Polska / śląskie
|Synagogues, prayer houses and others||Cemeteries||Sites of martyrdom||Judaica in museums||Andere|
|Province:||śląskie / śląskie autonomiczne (before 1939)|
|County:||Żory / rybnicki (before 1939)|
|Community:||Żory / Żory (before 1939)|
|Other names:||Sohrau [j. niemiecki]|
The town Zory is a county’s seat in the Silesia Province. It is located in the Raciborsko-Oswiecimska Valley on the Ruda River (right tributary of the Oder River).
Jewish settlement in Zory goes back to the 16th century. Jewish inhabitants were first mentioned about 1511. Unfortunately, already in 1565 all Jews were expelled from Silesian lands, also from Zory.
In the 18th century Jewish resettlement in Zory started. In 1724, a Jewish citizen, Marcus David, was the tenant of the municipal customs office. About 1727, the Jewish community was established, along with a prayer house and in 1750 a Jewish school was opened. In 1791 there were 34 Jews in Zory, and the whole Jewish kehilla numbered 137. The number of Jews living in town increased rapidly and already in 1797 reached the number of 152. In 1807 the first wooden synagogue burned down. In 1814 a Jewish cemetery was founded. In 1824 there were 167 Jews in Zory, and the whole Jewish community numbered 310. In 1825, Ignatz (Izaak) Grünfeld was born in Zory; his construction company carried on numerous projects in Katowice and other Silesian cities. In 1835, a brick synagogue was built (in Kościuszki Street 3). During the night of 20 – 21 December, 1837, unknown culprits stole a Torah scroll from the synagogue – it was later found between barns. In 1840, a mill was built by the Sterns, a Jewish family. In 1846 the Zory kehilla reached its peak number of members: 542 Jews. It constituted 13.5% of the town’s population. Between 1846 and 1873, David Deutsch (born in 1810 in Biala Prudnicka) performed the duties of rabbi in Zory. He was famous for the numerous religious works he wrote, such as “Chissek Emunah of Izaak from Trkow”, “Organs in the synagogue”, “Protest against the meeting of Brunszwick Rabbis”, “Chabakuk with Hebrew commentary” and many others. In 1855, there were 471 Jews in Zory, and in 1867 – 414. The turn of the 19th to 20th century was characterized by considerable Jewish emigration to large German cities (Wroclaw, Berlin, and others). As a result, in 1880, 374 Jews remained in Zory, which constituted 8.6% of the town’s population. During the following years this process grew stronger and in 1885 there were 330 Jews in town, whereas in 1907 only 98 . In 1888 Otto Stern (1888-1969) was born in Zory. He was an eminent professor of physics who won the Nobel Prize in 1943.
In 1925 only 30 Jews stayed in Zory, which constituted 0.1% of the town’s population. B
The first historical record of the Zory village dates back to 1258. Back then it belonged to the Cistercians monastery in Rudy Raciborskie. In 1272, the Duke of Opole and Raciborz ,Wladysław Opolski, officially granted town privileges to Zory, as its role was to protect an important trade route from Silesia to Malopolska. The town was surrounded with defensive walls with two gates. In 1327,Duke Władysław Bytomski (1277-1352) paid homage to the Bohemian King and since then Zory passed under Bohemian sovereignty and shared the political fate of Silesia. In 1345, the Polish Army besieged Zory but without success. In 1433, the town was attacked by the Hussites army. Luis II Jagiellon (1506-1526), King of Hungary and Bohemia, died heirless in 1526, thus the Bohemian throne was given to Archduke Ferdinand Habsburg of Austria, and consequently Zory passed under the Habsburg dynasty’s rule. In 1552, a great fire destroyed part of the city and in 1555 a plague decimated its inhabitants. In 1556, the city bought its independence from the Habsburgs and became a free town. During the Thirty Years’ War, in 1627, the town was plundered. In 1702, a big fire destroyed a large part of the town. In 1742, Zory was incorporated into Prussia and given the German name of Sohrau. The town was mostly famous for its large fairs. Another large fire ravaged the town in 1806. In the 19th century the town’s economic development took place. In 1830 a steel mill was built, and in 1842, a cast iron foundry. In 1843, the epidemic of typhoid fever ravaged the city, which caused death of one third of its citizens. Another factor enhancing the economy was the opening of a railway line was in 1884.
Between the wars, the inhabitantsof Zory took active part in the Silesian uprisings in 1919-1922. Regardless of the result of the referendum of 1921 (70% support for Germany), in 1922, Zory was incorporated into Poland. In 1939, the population of Zory numbered 6,100 .
During the Second World War, in September 1939, Zory was occupied by the German Army. The town was incorporated into the Third Reich. In March 1945 the Soviet Army liberated the town. During heavy fighting, 80% of the town’s buildings were destroyed.
In Zory there are 62,400 inhabitants (2006).