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Osoblaha

OSOBLAHA

OSOBLAHA (Ger. Hotzenplotz ), village in Silesia, Czech Republic. Osoblaha was the seat of an important Jewish community during the Middle Ages, under the protection of the bishopric of *Olomouc (Olmuetz), and had its own municipal administration (see *Politische Gemeinden) until 1849. In 1415 a decree of the bishop urged the town to treat the Jews fairly. In order to revive the town, which had been devastated by the *Hussites, in 1514 land lots were sold to Jews of Leobschuetz (Glubczyce). Twelve families from Prudnik (now Poland) settled in Osoblaha in 1570, and the community then numbered 132 families in 22 houses. They traded in Silesia and Poland and the community as such leased the distillery. A few years before the Thirty Years' War (1618–48), the *Council of the Lands succeeded in averting the community's threatened expulsion. In 1670 the Jewish community of Osoblaha absorbed several Jews expelled from Vienna. It suffered during the Seven Years' War (1756–63) and many left. There were 596 Jews living in 30 houses in 1788. The *Familiants Law of 1798 limited the community to 135 families, but in 1802 there were 153 families (845 persons); the number had fallen to 589 persons in 1830 when the Jewish quarter was destroyed by fire. It had a German-language elementary school (1803–70). During the Middle Ages important rabbis held office in Osoblaha, among them the future Moravian chief rabbi, Gershon Ḥayyot Manasse of Hotzenplotz (see *Mintmasters), who was the first purveyor to the Silesian mint (1622–24). The village was a Moravian enclave situated in Silesia. When in the 16–18th centuries Jews were not permitted to reside in Silesia, they took refuge in Osoblaha. The community declined quickly during the 19th century when most of its members moved to nearby Krnov (Jaegernodorf). In 1921 there were 37 Jews in Osoblaha and only one in 1934. The dilapidated synagogue was demolished in 1933, and the records and ritual objects were transferred to Krnov. What remained of the old Jewish quarter and the Jewish cemetery were destroyed in World War ii. The cemetery was renovated by a grant from the Czechoslovak government in the 1950s.

bibliography:

E. Richter and A. Schmidt, in: Mitteilungen zur juedischen Volkskunde, 14 (1911), 29–36; Marmorstein, ibid., 81; B. Brilling, in: Zeitung fuer die Geschichte der Juden, 2 (1965), 53–57; idem, in: jggjČ, 7 (1935), 387–98; R. Iltis (ed.), Die aussaeen unter Traenen… (1959), 80–81; S. Rubaschow, in: Ost und West, 16 (1916), 199ff. add. bibliography: J. Fiedler, Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia (1991), 128, 129.

[Meir Lamed]

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