GOERLITZ, town in Silesia, Germany. The earliest extant sources attest to the presence of a Jewish community at the beginning of the 14th century but it was probably even older. It is known that there was a Judengasse on which both Jews and non-Jews were living in 1307. The cemetery dates from 1325, and the community owned a bathhouse and a synagogue as well. In this period the only occupation pursued by Jews which is attested in the sources was that of moneylending. The persecutions in the wake of the *Black Death brought the community to an end in 1349, but it was reestablished in 1364. After their expulsion in 1389, Jews were permitted to stay in Goerlitz only to participate in trade fairs.
Shortly before 1849 a new community was founded. A cemetery was acquired in 1850; the first synagogue was consecrated in 1870 and the second in 1911; the latter was destroyed in 1938. In 1880 there were 643 Jews in Goerlitz. In 1932, even before the Nazi regime, ritual slaughter was prohibited in Goerlitz. Separate areas for Jewish merchants were set up in the marketplace on Aug. 30, 1935. The number of Jews decreased rapidly, from 600 in 1931 to 376 in 1933 and 134 in 1939. The remnants of the community were wiped out during World War II.
FJW, 98–99; Germ Jud, 1 (1963), 504; 2 (1968), 282–3; Neubauer, Cat, no. 194.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.