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Środa Śląska

Polska / dolnośląskie

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


Province:dolnośląskie / inne (before 1939)
County:średzki / Neumarkt (before 1939)
Community:Środa Śląska / Neumarkt (before 1939)
Other names:Neumarkt in Schlesien [j. niemiecki]
51.1641° N / 16.5921° E
51°09'50" N / 16°35'31" E



The Środa Śląska County is situated in the central part of the Dolnośląskie Province (Lower Silesia), 30 km west of Wroclaw. The county area embraces the central part of the Silesian Plain – its three so-called physical-geographical mesoregions: The Odra Valley, the Środa Height and the Kostomłoty Plain. The Środa Height, situated in the center of the region, is slightly hilly and not covered in any forests. The Odra Valley, located in the northern part of the region, consists mostly of sandy hills and plains with former river valleys cutting through it.



Tamara Włodarczyk

The first information regarding Jews in Środa Śląska dates back to 1332. Jewish issues were then handled according to German law. In 1359, Emperor Charles IV entitled the town council of Środa Śląska to take care of the Jewish community.

In the 14th century Jews owned some real estate properties in the district of Środa – in 1336 a Jew from Wroclaw, Henryk, together with two noblemen, sold 12.5 lans (lan – an old Polish measurement unit) of arable land located in the area of Środa Śląska to Albert Haase. In 1341 the Jews of Środa were exempt from paying rents for 10 years due to the construction of the town defense walls. Several years later, in 1345 and 1349 pogroms of the Jewish community took place in the town.

After Jews had been expelled from Środa in the middle of the 14th century, Jewish life began its revival only at the beginning of the 19th century. When the emancipation edict was announced in 1812, an influx of Jewish population to Środa began. That same year a Kehilla was established there. In 1860 the community gained independence, becoming a Synagogue Kehilla.

In 1933 the Kehilla consisted of 62 members, 32 of which were actual Synagogue Kehilla members. In that period, the board of the community consisted of Max Zerkowski, Max Ollendorff and dr Danziger. Dr Wahrmann, a rabbi from Oleśnica, was in charge of religious services at that time. The kehilla included not only Środa Śląska, but also the neighboring towns: Leśnica (Dtsch Lissa), Kąty Wrocławskie (Canth) and Mazurowice (Maserwitz). Moreover, the community had a kosher slaughterhouse and provided religion classes for 20 children.

After Hitler had come to power in Germany, the situation of Jews in Środa deteriorated significantly. In 1933 the Germans began to limit the scope of the community’s public rights. On the basis of the act on reorganization of civil service from 7th April 1933, Jews were eliminated from public services. Similar restrictions were introduced for representatives of free professions (attorneys, patent and tax counsels), and next – for medicine doctors and students. Moreover, a boycott of Jewish enterprises, shops, goods, law firms and physician’s offices began. In 1935 the Nuremberg Laws came into force, aiming to sanction inequality to law based on the criteria of “blood and race”. On thei


Local history

Tamara Włodarczyk

In the 12th century, a trade settlement Środa (in Polish – Wednesday) was established along one of the trade routes connecting the eastern and western Europe. The settlement owed its name to fairs that were held there every Wednesday. Under the rule of the Silesian Duke, Henry I the Bearded, Środa was transformed from a trade colony into an urban settlement. Although the location document of Środa was not preserved, it is known that at the beginning of the 13th century it was granted town rights under the Flemish law, which was later replaced by the Magdeburg Law in 1235. The law underwent some modifications, which led to the establishment of a new type of Magdeburg Law, called the Środa Śląska Law. From the 13th to 14th century the Środa Ślaska Law served as an example for 115 towns located in this period in the area of Silesia, Greater Poland (Wielkopolska) and Lesser Poland (Małopolska), e.g. Opole, Trzebnica, Kalisz, Łęczyca, Wieliczka and Radom. Środa was first called a town in a document that dates back to 1238.

In 1327 the Duchy of Wroclaw, together with Środa, served as a fief, and in 1335, after Duke Henry’s death, it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Bohemia. In the first half of the 15th century, the Kingdom of Bohemia, as well as Silesia, were stage for the Hussite wars. In the period of 1428-31, Środa and its surrounding area were raided by the Hussite army. In 1428 they plundered the town, burnt the monastery and the church of Saint Francis Convent.

In the 16th century Silesia underwent major political and social transformations that influenced also the inhabitants of Środa. In 1528, for a period of over 200 years, Silesia was annexed by the multi-national state of the Austrian Habsburg dynasty.

The first half of the 17th century was, from the founding of Środa, the most unfortunate period for the settlement. In 1618-1648 the Thirty Years’ War that was waged there, affected both the town and its citizens. Armies of both parties to the conflict were stationed in Środa, committing numerous rapes and robberies. After the war, Środa was destroyed to a vast extent and only 40 families remained there. The second half of the 17th century was a period of reconstruction that began even before the military activities ended.

The most important political event for Środa in the 18th century was its incorporat


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