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The Jewish Community of Schwerin

Schwerin

A city and the capital Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

First Jewish presence: 1266; peak Jewish population: 391 in 1875; Jewish population in 1933: 151

A small number of Jews were permitted to live in Schwerin in 1267. After centuries of pogroms, burnings at the stake and expulsions, Jews were permitted to return to Schwerin in 1679, albeit with restrictions: in addition to being forced to pay exorbitant taxes and protection money, they were limited to certain business activities. As a result, the Jewish population of that period never exceeded thirty. When these cumbersome restrictions were relaxed in the mid-1700s, more Jews moved to Schwerin. Although the community received permission to build a synagogue in 1773, it was not able to gather the necessary funds until 1819. Shortly after the inauguration of the synagogue, the anti-Jewish Hep-Hep riots erupted: angry crowds marched in front of the synagogue chanting “Kick out the Jews,” but Schwerin Jews, unlike their contemporaries in other towns and cities, were spared the brunt of the pogrom.

Beginning in 1933, when the Nazis instituted the anti- Jewish boycott, Jews started to leave Schwerin in large numbers. Later, on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), the interior of the synagogue was ransacked, after which the contents were burned in one of the city’s squares. Forbidden to set the synagogue on fire because of its proximity to many homes, the Nazis forced the Jews to tear down the building themselves. By 1942, Schwerin’s remaining Jews had all been deported. Three years after the war, a group of Jews returned to Schwerin and founded a new Jewish community. By 1947, 100 Jews lived there. After buying two homes on the street on which the old synagogue once stood, the community converted one into a synagogue and the other into a community center. The Jewish population dwindled during the ensuing decades (three members in 1980), but an influx of Jewish arrivals from the former Soviet Union rejuvenated the defunct community.

In 2005, 1,000 Jews lived in Schwerin (more than double the peak pre-war population). In 1951, a memorial plaque was unveiled at the former synagogue site, and in 1984, planning commenced for a building that would house a miniature replica of the destroyed synagogue. (The project was funded by the Ford Foundation and the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.)

---------------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Place Type:
City
ID Number:
131243
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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SCHWERIN 

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birthplace, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives.

This name is derived from Schwerin, the name of a city and the capital Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. First Jewish presence in Schwerin is documented in 1266. Places, regions and countries of origin or residence are some of the sources of Jewish family names. But, unless the family has reliable records, names based on toponymics cannot prove the exact origin of the family.

Schwerin is documented as a Jewish family name with Fanny Schwerin nee Scherek, born in Poznan (Posen), Poland in 1865, a resident of Berlin, Germany, who perished in the Holocaust after having been deported to Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia.
 

Fritz Loewenthal of Schwerin, Germany,
a Jewish officer in the German army.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Michal Zehavi, israel)
THE SYNAGOGUE IN SCHWERIN,
MECKLENBURG DISTRICT, EAST GERMANY, 1980'S.
THE SYNAGOGUE CONTAINS ON THE RIGHT A PRAYER HALL, NOT NOW IN USE, AS THERE ARE ONLY 3 JEWISH PERSONS IN THE DISTRICT;
LEFT A MEMORIAL PLACE WITH DOCUMENTS AND PHOTOS FROM 1933-1945.
(BETH HATEFUTSOTH PHOTO ARCHIVE)
Rabbi and theologian

Born in Kempen, the son of rigidly Orthodox parents, he was a profound talmudic scholar already in his youth. He went to Berlin and Prague for secular studies. In 1836 he was appointed rabbi in Frankfurt on Oder where he remained until 1840 and was a pioneer in modern homiletics and in according a modern role to the rabbi. Judaism for him was not an end in itself but part of a larger humanity. Holdheim moved to Schwerin as Landesrabbiner. He welcomed the new Reform movement and wrote many works advocating reforms in Jewish thinking and practice. He advocated changes in the laws of marriage and divorce which aroused polemics throughout Germany. When a Reform congregation was founded in Berlin in 1847 he was called to be its rabbi and preacher. Under him, the congregation became the most radical and revolutionary group in Reform Judaism. Sundays became the day of worship, second days of festivals were abolished, and intermarriage was sanctioned.

Luebeck

Lübeck  

A city and Baltic port in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. 

An imperial city and capital of the Hanseatic League, Luebeck did not permit Jews to reside within its gates, although in the 17th century Jewish peddlers were common and their presence highly resented. In 1680 the city, in need of competent money changers, permitted two Schutzjuden to live there; in 1701 their number was restricted to one. Jewish peddlers, dealers in old clothes and secondhand goods, settled in the nearby village of Moisling, and in 1697 received permission to establish a recognized Jewish community. The attempts of the Luebeck authorities to restrict their activities met with little success. From 12 families in 1709 the settlement in Moisling had grown to 70 by the end of the century.

In 1724 a rabbi was engaged and a cemetery opened; the community was under the jurisdiction of the Altona rabbinate. Although Moisling was annexed to Luebeck in 1806 the commercial and civil restrictions were not abolished until 1810, by the French occupation forces.

A synagogue was dedicated in Luebeck itself in 1812. The downfall of Napoleon and the retreat of the French army threatened the Jews' newly acquired rights. C.A. Buchholz, a Luebeck lawyer, attempted to defend them at the Congress of Vienna (1815) but in vain. After a protracted legal battle, in 1824 they were forced to leave the city proper, returning to Moisling, where they built a new synagogue (1827) and opened a school (1837).

Emancipation granted during the 1848 revolution gave the Jews the right to settle in Luebeck, where a synagogue was opened in 1850; a new one was consecrated in 1880. The last five rabbis who served in the community were: Efraim Fishel Yoel  the son-in-law of Alexander Adler (1850-1869), Alexander Adler's son-in-law Solomon Carlebach (1870-1919), who wrote a history of the Jewish community, succeeded by his son Joseph Carlebach (1920-1922), and the last rabbi: David A. Winter (1922-1938). The Jewish population in the city rose from 522 in 1857 to 700 in 1913, but after the advent of the Nazis, declined to 250 in 1937. The last 85 Jews were deported to Riga in 1941-1942.

After the war a new community was established, which numbered 250 in 1948; by 1952 only 30 remained.

Parchim

A town and seat of the Ludwigslust-Parchim district in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. 

The first evidence of Jewish presence in Parchim is a tombstone dating from 1304. Jews had been invited to the Duchy in order to develop the local trade. The Jewish community had a house of prayer in the "Tempelstreet” of the Jewish quarter, which was first mentioned in documents of 1503. In 1350 the Jews were accused of having poisoned wells and were expelled from Parchim. After the period of the "Black Death” they were readmitted to the town. In 1492 all the Jews were expelled from the Duchy of Mecklenburg. Eventually they were readmitted. In official documents of the 18th century there are references to Jews living in the area at that time. The Jews had to send deputies to their country synod ("Judenlandtag”) which registered the Jewish population of Mecklenburg. Contemporary letters of safe conduct ("Schutzbriefe”) indicate that Jews were again living in Parchim. The community was apparently well off; in the 1700s a number of families owned their own Torah scrolls which were later donated to the congregation. 

At the beginning of the 20th century the Jewish community numbered sixteen families of whom the majority were observant Jews. The community kept a cantor, a school and a cemetery. The majority of the Jews were engaged in various fields of trade. On the eve of World War II (September 1939) there were 48 Jews living in Parchim.

The Holocaust Period

The local cemetery fell victim to Nazi vandals in the early years of the Nazi regime, when a schoolmaster with his class one day devastated the place. No other information is available as to the fate of the Jewish community during the Holocaust years or about its present situation.

Hagenow

A town in the district of Ludwigslust-Parchim in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany.

First Jewish presence: 1784; peak Jewish population: approximately 80 in or around 1828; Jewish population in 1933: 9

The earliest available documents of a Jewish presence in Hagenow are dated 1764. Between 16 and 18 Jewish families lived in Hagenow in 1828. The community conducted services in a prayer room until 1828, when a synagogue was inaugurated on Hagenstrasse, part of a three-building complex that included a community center (where the school for religious studies was located), a mikveh and an apartment for a teacher. According to records, local Jews consecrated a cemetery on Paetower Strasse in 1806. In 1907, as a result of low community membership numbers, the synagogue was shut down. The building was used for different purposes and sold in 1942. In 1933, nine or 11 Jews lived in Hagenow. Although the synagogue was set on fire on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), neighbors extinguished the blaze. After the pogrom, a Jewish family and a Jewish physician remained in Hagenow; the family was deported to Auschwitz in 1942. At least two Hagenow Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1988, a plaque was unveiled at the front of the synagogue building, as was a memorial stone on Paetower Strasse. Later, between 2004 and 2009, the complex was converted into a cultural center, where one can find a permanent exhibition on the history of Jewish Hagenow. Stolpersteine (memorial stumbling stones) were unveiled in Hagenow in 2009.

-------------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Güstrow 

A town and capital of the Rostock district in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

First Jewish presence: late 1200s; peak Jewish population: 223 in 1860; Jewish population in 1933: 118

When Jews first settled in Guestrow in the late 1200s, they built a synagogue and consecrated a cemetery. The anti-Jewish host desecration trials, in which Jews were prosecuted for refusing to convert to Christianity, took place in Guestrow in 1330: 20 Jews were burned at the stake, their belongings were confiscated and the synagogue was converted into a church. It was not until 1819 that a considerable number of Jews were permitted to settle in Guestrow, after which the Jewish population grew quickly, reaching its peak of 223 in 1860. The community’s prayer rooms were unable to accommodate the growing congregation, and in 1829, two days before the Jewish New Year, a new synagogue was inaugurated in the town. Adjacent to the building were a community center and a school. In 1910, the Jewish population of Guestrow began to dwindle, so that it stood at 118 in 1933 (50 in 1937). On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), droves of local residents destroyed the synagogue. Wanting to ensure the complete destruction of the building, they not only doused the interior with fuel, but also sprayed the outside walls; the ensuing fire was so intense that the building burned for over 36 hours. The mob also burned down the Tahara hall in the cemetery and desecrated the headstones. In 1988, a memorial plaque was unveiled at the cemetery.

----------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Rostock

A city in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

First Jewish presence: 1279; peak Jewish population: 360 in 1933; Jewish population in 1933: 360

Rostock was founded by merchants in the middle of the 13th century; among them were many Jews. Around 1280, these Jews established a cemetery outside the city near Kroepelin Tor. They were expelled after the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49.
It was not until 1868 that Jews were allowed to resettle in Rostock. The first Jew settling down in the city was Gustav Israel, a cigar maker. Within a year, the Jewish population grew to 25 families. A modern Jewish community was founded in 1868 or 1870. For many decades, prayer services were held in private homes. We know that an inn on Lindenstrasse/Richard-Wagner-Strasse also served for communal gatherings. Thanks to the legacy of Meyer Gimpel, a wealthy Jew, the community was able to purchase a plot of land at 101 Augustenstrasse to erect a synagogue building. The new house of worship was planned and designed by architect Prof. Ludwig Levy. In September 1902, it was festively consecrated in the presence of Chief Rabbi Dr. Fabian Feilchenfeld (1827-1910). An 18-meter-high Star of David adorned the new synagogue, which had Romanesque arches and Gothic rosettes. The building provided seats to 350 people and was the largest and most representative synagogue in the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The synagogue building included at least one classroom where a teacher provided religious instruction and Hebrew lessons to Jewish schoolchildren. In general, Jewish children attended public elementary schools. The community, consisting of Orthodox and Liberal members, observed the more conservative synagogue traditions.
After 1870, a Jewish cemetery was established on a plot of land that was part of Rostock's Christian local burial place (today: Am Lindenpark). The first Jewish burial took place in 1873. The cemetery was later extended and eventually purchased by the Jewish community. By 1942, more than 360 people had been buried there. Many grave stones (about 178) have been preserved; among others they commemorate the manufacturer Siegmund Bernhard (1846-1934) and his son Arnold (1886-1944), who was Rostock's last president of the Jewish community (1938-1941).
Many of Rostock's Jewish families came from small Mecklenburg towns and mainly earned their living in the textile business and scrap trading. However, they also succeeded in entering areas of professional life, working as medical doctors, lawyers and well-known scholars at Rostock's university. The number of the Jewish population grew from 118 Jews in 1871 to 221 in 1880.
Antisemitism strongly surfaced when the University of Rostock celebrated its 500th anniversary in 1919. Antisemitic speeches were given. Jewish students were expelled from the university and the contracts of all Jewish instructors were terminated. Nevertheless, by the turn of the century (1900), a count of the Rostock Jewish community revealed the highest number of members in Mecklenburg. The Jewish population number increased to 317 persons in 1910, including the Jews living in Warnemuende. In 1926, the seat of the regional rabbinate (Landesrabbinat) was moved from Schwerin to Rostock. Chief Rabbi Dr. Siegfried Silberstein (1866-1935) supervised all Jewish communities in Mecklenburg-Schwerin from 1911 until 1934. Chazzan (cantor) Bernhard Sawitz (1857-1930) had come from Lithuania in 1884 and served Rostock's community for more than 40 years.
In 1932/33, Rostock's Jewish population peaked at roughly 360 persons (0,4 percent of the total). Thirty-five Jewish schoolchildren received religious instruction. They were apparently instructed by Teacher Hes, who also served as the community's chazzan. Three welfare associations – a Jewish women's organization, established in 1876; a benefit society, founded in 1922; and the burial society chevra kadisha, initiated in 1902 – were still active providing aid to poor and needy people. Jews of Heinrichshagen (1 Jew), Schwaan (6), Suelze (5) and Warnemuende (8) were affiliated with the Rostock community in the 1930s.
Local residents ardently enforced anti-Jewish boycotts in Rostock. Already in December 1932, Jewish-owned shops and businesses were boycotted. A further anti-Jewish boycott action was executed on March 11, 1933, whereupon Jewish businessmen were forced to temporarily close their stores. The nationwide boycott of Jewish businesses was already implemented in Rostock on March 30, 1933. SA guards were stationed in front of Jewish-owned shops. Most of the affected 57 shops, medical practices and offices had to close. Owners and office workers were threatened and also physically attacked. In the following days, prominent local Jews were taken "into protective custody" and local Jewish university professors were dismissed.
Due to the boycott actions, several local Jews left the city; some emigrated to England, Holland and presumably to other countries; some moved to larger cities within Germany. However, at the same time, many Jews moved from the countryside to Rostock. Many of them found work in the biggest local Jewish enterprise, the Emsa Werke (Emsa Works), a factory for orthopedic shoes, whose owner was the chairperson of Rostock's Jewish community, Max Samuel. One of the workers was Irma Borchardt (8 Eschenstrasse). After 1933, she lost her job but found a new one at Emsa Works. In the following years she married. However, she, her husband and mother constantly lived on the poverty line. In July 1942, Irma, who was seven months pregnant at that time, and her family were deported to Auschwitz and gassed immediately after their arrival. The Emsa Works were forcibly given into non-Jewish hands and continued its production under the new name Voss Works. Numerous Jewish businesses were aryanized in Rostock from 1938. At the end of October 1938, approximately 40 Polish Jews were arrested in Rostock and deported to the Polish border, among them was Abraham Gluecksmann, the community's shamash (synagogue sexton). Only 175 Jews remained in Rostock by 1938.
In the early hours of November 10, 1938, the synagogue was looted. Holy books and ritual objects were thrown onto the street and set on fire, after which the building was totally burned down; the fire lasted for 24 hours. The fire brigade protected only the surrounding houses against the fire. SS and SA troops vandalized Jewish-owned homes and shops. About 60/70 Jewish men were arrested by SA members and policemen and taken to the police prison on Neuer Markt. Later, they were brought to the regional jail (Landeszuchthaus) in Altstrelitz. There they were subjected to forced labor in the swamps for several weeks. In 1944, the synagogue's ruins were hit by a war bomb; the Jewish community had to sell the site.
Until the outbreak of World War II in 1939, more Jews left Rostock; early September of that year, only some 70 Jews were living in the city. In July and November 1942, most of the remaining Jews were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Theresienstadt. We know very little about their fate. After the deportations of 1942, only 25 Jews remained in Rostock. Some were recruited for forced labor in France or within the German Reich. More than 120 local Jews perished in the Shoah. Only 14 Jewish inhabitants survived the Nazi era in Rostock. Two Jewish women returned from Theresienstadt to Rostock after the war.
Today, the former synagogue site accommodates an apartment building. Next to it, a memorial stele was erected in 1988. In 1994, a new Jewish community was founded by immigrants from the former Soviet Union. In 2004, that community celebrated the opening of a new synagogue. Six-hundred Jews lived in Rostock in 2005.

-------------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

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The Jewish Community of Schwerin

Schwerin

A city and the capital Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

First Jewish presence: 1266; peak Jewish population: 391 in 1875; Jewish population in 1933: 151

A small number of Jews were permitted to live in Schwerin in 1267. After centuries of pogroms, burnings at the stake and expulsions, Jews were permitted to return to Schwerin in 1679, albeit with restrictions: in addition to being forced to pay exorbitant taxes and protection money, they were limited to certain business activities. As a result, the Jewish population of that period never exceeded thirty. When these cumbersome restrictions were relaxed in the mid-1700s, more Jews moved to Schwerin. Although the community received permission to build a synagogue in 1773, it was not able to gather the necessary funds until 1819. Shortly after the inauguration of the synagogue, the anti-Jewish Hep-Hep riots erupted: angry crowds marched in front of the synagogue chanting “Kick out the Jews,” but Schwerin Jews, unlike their contemporaries in other towns and cities, were spared the brunt of the pogrom.

Beginning in 1933, when the Nazis instituted the anti- Jewish boycott, Jews started to leave Schwerin in large numbers. Later, on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), the interior of the synagogue was ransacked, after which the contents were burned in one of the city’s squares. Forbidden to set the synagogue on fire because of its proximity to many homes, the Nazis forced the Jews to tear down the building themselves. By 1942, Schwerin’s remaining Jews had all been deported. Three years after the war, a group of Jews returned to Schwerin and founded a new Jewish community. By 1947, 100 Jews lived there. After buying two homes on the street on which the old synagogue once stood, the community converted one into a synagogue and the other into a community center. The Jewish population dwindled during the ensuing decades (three members in 1980), but an influx of Jewish arrivals from the former Soviet Union rejuvenated the defunct community.

In 2005, 1,000 Jews lived in Schwerin (more than double the peak pre-war population). In 1951, a memorial plaque was unveiled at the former synagogue site, and in 1984, planning commenced for a building that would house a miniature replica of the destroyed synagogue. (The project was funded by the Ford Foundation and the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.)

---------------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Rostock
Guestrow
Hagenow
Parchim
LUEBECK

Rostock

A city in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

First Jewish presence: 1279; peak Jewish population: 360 in 1933; Jewish population in 1933: 360

Rostock was founded by merchants in the middle of the 13th century; among them were many Jews. Around 1280, these Jews established a cemetery outside the city near Kroepelin Tor. They were expelled after the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49.
It was not until 1868 that Jews were allowed to resettle in Rostock. The first Jew settling down in the city was Gustav Israel, a cigar maker. Within a year, the Jewish population grew to 25 families. A modern Jewish community was founded in 1868 or 1870. For many decades, prayer services were held in private homes. We know that an inn on Lindenstrasse/Richard-Wagner-Strasse also served for communal gatherings. Thanks to the legacy of Meyer Gimpel, a wealthy Jew, the community was able to purchase a plot of land at 101 Augustenstrasse to erect a synagogue building. The new house of worship was planned and designed by architect Prof. Ludwig Levy. In September 1902, it was festively consecrated in the presence of Chief Rabbi Dr. Fabian Feilchenfeld (1827-1910). An 18-meter-high Star of David adorned the new synagogue, which had Romanesque arches and Gothic rosettes. The building provided seats to 350 people and was the largest and most representative synagogue in the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The synagogue building included at least one classroom where a teacher provided religious instruction and Hebrew lessons to Jewish schoolchildren. In general, Jewish children attended public elementary schools. The community, consisting of Orthodox and Liberal members, observed the more conservative synagogue traditions.
After 1870, a Jewish cemetery was established on a plot of land that was part of Rostock's Christian local burial place (today: Am Lindenpark). The first Jewish burial took place in 1873. The cemetery was later extended and eventually purchased by the Jewish community. By 1942, more than 360 people had been buried there. Many grave stones (about 178) have been preserved; among others they commemorate the manufacturer Siegmund Bernhard (1846-1934) and his son Arnold (1886-1944), who was Rostock's last president of the Jewish community (1938-1941).
Many of Rostock's Jewish families came from small Mecklenburg towns and mainly earned their living in the textile business and scrap trading. However, they also succeeded in entering areas of professional life, working as medical doctors, lawyers and well-known scholars at Rostock's university. The number of the Jewish population grew from 118 Jews in 1871 to 221 in 1880.
Antisemitism strongly surfaced when the University of Rostock celebrated its 500th anniversary in 1919. Antisemitic speeches were given. Jewish students were expelled from the university and the contracts of all Jewish instructors were terminated. Nevertheless, by the turn of the century (1900), a count of the Rostock Jewish community revealed the highest number of members in Mecklenburg. The Jewish population number increased to 317 persons in 1910, including the Jews living in Warnemuende. In 1926, the seat of the regional rabbinate (Landesrabbinat) was moved from Schwerin to Rostock. Chief Rabbi Dr. Siegfried Silberstein (1866-1935) supervised all Jewish communities in Mecklenburg-Schwerin from 1911 until 1934. Chazzan (cantor) Bernhard Sawitz (1857-1930) had come from Lithuania in 1884 and served Rostock's community for more than 40 years.
In 1932/33, Rostock's Jewish population peaked at roughly 360 persons (0,4 percent of the total). Thirty-five Jewish schoolchildren received religious instruction. They were apparently instructed by Teacher Hes, who also served as the community's chazzan. Three welfare associations – a Jewish women's organization, established in 1876; a benefit society, founded in 1922; and the burial society chevra kadisha, initiated in 1902 – were still active providing aid to poor and needy people. Jews of Heinrichshagen (1 Jew), Schwaan (6), Suelze (5) and Warnemuende (8) were affiliated with the Rostock community in the 1930s.
Local residents ardently enforced anti-Jewish boycotts in Rostock. Already in December 1932, Jewish-owned shops and businesses were boycotted. A further anti-Jewish boycott action was executed on March 11, 1933, whereupon Jewish businessmen were forced to temporarily close their stores. The nationwide boycott of Jewish businesses was already implemented in Rostock on March 30, 1933. SA guards were stationed in front of Jewish-owned shops. Most of the affected 57 shops, medical practices and offices had to close. Owners and office workers were threatened and also physically attacked. In the following days, prominent local Jews were taken "into protective custody" and local Jewish university professors were dismissed.
Due to the boycott actions, several local Jews left the city; some emigrated to England, Holland and presumably to other countries; some moved to larger cities within Germany. However, at the same time, many Jews moved from the countryside to Rostock. Many of them found work in the biggest local Jewish enterprise, the Emsa Werke (Emsa Works), a factory for orthopedic shoes, whose owner was the chairperson of Rostock's Jewish community, Max Samuel. One of the workers was Irma Borchardt (8 Eschenstrasse). After 1933, she lost her job but found a new one at Emsa Works. In the following years she married. However, she, her husband and mother constantly lived on the poverty line. In July 1942, Irma, who was seven months pregnant at that time, and her family were deported to Auschwitz and gassed immediately after their arrival. The Emsa Works were forcibly given into non-Jewish hands and continued its production under the new name Voss Works. Numerous Jewish businesses were aryanized in Rostock from 1938. At the end of October 1938, approximately 40 Polish Jews were arrested in Rostock and deported to the Polish border, among them was Abraham Gluecksmann, the community's shamash (synagogue sexton). Only 175 Jews remained in Rostock by 1938.
In the early hours of November 10, 1938, the synagogue was looted. Holy books and ritual objects were thrown onto the street and set on fire, after which the building was totally burned down; the fire lasted for 24 hours. The fire brigade protected only the surrounding houses against the fire. SS and SA troops vandalized Jewish-owned homes and shops. About 60/70 Jewish men were arrested by SA members and policemen and taken to the police prison on Neuer Markt. Later, they were brought to the regional jail (Landeszuchthaus) in Altstrelitz. There they were subjected to forced labor in the swamps for several weeks. In 1944, the synagogue's ruins were hit by a war bomb; the Jewish community had to sell the site.
Until the outbreak of World War II in 1939, more Jews left Rostock; early September of that year, only some 70 Jews were living in the city. In July and November 1942, most of the remaining Jews were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Theresienstadt. We know very little about their fate. After the deportations of 1942, only 25 Jews remained in Rostock. Some were recruited for forced labor in France or within the German Reich. More than 120 local Jews perished in the Shoah. Only 14 Jewish inhabitants survived the Nazi era in Rostock. Two Jewish women returned from Theresienstadt to Rostock after the war.
Today, the former synagogue site accommodates an apartment building. Next to it, a memorial stele was erected in 1988. In 1994, a new Jewish community was founded by immigrants from the former Soviet Union. In 2004, that community celebrated the opening of a new synagogue. Six-hundred Jews lived in Rostock in 2005.

-------------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Güstrow 

A town and capital of the Rostock district in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

First Jewish presence: late 1200s; peak Jewish population: 223 in 1860; Jewish population in 1933: 118

When Jews first settled in Guestrow in the late 1200s, they built a synagogue and consecrated a cemetery. The anti-Jewish host desecration trials, in which Jews were prosecuted for refusing to convert to Christianity, took place in Guestrow in 1330: 20 Jews were burned at the stake, their belongings were confiscated and the synagogue was converted into a church. It was not until 1819 that a considerable number of Jews were permitted to settle in Guestrow, after which the Jewish population grew quickly, reaching its peak of 223 in 1860. The community’s prayer rooms were unable to accommodate the growing congregation, and in 1829, two days before the Jewish New Year, a new synagogue was inaugurated in the town. Adjacent to the building were a community center and a school. In 1910, the Jewish population of Guestrow began to dwindle, so that it stood at 118 in 1933 (50 in 1937). On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), droves of local residents destroyed the synagogue. Wanting to ensure the complete destruction of the building, they not only doused the interior with fuel, but also sprayed the outside walls; the ensuing fire was so intense that the building burned for over 36 hours. The mob also burned down the Tahara hall in the cemetery and desecrated the headstones. In 1988, a memorial plaque was unveiled at the cemetery.

----------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Hagenow

A town in the district of Ludwigslust-Parchim in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany.

First Jewish presence: 1784; peak Jewish population: approximately 80 in or around 1828; Jewish population in 1933: 9

The earliest available documents of a Jewish presence in Hagenow are dated 1764. Between 16 and 18 Jewish families lived in Hagenow in 1828. The community conducted services in a prayer room until 1828, when a synagogue was inaugurated on Hagenstrasse, part of a three-building complex that included a community center (where the school for religious studies was located), a mikveh and an apartment for a teacher. According to records, local Jews consecrated a cemetery on Paetower Strasse in 1806. In 1907, as a result of low community membership numbers, the synagogue was shut down. The building was used for different purposes and sold in 1942. In 1933, nine or 11 Jews lived in Hagenow. Although the synagogue was set on fire on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), neighbors extinguished the blaze. After the pogrom, a Jewish family and a Jewish physician remained in Hagenow; the family was deported to Auschwitz in 1942. At least two Hagenow Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1988, a plaque was unveiled at the front of the synagogue building, as was a memorial stone on Paetower Strasse. Later, between 2004 and 2009, the complex was converted into a cultural center, where one can find a permanent exhibition on the history of Jewish Hagenow. Stolpersteine (memorial stumbling stones) were unveiled in Hagenow in 2009.

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This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Parchim

A town and seat of the Ludwigslust-Parchim district in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. 

The first evidence of Jewish presence in Parchim is a tombstone dating from 1304. Jews had been invited to the Duchy in order to develop the local trade. The Jewish community had a house of prayer in the "Tempelstreet” of the Jewish quarter, which was first mentioned in documents of 1503. In 1350 the Jews were accused of having poisoned wells and were expelled from Parchim. After the period of the "Black Death” they were readmitted to the town. In 1492 all the Jews were expelled from the Duchy of Mecklenburg. Eventually they were readmitted. In official documents of the 18th century there are references to Jews living in the area at that time. The Jews had to send deputies to their country synod ("Judenlandtag”) which registered the Jewish population of Mecklenburg. Contemporary letters of safe conduct ("Schutzbriefe”) indicate that Jews were again living in Parchim. The community was apparently well off; in the 1700s a number of families owned their own Torah scrolls which were later donated to the congregation. 

At the beginning of the 20th century the Jewish community numbered sixteen families of whom the majority were observant Jews. The community kept a cantor, a school and a cemetery. The majority of the Jews were engaged in various fields of trade. On the eve of World War II (September 1939) there were 48 Jews living in Parchim.

The Holocaust Period

The local cemetery fell victim to Nazi vandals in the early years of the Nazi regime, when a schoolmaster with his class one day devastated the place. No other information is available as to the fate of the Jewish community during the Holocaust years or about its present situation.

Luebeck

Lübeck  

A city and Baltic port in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. 

An imperial city and capital of the Hanseatic League, Luebeck did not permit Jews to reside within its gates, although in the 17th century Jewish peddlers were common and their presence highly resented. In 1680 the city, in need of competent money changers, permitted two Schutzjuden to live there; in 1701 their number was restricted to one. Jewish peddlers, dealers in old clothes and secondhand goods, settled in the nearby village of Moisling, and in 1697 received permission to establish a recognized Jewish community. The attempts of the Luebeck authorities to restrict their activities met with little success. From 12 families in 1709 the settlement in Moisling had grown to 70 by the end of the century.

In 1724 a rabbi was engaged and a cemetery opened; the community was under the jurisdiction of the Altona rabbinate. Although Moisling was annexed to Luebeck in 1806 the commercial and civil restrictions were not abolished until 1810, by the French occupation forces.

A synagogue was dedicated in Luebeck itself in 1812. The downfall of Napoleon and the retreat of the French army threatened the Jews' newly acquired rights. C.A. Buchholz, a Luebeck lawyer, attempted to defend them at the Congress of Vienna (1815) but in vain. After a protracted legal battle, in 1824 they were forced to leave the city proper, returning to Moisling, where they built a new synagogue (1827) and opened a school (1837).

Emancipation granted during the 1848 revolution gave the Jews the right to settle in Luebeck, where a synagogue was opened in 1850; a new one was consecrated in 1880. The last five rabbis who served in the community were: Efraim Fishel Yoel  the son-in-law of Alexander Adler (1850-1869), Alexander Adler's son-in-law Solomon Carlebach (1870-1919), who wrote a history of the Jewish community, succeeded by his son Joseph Carlebach (1920-1922), and the last rabbi: David A. Winter (1922-1938). The Jewish population in the city rose from 522 in 1857 to 700 in 1913, but after the advent of the Nazis, declined to 250 in 1937. The last 85 Jews were deported to Riga in 1941-1942.

After the war a new community was established, which numbered 250 in 1948; by 1952 only 30 remained.

Chajim Joachim Schwerin
Annie Schwerin
Benjamin Schwerin
Arthur Schwerin
Holdheim, Samuel
Rabbi and theologian

Born in Kempen, the son of rigidly Orthodox parents, he was a profound talmudic scholar already in his youth. He went to Berlin and Prague for secular studies. In 1836 he was appointed rabbi in Frankfurt on Oder where he remained until 1840 and was a pioneer in modern homiletics and in according a modern role to the rabbi. Judaism for him was not an end in itself but part of a larger humanity. Holdheim moved to Schwerin as Landesrabbiner. He welcomed the new Reform movement and wrote many works advocating reforms in Jewish thinking and practice. He advocated changes in the laws of marriage and divorce which aroused polemics throughout Germany. When a Reform congregation was founded in Berlin in 1847 he was called to be its rabbi and preacher. Under him, the congregation became the most radical and revolutionary group in Reform Judaism. Sundays became the day of worship, second days of festivals were abolished, and intermarriage was sanctioned.
The Synagogue in Schwerin, East Germany, 1980's
Fritz Loewenthal, a Jewish Officer in the German Army, early 20th century
THE SYNAGOGUE IN SCHWERIN,
MECKLENBURG DISTRICT, EAST GERMANY, 1980'S.
THE SYNAGOGUE CONTAINS ON THE RIGHT A PRAYER HALL, NOT NOW IN USE, AS THERE ARE ONLY 3 JEWISH PERSONS IN THE DISTRICT;
LEFT A MEMORIAL PLACE WITH DOCUMENTS AND PHOTOS FROM 1933-1945.
(BETH HATEFUTSOTH PHOTO ARCHIVE)
Fritz Loewenthal of Schwerin, Germany,
a Jewish officer in the German army.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Michal Zehavi, israel)
SCHWERIN

SCHWERIN 

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birthplace, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives.

This name is derived from Schwerin, the name of a city and the capital Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. First Jewish presence in Schwerin is documented in 1266. Places, regions and countries of origin or residence are some of the sources of Jewish family names. But, unless the family has reliable records, names based on toponymics cannot prove the exact origin of the family.

Schwerin is documented as a Jewish family name with Fanny Schwerin nee Scherek, born in Poznan (Posen), Poland in 1865, a resident of Berlin, Germany, who perished in the Holocaust after having been deported to Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia.