Polska / dolnośląskie
|Synagogues, prayer houses and others||Cemeteries||Sites of martyrdom||Judaica in museums||Andere|
|Province:||dolnośląskie / inne (before 1939)|
|County:||wrocławski / Breslau (before 1939)|
|Community:||Wrocław / Hauptstadt Breslau [miasto stołeczne Wrocław] (before 1939)|
|Other names:||Breslau [j. niemiecki]; ורוצלב [j. hebrajski]; ברעסלוי [j. jidysz]|
Wrocław – a city in southwestern Poland, capital of Dolny Śląsk Province. It lies on the Odra River and its four tributaries, 355 km southwest of Warsaw.
During the Middle Ages, the town of Wrocław contained one of the largest concentrations of Jews in Central Europe settled during the Middle Ages. It is certain that a Jewish community council already existedl here by the first half of the 12th century. According to the Czech chronicler Kosmas, the founders of this community could have been Jewish refugees from Prague. The oldest tangible evidence of a Jewish presence in Wrocław is the tombstone of the cantor, Dawid, son of Sar Szalom, who died on the 4th of August 1203 (according to the Gregorian calendar). This is evidence that a cemetery already existed here by the turn of the 13th century.
Originally, the legal status of the Jews from Wrocław was very favorable, as they were under the specific protection of a Duke. This changed in 1267 when the new regulations of the synod of the Provincial Archdiocese of Gniezno in Wrocław were introduced. Jewish liberties were restricted and special settlement zones (ghettos) were created for them. Each town had to have only one such zone. Moreover, the Jews were allowed just one synagogue for their religious gatherings.
Between 1273 and 1290 dukes issued many documents and privileges in order to protect the Jewish community. A document of this kind was issued by Duke Henry IV Probus after 1273, which guaranteed the Jews from Wrocław personal safety and security of their property and also the sanctity of cemeteries. These privileges were approved by Duke Henry V (Henryk V Gruby). Jews were traders, money lenders (they would give loans) and some were craftsmen. There were butchers, bakers and cooks. There were as many as 12 Jewish slaughterhouses in Wrocław at the beginning of the 14th century.
The position of Jews worsened considerably in the 14th century. In 1349 and 1360 there were pogroms in the city, and the Jews were driven out of Wrocław. There had been 70 Jewish families living in the city before the pogrom in 1349, whereas afterwards only five or six remained. However, Jews settled again in Wrocław soon thereafter.
Jan Kapistrano, a Franciscan and an inquisitor, came to the city in 1453. During his sermons he accused Jews of various sacrileges (desecrating the Host or kidnapping and killing Christian children). The outcome of these sermons was a trial with terrible consequences –