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Siemianowice Śląskie

Polska / śląskie

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


Province:śląskie / śląskie autonomiczne (before 1939)
County:miasto na prawach powiatu / katowicki (before 1939)
Community:Siemianowice Śląskie / Siemianowice Śląskie (before 1939)
Other names:Siemianowitz [j. niemiecki]
50.3264° N / 19.0296° E
50°19'35" N / 19°01'46" E


Adam Marczewski

Siemianowice Śląskie is a city with county rights, situated in the central part of Śląskie Province. It lies near the Brynica River, on the Chorzowsko-Bytomski Hummock, on the Katowicka Upland.



Adam Marczewski /

As in many other places in Śląsk, a Jewish settlement in Siemianowice was possible thanks to the Emancipation Edict issued on 11 March 1812 by King Frederick William I of Prussia. On the condition of Jews accepting a surname and having a knowledge of the German language, the edict gave them equal rights as citizens, the right to live where they wished, the right to freely practise their profession, the right to freedom of religion and the right to purchase property.

In 1870, 367 Jews lived in Siemianowice, making up 4% of the population. In 1872, the Upper-Silesian Union of Synagogue Communities (Oberschlesische Synagogen-Gemeinden) was established, which included the Siemianowice community. In 1913, 240 Jews lived in the town. 

During the division of Górny Śląsk following World War I, most Jews favoured Germany. A large group, not wishing to wait for the decision regarding the status of Siemianowice, immigrated to the big cities of the western Germany. During a poll conducted on 20th March 1921, 56.25% voted for Germany. But, as a result of the third Ślask uprising, Siemianowice was annexed to Poland in 1922. This caused another wave of Jewish emigration. 

By 1922, they were replaced by Polish Jews, mainly from Zagłębie Dąbrowskie, but also from the territory of the previous Congress Kingdom of Poland. Their arrival made up for the immigration of German Jews and enabled communities in Śląsk ti survive.

But the newly-arrived Jews were met with a reluctance both from the local authorities and from the Jews who already lived there. They were considered as economic competitors. The threat of the growth of Polish tendencies was also of great importance. The conflicts affected Jewish communities negatively, influencing their development. It is worth mentioning that, according to The encyclopedia of Jewish life: before and during the Holocaust after the World War I, there was a complete exchange of German Jews for Polish Jews.

After the Nazis came to power in 1933, some of those Jewish who had left at the beginning of the 1920's decided to return to Górny Slask. In June, a huge collection for their benefit was held in all syna


Local history

Adam Marczewski

Laurahütte in Oberschlesien um 1840 | nieznany

Historical documents of 1273 mention a village of Sancovice, however it is uncertain whether they really refer to Siemianowice. What is certain is the records which can be traced back to 1451. At that time a village of Seymanoviczi existed. In 1718, the neighbouring areas with villages were purchased by countess Maria Józefa von Donnesmarck. In 1760-78, the Donnesmarck family built a palace with a park in Siemianowice. A crucial moment in the history of Siemianowice was activating the first hard coal mine "Waldgrube" ("Forrest Mine") in 1786. In 1833 as many as four coal mines, four zinc mines, ironworks, glassworks and a few metal plants functioned in the vicinity of the village. New residential districts started to appear around the new factories, in which mostly German people settled down. In 1852, construction of a narrow-gouge railway was commenced.

In the interwar period, a plebiscite was conducted in Siemianowice, in which the Germans gained 56.2% of support. This resulted in an outburst of the 3rd Silesian Uprising, in which a lot of the village inhabitants took part. In 1922, Siemianowice was annexed to Poland. In 1932, the surrounding villages were combined into one and the town of Siemianowice Śląskie was created.

During the 2nd World War, in September 1939, Siemianowice Śląskie was occupied by the German army. In 1944, the Germans created a subcamp of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Laura Steelworks. In January 1945, the Soviet army took over the town.


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