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Polska / dolnośląskie

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


Province:dolnośląskie / inne (before 1939)
County:świdnicki / Schweidnitz (before 1939)
Community:Świdnica / Schweidnitz (before 1939)
Other names:שווידניצה [j. hebrajski]; Schweidnitz [j. niemiecki]
50.8491° N / 16.4761° E
50°50'56" N / 16°28'34" E


Tamara Włodarczyk

Świdnica is located in the southern part of Lower Silesia Province, in Świdnica District, on the Świdnica Plain, on the Bystrzyca River. It lies on the periphery of the Sudeten and Wałbrzych Mountains at 225-265.9 m above sea level. It is characteristically tightly built up; at its center is the Old Town, begun in the Middle Ages and modified in subsequent periods. Eleven picturesque parks, mostly set on the foundations of 18th-century fortifications, encircle the center of town and its outskirts.



Tamara Włodarczyk

The presence of Jews in Świdnica is first mentioned in the second half of the 13th century, when in 1285 the Jews obtained their first privilege: Henryk IV Probus relieved them from the basic communal rent for landed property and some other dues ordinarily paid by townspeople. In 1295, the Świdnica Jewry obtained a privilege from Prince Bolko I, which laid the groundwork for a Jewish settlement in the town.

The Jewish community in Świdnica was among the largest and most important in Silesia. In 1370 Princess Agnieszka issued a protective letter in which she proclaimed that the cemetery in Świdnica would be the only necropolis in her principality, to be used by Jews from surrounding towns, Dzierżoniowo, Jawor, Niemcza and Strzegom, and perhaps also Ząbkowice and Ziębice. Since 1380 there was also a synagogue in Swidnica, located in 'Kupferschmiedegasse'.

The medieval Jewish district was located between Zakonnic (now Siostrzana) and Bednarska (today Teatralna) Streets and ran parallel to the northern frontage of the Main Square and the beginning of Wysoka (today Pułaskiego) Street. The second concentration of Jews was on Garncarska, called Jewish (today Budowlana) Street. Principality and, beginning in 1379, a Talmudic school operated there.

The Jewish community in Świdnica enjoyed a special status: as an institution, it had extensive administrative-organizational and religious autonomy. Eminent Jewish scholars and rabbis, including learned Ozer and rabbi Dawid, settled in Świdnica. A center for Talmudic studies was located there.

In 1453 the Jews were accused of poisoning a well, which allegedly led to the outbreak of an epidemic. This resulted in the burning at the stake of 17 Jews, who were also charged with the profanation of the Host. Property belonging to the other Jews was confiscated and they were expelled from the town. All this happend after a speech of the anti-Jewish monk Capistrano. The demolition of their cemetery, whose tombstones were used as building material, accompanied the destruction of their community.

Świdnica was given the privilege of a permanent ban on Jewish settlement in 1457, which was in force until the late 18th century. From 1457 to 1799, not a single Jew lived there.

Following the emancipation edict of 1812, Jews again began to settle in Świdnica. First they had on





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