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2006 | 4(220) | 592-597

Article title

The Issue of Synagogue at Stare Szkoty near Gdansk of the Year 1701. Situation of Jews in Royal Prussia before the Arrival of the Evangelical Missionaries from Halle


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The article discusses the functioning of a small Jewish community in Stare Szkoty and Chmielniki, a church estate located near Gdansk. The community was one of the northernmost Ashkenazi settlements in Europe. Mostly for economic and, to a smaller extent, for religious reasons, the small Jewish community could not settle in Gdansk, which was an attractive business centre in modern times. The church estate was a good enclave for the community. However, there was friction with the owners and inhabitants of the estate on both economic and religious grounds. Towards the end of the 17th century, a sense of threat to the economic interests of the other inhabitants of the above settlements such as Christians of various denominations, led to a bitter clash with the Jewish community. Using an illegal synagogue in a room rented by the Jews in Chmielniki served as a pretext for resolving the conflict in a drastic way. In 1701, the owner of the estate, who was a bishop involved in the affairs of the village, ordered that the house of worship be closed. The conflict dragged on as long as the second decade of the 18th century, thus leading to the issue of an order for the Jewish inhabitants to leave both settlements. Eventually, however, the Jewish community revived and procured appropriate places of worship as early as in the next decade. Before 1731, i.e. before the arrival of Evangelical missionaries, the Jews had two synagogues in Stare Szkoty and Chmielniki.






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  • S. Koscielak, Uniwersytet Gdanski, Instytut Historii, ul. W. Stwosza 55, 80-952 Gdansk, Poland


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Publication order reference


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