Polska / łódzkie
|Synagogues, prayer houses and others||Cemeteries||Sites of martyrdom||Judaica in museums||Andere|
|Province:||łódzkie / łódzkie (before 1939)|
|County:||sieradzki / sieradzki (before 1939)|
|Community:||Sieradz / Sieradz (before 1939)|
|Other names:||Schieratz [j.niem.]|
Sieradz is a town which is the seat of the County in Łódź Province. According to data from 2004, the town has 44,300 inhabitants. Sieradz is located in Kotlina Sieradzka (the Sieradzka Valley), upon the River Warta, at the mouth of its left tributary, the River Żeglina.
The history of the Jews in Sieradz began even before 1453, when Kazimierz Jagiellończyk issued a decree confirming privileges for the Greater Poland Jews. In this document, the Orthodox Jews from Sieradz were mentioned just after those from Poznań and Kalisz, which indicates that this community was one of the most numerous in Greater Poland.
The location of the old Jewish district was probably established in the records of property transactions in court books. In the Middle Ages, Jews had to inhabit separate districts, set apart from Christian districts. The Jewish district for the first half of the 15th century was Żydowska Street, which connected Błotna (currently Warszawska) and Mnisza (currently Dominikańska) Streets. The Jewish community was mostly located on the southern side of Żydowska Street, which can be confirmed by the records in court books. However, information concerning the medieval Jewish townspeople is very inadequate. Thanks to preserved source documents it can be determined that the Jews’ occupation with usury.
In the 16th century Jews purchased houses in the Christian part of the town. It was probably due to their financial activity, which involved accepting property as loan guarantees. It emerges from court documents that the first such buyer was Jakub the Jew who, after the death of his creditor Burgrave Wojciech Suski, purchased the house that had previously been owned by Suski, but inhabited by Jakub. It is worth mentioning that the executors of Suski’s and his wife’s last will agreed to this transaction in view of fact that Jakub ought to have been compensated for the assault on his house, which had been instigated by Suski himself. Other purchasers of property in the Christian district were Samuel from Gniezno and Bieniasz, who in the light of the town laws became, at least officially, full citizens of Sieradz. According to town records, they were not converts and were recorded as perfidi Judei.
The opportunity to purchase property was a beneficial factor for the Jewish settlers. Such unique favor of the Christians may have been caused by the town’s good economic situation. However, already in 1569, the people of Sieradz obtained a De non tolerandis Judeais privilege, which forbade Jews to settle and purchase property or to trade in the town, except on market days.
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