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Polska / lubuskie

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


Province:lubuskie / inne (before 1939)
County:żagański / Sprottau (before 1939)
Community:Żagań / Sagan (before 1939)
Other names:Sagan [j. niemiecki]
51.6178° N / 15.3249° E
51°37'04" N / 15°19'29" E


Andrzej Kirmiel

Żagań is located in the south-northern part of Lubuskie Province, at the crossing of national roads No. 12, 295 and 296.

The town belongs to Żagań County and is the seat of Żagań Municipality.



Andrzej Kirmiel

Ilustracja nr 2 | nieznanyThe date of Jewish settlement in ducal Żagań is unknown. Possibly this took place in the 12th-13th century, when the Jews appeared in the neighbouring localities: Bolesławiec, Legnica and Zgorzelec. Anyway, by mid-14th century they lived in the Jewish Alley (German: Judengasse), near today Słowackiego Street.

In mid-14th century, as a result of the activity of the priests, among them Jan Kapistran, Silesia was stormed by a wave of pogroms and deportations. They also affected the Jews living in Żagań. In 1462 Duke Jan II, the last Żagań’s ruler from the Piast dynasty, expulsed them from the town. The kehilla was recreated as late as at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1813 a new Jewish cemetery was opened, located in the western part of the town, on the so-called heather hill (German: Heideberg). Later on it was reached by Lessingstraße, currently Berka Joselewicza Street. In 1825 Hülse widow financed construction of the cemetery wall. In mid-19th century more and more numerous kehilla decided to build a synagogue. It turned out, however, that a simpler option was to purchase the town arsenal, located in the medieval bastion and adapt it to the religious needs. During negotiations with the town the kehilla decided to buy an additional piece of land to extend the existing Jewish cemetery. [see plan of Żagań No. 1 and 2]

Both transactions were confirmed by an agreement of 11 June 1857 [see picture No. 1] reading as follows:

§ 1

The town of Żagań, represented by the town hall sells to the synagogue kehilla in Żagań:

1.      the Town’s building, located in the town meadow, also known as the bastion, as well as a piece of land located behind it with area of about 7 ¼ rods, the outline of which is presented in detail in the attached site plan, and

2.      a piece of land of 150.42 rods located on the heather hill, near the powder magazine and the old Jewish cemetery, the outline of which is specified in detail in the attached site plan,  however without any warranties.

§ 2

The sale of the bastion does not include:

1.      the shed and apartment, located on the aforementioned pie


Local history

Andrzej Kirmiel

Administratively, in 1950-1998 it belonged to Zielonogórskie Province, and earlier to Wrocławskie Province.

Before 1945 the town was part of the German Province of Silesia, Legnica administrative district, Sprottau County.

Żagań was founded in the second half of the 12th century by Duke Bolesław Kędzierzawy as a fortified settlement and watchtower at the river Bóbr ford. The town is first mentioned in 1202. The Żagań castellany is first mentioned in 1227. Around 1230 the castellany was burnt to the ground. The fortified town was not rebuilt (today Old Żagań) but was moved to a new, more suitable place at the river ford, near the trade road, later called the Low Road. The next time Żagań was mentioned was in the Pope Innocent IV bull of 1245.

The Żagań foundation document has not survived. It is widely assumed that the town was founded between 1253 and 1260. In a document of 1280 Żagań is already mentioned as a town. Together with the municipal rights Żagań received other privileges, including the right to catch fish in the Bóbr River one mile up and down the river, the right to use the Duke’s forest for building material and fire wood, 50 fields of land, half of the Duke’s road duty and the right to buy and sell goods in the town, as well as the right to build mills on Bóbr and its tributaries        .

In 1284 monks came to Żagań: Franciscans from Saxony and Augustinians from Nowogród Bobrzański. In the first half of the 14th century the Augustinian monastery established a school. It was not a typical monastery school, limited to teaching elementary reading and writing. Besides technical sciences it taught theology, law, music and rhetoric. The town developed economically as well: the crafts thrived, particularly drapery, brewing and iron trade.

Until the end of the 13th century Żagań belonged to Głogów Duchy. Later on there was an independent Żagań Duchy created. Almost by the end of the 15th century Żagań remained in the hands of Silesian Piasts. In 1472 Duke Jan sold the Żagań Duchy to the Saxon Dukes, Ernest and Albrecht Wettin for 50 thousand Hungarian florins.

In the 17th century the town for a few years belonged to Albrecht Wallenstein, the imperial commander from the Thirty Years’ War, who bought the Duchy from Emperor Ferdinand II in 1627. Johannes Kepler, an astr




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