General information: First Jewish presence: early 1400s; peak Jewish population: 330 in 1880; Jewish population in 1933: 114
Summary: According to records, the Oels (present-day Olesnica, Poland) was home to a synagogue and a Hebrew publishing house in the early 1500s. A Jewish community was established in Oels in the mid- 1700s. Local Jews conducted services in a rented prayer room until 1839, when a synagogue, equipped with a mikveh, was built. The community consecrated a cemetery in or around the year 1839. Oels was not only an important center for Jewish life, with many Jewish organizations headquartered there, but also the seat of the regional rabbinate. Nevertheless, the Jewish population diminished to such an extent that by 1937 only 17 Jews still lived in the town. On Pogrom Night, the Nazis burned down the synagogue and several Jewish-owned businesses and homes. The cemetery survived the war undamaged, but fell into disrepair after 1945. As of this writing, we do not know what happened to Oels’ remaining Jews during the war.
Author / Sources: Moshe Finkel
Sources: EJL, LJG
Located in: silesia