As early as in the 15th century, when Łobżenica was governed by Count Łobżeński, several Jewish families settled in the town. They made great contributions to the locality’s economic growth, e.g. by trading during the Gdańsk fairs.
The Polish-Swedish wars of the 17th century did not spare the inhabitants of Łobieżnica. Christians and Jews alike fell victim to the cruelty of the soldiers marching through town, both the Polish troops (units of Stefan Czarniecki) and the Swedish army. The Jewish population suffered particularly great losses, as their property would be ruthlessly plundered. The financial situation of the community became particularly dire after many of its members perished in the cholera epidemic. Those who survived had to take on the additional burden of providing for the widows and orphans left behind by the deceased.
The Jewish community of Łobieżnica was relatively large even as early as the 18th century. It had 324 members in 1773, with the number falling to 283 in 1788. The Jewish population of the town was growing in size throughout the first half of the 19th century. In 1815, Łobieżnica had 508 Jewish residents, and in 1827 – as many as 860. This number marked the peak of its development. A synagogue was erected in the town in 1850.
The second half of the century saw a gradual outflow of the local Jewish population. In 1857, there were still 736 Jews living in Łobieżnica, but their number fell to 400 in 1889 and to 309 ten years later. Nonetheless, the community continued to play quite an important role in the town. This is evidenced by the fact that the post of mayor was held by a Jewish man as late as the 1860s. There were still 206 Jews in Łobieżnica in 1908, but only a handful of Jewish families were left in the town in the early 1930s.
The German occupation of Łobieżnica during World War II marked the end of the local Jewish community. In 1939, the Nazis murdered a group of Jews trying to flee from the town. The others were probably resettled to the General Government. No traces of the former Jewish community have been preserved in Łobieżnica.
- Alicke K.-D., Lexikon der jüdischen Gemeinden im deutschen Sprachraum, Munchen 2008.
- “Lobzenica,” [in:] The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, vol. 2, eds. Sh. Spector, G. Wigoder, New York 2001, p. 739.