Teschen

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TESCHEN

TESCHEN (Czech český Těšín, Pol. Cieszyn), town in Silesia. Capital of the duchy of Teschen in the Middle Ages, Teschen was divided between Czechoslovakia and Poland in 1920, incorporated entirely in Poland in 1938, and redivided in 1945. Jews are mentioned in connection with the town at the end of the 14th century. It used to be mistakenly assumed that the oldest tombstone in the Jewish cemetery dated from 1392. The first Jew received permission to settle there in 1575, and in 1640 the Jewish customs collector of the duchess was permitted to acquire a cemetery for the community. In 1785 the cemetery was sold to the 88 *Familiants of the district. The community of *Ostrava buried their dead there until 1872. In 1848 the authorities expelled some of the Jews living in the town, and those living in the vicinity were attacked by the populace. Before the plebiscite determining the future of the town was held in 1918, Polish nationalists threatened the Jews with pogroms if they voted for Czechoslovakia; the Czechoslovakian government dispatched Alfred *Fuchs, then a Czecho-Jewish functionary (see Svaz *čechů-židů) to influence the Jews in favor of the Czechs. There were 1,313 Jews in the town (8.5% of the total population) in 1890; 1,666 (9%) in 1900, 2,063 (10%) in 1910, and 1,148 (10.8%) in 1930. In the Polish part of the town (Cieszyn) the Jewish community numbered 1,591 (10.4% of the total population) in 1921.

Before the outbreak of World War ii the community had two synagogues, two cemeteries, and a communal center. Two representatives of the Jewish National Party were returned to the municipal council in May 1938. The community was dissolved in September 1939. The Jews remaining there in 1943 were deported to death camps. A small congregation was reestablished after World War ii, affiliated in 1959 to the Ostrava community.

bibliography:

Bondy-Dworský, no. 880, 660–61; Berger, in: mgwj, 40 (1896), 37–40; B. Bretholz, Quellen zur Geschichte der Juden in Maehren im Mittelalter (1935), index; Y. Toury, Mehumah u-Mevukhah be-Mahpekhat 1848 (1968), 40–42; Židovské zprávy (March 3 and Oct. 10, 1919); B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce … (1930), 158–61; R. Iltis (ed.), Die aussaeen unter Traenen … (1959), 79; B. Brilling, in: Judaica Bohemiae, 4 (1968), 105–9, 113–4; pk Germanyah.

[Meir Lamed]