Jews started to settle in Dobrodzień in the 18th century. Researchers believe that the first Jewish people came to the town sometime before 1729.[1.1] Their arrival was most probably connected with the Edict of Toleration (Toleranzpatent) issued by Emperor Charles VI in May 1713. The edict allowed for Jewish people to settle in Silesia provided that they paid a special tolerance tax.

In 1742, during the First Silesian War, most of Silesia fell under the Prussian rule (except for Cieszyn Silesia and the Duchy of Troppau). In 1781, a wooden synagogue was built in Dobrodzień. According to Prussian statistics, 120 Jews lived in the town in 1787.[1.2]

In the 1820s, a Jewish hospital was established in the town. It was located near the synagogue.[1.3] In 1830, a Jewish school was opened. In 1831, Michael Schlesinger, a banker from Wrocław, provided financial support for the local hospital. Dr. Adolf Landsberg started working in the hospital in 1848, Dr. David Graupner – in 1866, Dr. Jacob Gross – in 1873 (left in 1879), and Dr. Oskar Stoll – in 1880.[1.4]

A huge fire destroyed the synagogue in 1846.[1.5] In 1848, a new synagogue was built, followed by the construction of a mikveh in 1858.[1.1.4] In 1849, the town had 233 Jewish inhabitants.[1.6]

In 1863, a two-grade Jewish school was established near the synagogue in Dobrodzień. In 1878, it had 36 students.[1.7] An orphanage funded by Johanne Friedlander was established in the town in 1866[1.8]; it was located at Ogrodowa Street.[1.9]

At the turn of the 20th century, Silesian Jews started to migrate west, which is why in 1896, the number of Jewish inhabitants of Dobrodzień fell to 175.[1.10]

Following the end of WWI and the revival of independent Poland, most Silesian Jews strongly supported the German cause. Many of them, including Jews from Dobrodzień, migrated to major German cities. In the 1921 plebiscite, 1,664 (79.5%) citizens voted in favour of Dobrodzień remaining within German borders, while only 430 (20.5%) were against. As a result, the town remained under the German rule. In 1927, only 53 Jews lived in Dobrodzień.[1.1.6]

An anti-Jewish boycott was carried out in Dobrodzień, like in entire Germany, on Saturday, 1 April 1933. Many Jews left for Western Europe and the United States following the introduction of anti-Semitic laws and the wave of escalating violence. Nonetheless, in 1933, the town was still inhabited by 38 Jews.

During the Kristallnacht, the Nazis destroyed the shop owned by the Siedner family, located in the marketplace of Dobrodzień. The synagogue had earlier been sold to the local savings bank. Soon afterwards, the building was demolished.[1.11] The persecution of the Jewish community forced many of its members to migrate west. The general census conducted in May 1939 revealed that 14 Jews (six men and eight women), together with three people considered to be Jewish citizens, remained in the town.[1.1.1]

The fate of the last Jews from Dobrodzień remains unknown. We can only assume that ca. 1940 all local Jews were placed in one of the ghettos located in the General Government or in Dąbrowa Basin. They may have also been transported to one of Silesian forced labour camps.

After WWII, the Jewish community in Dobrodzień ceased to exist.

Bibliography

  • Borkowski, Kirmiel A., Włodarczyk T, Śladami Żydów: Dolny Śląsk, Opolszczyzna, Ziemia Lubuska, Warsaw 2008.
  • Osadnik I., Dobrodzień. Monografia miasta 13741939 w świetle literatury niemieckiej i polskiej, Dobrodzień 2004.
  • Weltzel A., Geschichte der Stadt und Herrschaft Guttentag, Ratibor 1882.
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Footnotes
  • [1.1] Borkowski M., Kirmiel A., Włodarczyk T., Śladami Żydów: Dolny Śląsk, Opolszczyzna, Ziemia Lubuska, Warsaw 2008, p. 112.
  • [1.2] Ładogórski T., Generalne tabele statystyczne Śląska 1787 roku, Wrocław 1954, p. 103.
  • [1.3] Osadnik I., Dobrodzień. Monografia miasta 13741939 w świetle literatury niemieckiej i polskiej, Dobrodzień 2004, p. 36.
  • [1.4] Osadnik I., Dobrodzień. Monografia miasta 13741939 w świetle literatury niemieckiej i polskiej, Dobrodzień 2004, p. 94.
  • [1.5] Osadnik I., Dobrodzień. Monografia miasta 13741939 w świetle literatury niemieckiej i polskiej, Dobrodzień 2004, p. 94.
  • [1.1.4] Osadnik I., Dobrodzień. Monografia miasta 13741939 w świetle literatury niemieckiej i polskiej, Dobrodzień 2004, p. 94.
  • [1.6] Osadnik I., Dobrodzień. Monografia miasta 13741939 w świetle literatury niemieckiej i polskiej, Dobrodzień 2004, p. 95.
  • [1.7] Osadnik I., Dobrodzień. Monografia miasta 13741939 w świetle literatury niemieckiej i polskiej, Dobrodzień 2004, p. 88.
  • [1.8] Osadnik I., Dobrodzień. Monografia miasta 13741939 w świetle literatury niemieckiej i polskiej, Dobrodzień 2004, p. 41.
  • [1.9] Weltzel A., Geschichte der Stadt und Herrschaft Guttentag, Ratibor 1882, p. 315.
  • [1.10] Osadnik I., Dobrodzień. Monografia miasta 13741939 w świetle literatury niemieckiej i polskiej, Dobrodzień 2004, p. 95.
  • [1.1.6] Osadnik I., Dobrodzień. Monografia miasta 13741939 w świetle literatury niemieckiej i polskiej, Dobrodzień 2004, p. 95.
  • [1.11] Borkowski M., Kirmiel A., Włodarczyk T., Śladami Żydów: Dolny Śląsk, Opolszczyzna, Ziemia Lubuska, Warsaw 2008, p. 113.
  • [1.1.1] Borkowski M., Kirmiel A., Włodarczyk T., Śladami Żydów: Dolny Śląsk, Opolszczyzna, Ziemia Lubuska, Warsaw 2008, p. 112.