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Gliwice

GLIWICE

GLIWICE (Ger. Gleiwitz ), city in Silesia, Poland. It passed to Prussia in 1742, reverting to Poland in 1945. A "Jewish Street" is mentioned there in the Middle Ages. In 1587 the city council opposed further Jewish settlement and those already resident probably left soon afterward. In 1715 a Jew acquired the liquor privileges in Gliwice and built a home there; he converted to Christianity, and in 1753 opposed the acceptance of additional Jewish residents. However, the community grew from 62 in 1795, to 178 in 1812 (6.9% of the total population), and numbered 2,009 (16.5%) in 1867, 1,962 (3.17%) in 1905, and 2,200 (2%) in 1921, the industrialized city having grown much more rapidly than the Jewish community. The first synagogue, in use from 1812, was replaced in 1861. In 1932 the community maintained a mikveh, library, school (100 pupils), home for the aged (founded 1926), seven charitable and nine social organizations.

Holocaust and Contemporary Periods

There were 1,845 Jews living in Gliwice in 1932. When the Nazis came to power in 1933 the community was subjected to the same antisemitic persecution as in the rest of Germany, causing around 400 to leave. On Nov. 10, 1938 (*Kristallnacht), the Nazis burned down the large synagogue, and arrested all male Jews between the ages of 18 and 60. After two days of torture in prison, they were deported to *Buchenwald concentration camp where some died. The rest were sent home after three or six months' imprisonment. All the women were forced to do hard, humiliating work in the city. Jews were also compelled to leave their homes and settle in densely crowded living quarters with a minimum of one family per room. Deportation to the East commenced in May 1942, leaving just 40 intermarried Jews in the city. After the war a small number of Jews from Poland settled there. There were 200 Jews living in the town in 1950. The new community had its own producers' cooperative (1962). A number emigrated after the Six-Day War.

[Stefan Krakowski]

bibliography:

B. Nietsche, Geschichte der Stadt Gleiwitz (1886), 599–606; fjw (1932–33), 104; M. Grinwald, in: Zion, 9 (1944), 143–5; S. Wenzel, Juedische Buerger und kommunale Selbstverwaltung in preussischen Staedten, 1808–1845 (1967), 265; ajyb (1962). add. bibliography: P. Maser et al., Juden in Oberschlesien, i (1992), 96–106.

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