated in the Silesian Uprisings (1919-21). Despite


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