OPAVA (Ger. Troppau), city in N. Silesia, Czech Republic. A tale about 27 Jews being executed for well-poisoning in Opava in 1163 is probably unreliable. A Jewish community is first mentioned in 1281. Although their expulsion is not documented it is recorded that in 1501 Jews were permitted to return and buyback their houses. Jews from *Osoblaha (Hotzenplotz) traded in Opava. In 1737, 20 Jewish families lived in the duchy. Several Jewish families lived in Opava at the beginning of the 19th century, and their number increased after the 1848 Revolution. At the end of the 19th century Opava became a center of the *Schoenerer brand of German nationalism, and the community suffered from antisemitic attacks. The community developed, inspired by its rabbi, Simon Friedmann, an ardent Zionist from his student days. In 1923 a progressive community statute was introduced. On the outskirts of Opava in the 1920s the training farm, Komorau, was a center of the He-Ḥalutz movement. The community numbered 134 in 1867, 1,127 in 1921, and in 1931, 971 (2.6% of the total population), 502 of whom declared their nationality as Jewish. At the time of the Sudeten crisis the community dispersed, sharing the fate of the Jews of the Protectorate. The synagogue was set on fire by the Nazis. After the war the community was revived, mainly by Jews from Subcarpathian Ruthenia. In 1959 it was affiliated with the Ostrava community and it was still active in 1970 as a synagogue congregation. Virtually no Jews lived there at the turn of the century.
Germ Jud, 1 (1963), 387–8; 2 (1968), 834; Bondy-Dworský, nos. 305, 309, 1110; A. Engel, in: JGGJČ, 2 (1930), 59, 84; A. Cassuto, in: Zeitschrift fuer Geschichte der Juden in der Tschechoslowakei, 1 (1930), 81–90; J. Nirtl, ibid., 4 (1934), 41–43; B. Brilling, in: Judaica Bohemiae, 4 (1968), 101–18, passim; B. Bretholz, Quellen zur Geschichte der Juden in Maehren (1935), index; Yad Vashem Archives.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.