The presence of Jews in Ząbkowice Śląskie was first recorded at the end of the 14th century. Documents contain the information that, in 1403, there was a so-called Jewish Alley (Judengasse) in the town. The first synagogue in Ząbkowice was probably located there. The names of first Jewish inhabitants of the city are also known – Nöllner (Meyer), active in the town in 1414, Izaak (1437), Jordan and Lazarus (1452). All of them were engaged in giving loans.

In 1514, owners of the town, the dukes Jan and Charles Podiebrad, permitted to expel Jews from Ząbkowice Śląskie. In 1530, it was recorded in sources that they resettled. However, at the end of 1535, the duke ordered to expel Jews from the town again and granted Ząbkowice the priviledge de non tolerandis Judaeis.

Jews returned to Ząbkowice Śląskie as late as after 1700. Jews from Wrocław, Głogów and Biała Prudnicka stopped there on their journeys while trading. The inhabitants of Ząbkowice opposed to the settlement of Jews in the town also after 1800.

The first Jew who was granted a consent to settle in Ząbkowice Śląskie was the merchant Moritz Sachs from Jutrosin (Jutroschin) in Greater Poland, who settle in the town in 1806.

However, the ogranized Jewish life in Ząbkowice Śląskie began as early as at the beginning of the 19th century. After the emancipation edict of 1812 had entered into force, there was a branch of the Jewish community from Kłodzko in the town. At that time, a large group of Jews from Biała moved to Ząbkowice (Zülz) and a new synagogue was erected. The community maintained two cemeteries. The older was founded in 1814, whilst the new one - around 1880.

The Jewish community in Ząbkowice gained independence as late as in 1871, and the first articles of association of the community comes from 14.01.1872. In that period, the board of the community was composed of: W. Berliner, Julius Kassel and M. Schindler, whilst its representatives were: Friedländer, J. Fuchs, H. Landsberger, Siegfried Loewe, Albert Peiers, M. Schück, H. Elguther, J. W. Kaiser.

In 1933, the chairman of the Community in Ząbkowice Śląskie was Ludwig Rosenberg. Other board members were Ludwig Schwenk and Bruno Bruck. The community did not have its own rabbi and religious services for the Ząbkowice Jews were provided by the rabbi, dr Wahrmann from Oleśnica (Oels). Ritual slaughter (shechita) was conducted at the community. Members of the Ząbkowice community were the Jews living in nearby places: Bardo Śląskie (Wartha), Srebrna Góra (Silberberg) and Złoty Stok (Reichenstein).

During the Crystal Night in 1938, Jewish firms were plundered - among others, the textile store located in the Main Square (Ring 54) owned by Ludwig Schwenk and the offices of the brush factory of Brunon Bruck. On 17.05.1939, 45 Jewish inhabitants were recorded in the territory of the district of Ząbkowice, whilst in the city itself there were only 11 of them. Those who did not manage to emigrate were sent to places of extermination:

After World War II, a group of several hundred Polish Jews settled in Ząbkowice. The Jewish Committee with an affiliated school was set up, whilst in 1947, the Jewish Congregation was established in Ząbkowice.In the second half of 1949, Jewish cultural and educational institutions were nationalized, Jewish production cooperatives and political parties were liquidated. The only institutions which continued their activity afterwards were the Social-Cultural Association of Jews in Poland (TSKŻ) and the Jewish Congregation.

Bibliographical note:

  • Frankenstein (Schlesien), [in:] Alicke K.-D., Lexikon der jüdischen Gemeinden im deutschen Sprachraum, t. 1, Gütersloh 2008, column 1266-1267.