• Auras

  • The first known Jewish settlement in Auras, Germany (currently Uraz in southwest Poland, 12 miles NW of Breslau) was in the last quarter of the seventeenth century. Reports dating it as early as 1657 are apparently inaccurate. In 1682 the city of Breslau informed the Silesian government that the Jews of Auras created competition for the merchants of Breslau, and requested that the government no longer permit Jews to live  in Auras. This charge is indicative of the symbiotic relationship of the communities of Breslau and Auras, which is reflected in the Jewish history of these communities as well. In 1699, Duke Christian Ulrich of Oels became landowner of Auras. He welcomed Jewish taxpayers as settlers in Auras. The Duke gave Shabbetai Bass, the Hebrew printer in Dyhernfurth, permission to open a printing press in Auras. Bass sent his son Josef to Auras in 1700 to supervise the press. To date no Hebrew books published in Auras have been discovered – if the Auras branch of the press published any books, they presumably bear the place of publication of Dyhernfurth.

    Prince Henry (Heinrich) of Prussia, the brother of Frederick the Great (Friedrich II, 1712-1786) became the landowner of Auras in 1744.  The Jewish community grew under his reign and even absorbed Jews who were forced to leave Breslau in 1746 when Frederick the Great limited the Jewish population to twelve wealthy families.  In 1751 there were ten tolerated Jewish families in Auras, and the community flourished between 1750 and 1812. Auras had a population of 625 in 1790; 8 percent of the population,  a total of fifty-one people, were Jewish. The Memorbuch was dedicated in Auras in 1803. In 1812 Jews in Silesia were emancipated under Prussian law. Twenty-four Jewish families who lived in Auras became citizens and adopted family names. This was the beginning of the end of the Jewish community in Auras, since as soon as Jews were permitted to settle in Breslau without difficulty, they left Auras. By 1865 only six Jewish families remained in Auras, and by 1900 the last Jew had left Auras.

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