General information: First Jewish presence: 1742; peak Jewish population: 280 in 1861; Jewish population in 1933: 38
Summary: The earliest available record of a Jewish settlement in Guttentag is dated 1742. The town’s Jewish population grew steadily, from 120 in 1787 to a peak of 280 in 1861. Most local Jews earned their livings through the petty trades, crafts or agriculture; many left Guttentag as a result of the economic decline of the late 19th century. Built in 1781, the community’s wooden synagogue was destroyed during the fire of 1846. A new house of worship and a mikveh were consecrated in Guttentag in 1848 and 1858, respectively. Other Jewish institutions included a Jewish hospital (founded in the 1820s), a Jewish orphanage (1866) and a Jewish elementary school—it housed two classrooms—(1863 or 1868). In 1933, 38 Jews resided in Guttentag; six children received religious instruction. Active in the community were a rabbi (from Gross-Strehlitz), a chazzan and a Jewish women’s association, the last of which conducted welfare work. We also know that the community maintained a cemetery that year. Although the anti-Jewish boycott was announced on April 1, 1933, it was not until July 1937, that the Nazis enforced their race laws in Guttentag, triggering anti-Jewish riots. Later, on Pogrom Night (November 1938), rioters incinerated the synagogue and damaged a Jewish-owned store in the marketplace. In 1939, Guttentag was home to only 14 Jews, most of whom were deported. At least 16 Guttentag Jews perished in the Shoah.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn
Sources: EJL, FJG, LJG, YV
Located in: silesia