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The Jewish Community of Seesen

Seesen

Yiddish: סייסן (Seesen)

Town1 and municipality in Lower Saxony, Germany.

21ST CENTURY

A liberal Jewish community was founded in 1997 in the town of Seesen. In 2005 it numbered 43 Jews. All the members were immigrants from the former Soviet Union. For communal purposes they use a room in the original Israel Jacobson school. The community is a member of the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany.

A memorial stone commemorating the former Jewish community and its leader was unveiled in the town of Seesen.

This is where Israel Jacobson established a mixed school in 1801 with 40 Jewish and 20 Christian children which were educated together. The Jacobson school gained a “reputation far and wide and was in existence for 100 years. To this day you will still find the Jacobson school standing in the heart of little Seesen…the Nazis either did not know who Jacobson was or did not dare wipe his existence completely away… Today Seesen celebrates the history of the Jacobson school and attempts to celebrate the Jewish lives that once thrived there.”

“Reform Judaism was launched on… [17 July] in 1810 with the opening of the first Reform “temple” in Seesen, Germany.” This was a further activity of Israel Jacobson from Seesen, a philanthropist and learned Jew. He wanted to ensure Judaism would survive on the backdrop of the French Revolution (1789-1799) and the Enlightenment (17th and 18th centuries), at a time when conversion to Christianity swept Western Europe’s Jewish life. Half a century later Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise brought Reform Judaism to the USA and in time it became the dominant stream in the country.

The Reform movement born in Seesen is also discussed in Gender, Judaism, and Bourgeois Culture in Germany, 1800–1870 by Benjamin Maria Baader, published by Indiana University Press, 2006 (pg. 44). The July 1810 inauguration of Germany’s first Jewish Reform temple in Seesen catered only to men, as well as the adjacent school, which was only for boys. The dedication ceremony was set on a political background of great symbolic value rather than as a communal festivity. “The purpose of the dedication ceremony of the Seesen temple was to evince the dignity of the country’s Jewish citizens and the worthiness of the Jewish religion in light of the emancipation that the Jews of Westphalia had gained in the Napoleonic kingdom”.

“Three years earlier in the newly established Kingdom of Westphalia, the French ruler Jerome Bonaparte had granted his Jewish subjects full civil equality and religious freedom… Jacobson was deeply committed to the politial and cultural integration of German Jewry and wished to adapt the Jewish religion to contemporary sensibilities. As president of the [Jewish] consistory, he was able to play a leading role in the Jewish Reform movement that had begun to take shape. After the demise of the Kingdom of Westphalia Jacobson relocated to Berlin and spearheaded the reform of Jewish worship in the Prussian capital… The construction of the Reform temple in Seesen…was in itself a statement of how emancipated Jews worshiped.”

“What may strike us at first is the proximity of the seventeenth to the fourteenth of July, the day commemorated for the storming of the Bastille. And indeed the dedication ceremony of the Seesen Temple bore the imprint of the ideals of the Enlightenment and the political changes that had occurred in the wake of the French Revolution.” thus in the words of Klaus Herrmann “Translating Cultures and Texts in Reform Judaism: The Philippson Bible” in Jewish Studies Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 2 (2007), p. 164

Israel Jacobson was a follower of Moses Mendelsohn (1729-1786) and his philosophy of the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment). This is described in Jews and the Renaissance of Synagogue Architecture, 1450-1730 by Barry L. Stiefel, published by Taylor & Francis in 2016

The Savannah Jewish News (2010) writes about the two centenial (July 17, 1810) unfolding milestone in Seesen: in the presence of the mayors of Berlin and Seesen, a plaque was dedicated on the site of Israel Jacobson’s Berlin residence, the first location where Berlin’s Reform services were held. The two politicians eloquently paid tribute. Historic pride was too expressed in Seesen itself proclaimed on billboards and banners. While the original 1810 Temple was destroyed on Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938), at the location of the 1810 Temple the Mayor, other civic and religious men and women along with Seesen citizens came together and partook in a deeply moving ceremony. Newspaper passages from the year 1810 were read out sharing the events that had taken place 200 years earlier at that exact location.

Israel Jacobson the nominal Reform Judaism father is also credited with the creation of the Confirmation ceremony. “Confirmation is a Reform-originated ceremony for boys and girls that is tied to the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. It constitutes an individual and group affirmation of commitment to the Jewish people… In 1831, Rabbi Samuel Egers of Brunswick, Germany, determined to hold confirmation on Shavuot, the festival of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, also the widely accepted practice today…”.

An entry about Jewish Seesen features in the book Platforms and Prayer Books: Theological and Liturgical Perspectives on Reform Judaism by Dana Evan Rabbi Kaplan (Author), Ellen Umansky (Foreword), Judith Z. Abrams (Contributor), published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers in 2002 (p. 237).

The Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art has several items about Jewish Seesen in their catalogue. The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People Jerusalem also has documents refering to Jewish Seesen.

 

HISTORY   

The first Jewish presence in Seesen was in the 15th century CE. Throughout its history, the Jewish community of Seesen was small, its numbers barely topping 200. In 1801, the financier and Court Jew Israel Jacobson founded and richly endowed the Jacobson Schule in Seesen as a means of implementing his humanistic and reform ideals. Modern subjects and vocational instruction were emphasized. The school began to accept Christian pupils in 1805 and later in the 19th century, lost its Jewish character.

In 1810, the Seesen synagogue (the controversial Jacobsontempel), featuring for the first time in Germany an organ, choir, and sermons in German, was consecrated as an offshoot of the school.

The Jewish community established a cemetery on Dehnestrasse in 1805; a mikveh in 1827; and a separate school for religious studies — the teacher also served as the shochet and chazzan — in 1819. Several Jewish associations (including a branch of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith) were active in the community.

In 1852, a nonsectarian orphanage was founded by Jacobson's son, Mayer. It was closed in 1923 and reopened in 1929 as a Jewish youth sanatorium.

There were 54 Jews in Seesen in 1819; and 178 in 1871. In 1895, when this Jewish community recorded its peak population figure (209), most Seesen Jews were cattle traders, textile merchants and butchers.

In 1933, when Jewish teachers and pupils were expelled from the school and its foundation funds confiscated, only 44 Jews lived in Seesen, of whom 60% subsequently left the town.

The orphanage and, later, the cemetery were sold.

 

HOLOCAUST

During the Pogrom Night (Nov 9, 1938 – Nov 10, 1938), the synagogue and a Jewish-owned department store were burned down; Jewish homes were searched by members of the SS. Male Jews were arrested, and the head of the community was killed.

In 1944, the state appropriated the synagogue site. At least ten Jews from Seesen died in the Holocaust (1939-1945).

 

POST-WAR

Between 60 and 80 Jewish displaced persons lived in Seesen after the war, and the re-established Jewish community was compensated for the loss of the synagogue. However, by 1952, only nine Jews remained in the town.

 

1 Population numbers refer to the town and not the district of Seesen

Place Type:
Town
ID Number:
117530
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Nearby places:

Related items:
Reform pioneer

He was born in poor circumstances in Halberstadt where he attended the Jewish religious school. By the age of 19 he had become affluent and moved to Brunswick where he rapidly increased his fortune. In 1801 he established a school in Seesen where Jewish and Christian children studied and lived together without charge. During the century of its existence it was an outstanding educational enterprise. In 1810 he built a synagogue in the school grounds and introduced a reformed service with an organ and the introduction of prayers in the vernacular (in addition to Hebrew). The following year he introduced a confirmation service. Jacobson moved to Cassel where he headed the Jewish consistory and opened a reform Temple. In 1815 he settled in Berlin where he had a Reform service in his home. He was a pioneer of the development of Jewish-Christian relations.

Goslar

A town and capital of the Goslar district in Lower Saxony, Germany. 

Jewish merchants from Worms are mentioned there in 1074 and 1114. In 1252 the town demanded the rights to the taxes from its Jewish settlement for itself, opposing the royal prerogative on the Jews as "servi camerae"; royal taxes were levied on them through the municipality from 1274. In 1312 the community paid a direct tax identical to that paid by Christians. The town council intervened on behalf of the community against the exactions of Emperor Louis of Bavaria in 1336 and 1340.

The community of Goslar did not suffer persecution, even at the time of the Black Death, and the local form of the Jewish oath was relatively free of degrading formulas.

Problems of residence rights (cherem ha-yishuv) gave rise to bitter quarrels between old and new settlers, which the municipal council was often called upon to arbitrate and resulted in a split in the community in 1331 which lasted for seven years. At that time there were approximately 30 Jewish taxpayers.

From 1312 the town council issued an increasing number of Judenbriefe conferring rights and obligations on individual Jews, so that by 1340 at least half of the Jews in Goslar were not formally included in the community for taxation purposes. This process continued in the latter half of the 14th century, accompanied by increased taxation and decline of the community. Further deterioration in the community situation occurred following a blood libel in 1440, to the extent that it was impossible to organize a minyan. And in 1414 the Jews of Goslar secretly left the city and moved to Braunschweig to evade heavy imperial tax. A community in Goslar was mentioned in 1615, when a parnas was installed and took the oath of office. The pinkas registering a community of 9 members was opened in 1677. A synagogue was reopened in 1693. The community numbered 43 persons in 1871 and 38 in 1933.

On Pogrom Night (November 9, 1938), the synagogue (consecrated in 1802), and Jewish shops and homes were attacked and looted. The well-preserved community archives were destroyed. Twenty two members of the community perished during the Holocaust. Local Jews were mistreated and imprisoned, and one died. In 1939, the synagogue and cemetery were sold to the town, the proceeds confiscated. The last Jews of Goslar were deported to concentration camps in 1942 and 1943. At least eight Goslar Jews perished in the Shoah. After World War II, a number of Shoah survivors temporarily settled in Goslar, among them four natives of the town. The synagogue building was pulled down in 1959. A memorial stone was later unveiled in Goslar, and several former Jewish homes bear plaques. An annual memorial tour is held in honor of Goslar’s murdered Jews.

A new community was organized, with 46 members in 1948, but declined soon afterward. It had eight members in 1970.

Hildesheim

Town and former bishopric near Hanover, Germany.

A Jewish community subject to the bishop was constituted in Hildesheim toward the middle of the 14th century. It suffered during the Black Death persecutions (1348--49) but rapidly recovered. There were about 80 Jewish residents in the city in 1379, when the community possessed a synagogue and a cemetery and the Jews lived in a "Judenstrasse". Almost without exception they made their living as moneylenders. In 1457 all Jews were expelled from the bishopric and the synagogue was torn down.

In 1520 the right of residence was extended to " der grosse michel", a Jewish soldier of fortune. He was followed by a small number of other Jewish settlers, including Medicus Herz, a physician to the bishop. In 1595 an attempt to expel the Jews was frustrated when the exiles took legal action before the imperial court and were allowed to return in 1601. In 1662 elector Maximillian Henry of Bavaria published a letter of protection for the Jews of the city.

The same year marked the promulgation of a new series of laws by Jewish authorities dealing with the government of the Jewish community.

A synagogue and a cemetery were dedicated in the early 17th century. A second cemetery was consecrated in 1650. The community grew from ten families possessing residence rights in 1634 to 40--60 families in 1726. A relative of Joseph Suess Oppenheimer (d. 1762), who served for many years as tax collector and finance minister to the bishops and was "landesrabbiner" from 1732, interceded successfully on behalf of Jews without residence permits who were threatened with expulsion in 1741. The community numbered 380 persons in 1812, 513 in 1880 (2% of the total population), and 515 in 1933.

Incorporated into the kingdom of Westphalia, the Jews of the bishopric enjoyed full equality from 1806 to 1815. In that period an elementary school was founded which continued to exist into the 20th century. When Hildesheim came under Hanoverian rule (1815), the Jews again suffered from legal disabilities. A new synagogue was consecrated in 1849. The rabbinical post of Hildesheim was filled consecutively from the 17th century; notable incumbents included Jacob Guttmann (1874--92) and his successor A. Lewinsky, rabbi for more than 40 years, who wrote widely on the history of the community.

On November 10, 1938 the synagogue was burned down and many shops were looted. By May 1939 only 210 Jews remained. The majority of these were deported, 51 on July 24, 1942 to Theresienstadt. A few returned after the war but by 1970 only 8 remained.

Einbeck

Town in lower Saxony (formerly in Hanover), Germany.

Several Jews were burned there at the stake about the year 1298. A Jewish street and synagogue in Einbeck are first mentioned in 1355. An "old" Jewish cemetery is referred to in 1454. The Jews were expelled from Einbeck around 1579 at the instance of a pastor, Johann Velius. They made several attempts to return, and are again mentioned in Einbeck in 1667. They were granted letters of protection in 1673 and 1678, and although these were opposed by the local inhabitants the duke refused to withdraw them. In 1718 the elector of Hanover, George I of England, restricted further Jewish settlement in Einbeck and few Jews were authorized to reside there in the 18th century.

The number of Jewish families increased from nine in 1806-1813 to 16 in 1816, and 139 persons in 1880 (2.04% of the total population). A new synagogue was dedicated in 1896. It was destroyed by the Nazis in 1938. Only 58 Jews remained in Einbeck in 1932, and nine in 1939. Only one survived the war. In 1968 there were two Jewish residents.
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The Jewish Community of Seesen

Seesen

Yiddish: סייסן (Seesen)

Town1 and municipality in Lower Saxony, Germany.

21ST CENTURY

A liberal Jewish community was founded in 1997 in the town of Seesen. In 2005 it numbered 43 Jews. All the members were immigrants from the former Soviet Union. For communal purposes they use a room in the original Israel Jacobson school. The community is a member of the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany.

A memorial stone commemorating the former Jewish community and its leader was unveiled in the town of Seesen.

This is where Israel Jacobson established a mixed school in 1801 with 40 Jewish and 20 Christian children which were educated together. The Jacobson school gained a “reputation far and wide and was in existence for 100 years. To this day you will still find the Jacobson school standing in the heart of little Seesen…the Nazis either did not know who Jacobson was or did not dare wipe his existence completely away… Today Seesen celebrates the history of the Jacobson school and attempts to celebrate the Jewish lives that once thrived there.”

“Reform Judaism was launched on… [17 July] in 1810 with the opening of the first Reform “temple” in Seesen, Germany.” This was a further activity of Israel Jacobson from Seesen, a philanthropist and learned Jew. He wanted to ensure Judaism would survive on the backdrop of the French Revolution (1789-1799) and the Enlightenment (17th and 18th centuries), at a time when conversion to Christianity swept Western Europe’s Jewish life. Half a century later Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise brought Reform Judaism to the USA and in time it became the dominant stream in the country.

The Reform movement born in Seesen is also discussed in Gender, Judaism, and Bourgeois Culture in Germany, 1800–1870 by Benjamin Maria Baader, published by Indiana University Press, 2006 (pg. 44). The July 1810 inauguration of Germany’s first Jewish Reform temple in Seesen catered only to men, as well as the adjacent school, which was only for boys. The dedication ceremony was set on a political background of great symbolic value rather than as a communal festivity. “The purpose of the dedication ceremony of the Seesen temple was to evince the dignity of the country’s Jewish citizens and the worthiness of the Jewish religion in light of the emancipation that the Jews of Westphalia had gained in the Napoleonic kingdom”.

“Three years earlier in the newly established Kingdom of Westphalia, the French ruler Jerome Bonaparte had granted his Jewish subjects full civil equality and religious freedom… Jacobson was deeply committed to the politial and cultural integration of German Jewry and wished to adapt the Jewish religion to contemporary sensibilities. As president of the [Jewish] consistory, he was able to play a leading role in the Jewish Reform movement that had begun to take shape. After the demise of the Kingdom of Westphalia Jacobson relocated to Berlin and spearheaded the reform of Jewish worship in the Prussian capital… The construction of the Reform temple in Seesen…was in itself a statement of how emancipated Jews worshiped.”

“What may strike us at first is the proximity of the seventeenth to the fourteenth of July, the day commemorated for the storming of the Bastille. And indeed the dedication ceremony of the Seesen Temple bore the imprint of the ideals of the Enlightenment and the political changes that had occurred in the wake of the French Revolution.” thus in the words of Klaus Herrmann “Translating Cultures and Texts in Reform Judaism: The Philippson Bible” in Jewish Studies Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 2 (2007), p. 164

Israel Jacobson was a follower of Moses Mendelsohn (1729-1786) and his philosophy of the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment). This is described in Jews and the Renaissance of Synagogue Architecture, 1450-1730 by Barry L. Stiefel, published by Taylor & Francis in 2016

The Savannah Jewish News (2010) writes about the two centenial (July 17, 1810) unfolding milestone in Seesen: in the presence of the mayors of Berlin and Seesen, a plaque was dedicated on the site of Israel Jacobson’s Berlin residence, the first location where Berlin’s Reform services were held. The two politicians eloquently paid tribute. Historic pride was too expressed in Seesen itself proclaimed on billboards and banners. While the original 1810 Temple was destroyed on Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938), at the location of the 1810 Temple the Mayor, other civic and religious men and women along with Seesen citizens came together and partook in a deeply moving ceremony. Newspaper passages from the year 1810 were read out sharing the events that had taken place 200 years earlier at that exact location.

Israel Jacobson the nominal Reform Judaism father is also credited with the creation of the Confirmation ceremony. “Confirmation is a Reform-originated ceremony for boys and girls that is tied to the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. It constitutes an individual and group affirmation of commitment to the Jewish people… In 1831, Rabbi Samuel Egers of Brunswick, Germany, determined to hold confirmation on Shavuot, the festival of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, also the widely accepted practice today…”.

An entry about Jewish Seesen features in the book Platforms and Prayer Books: Theological and Liturgical Perspectives on Reform Judaism by Dana Evan Rabbi Kaplan (Author), Ellen Umansky (Foreword), Judith Z. Abrams (Contributor), published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers in 2002 (p. 237).

The Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art has several items about Jewish Seesen in their catalogue. The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People Jerusalem also has documents refering to Jewish Seesen.

 

HISTORY   

The first Jewish presence in Seesen was in the 15th century CE. Throughout its history, the Jewish community of Seesen was small, its numbers barely topping 200. In 1801, the financier and Court Jew Israel Jacobson founded and richly endowed the Jacobson Schule in Seesen as a means of implementing his humanistic and reform ideals. Modern subjects and vocational instruction were emphasized. The school began to accept Christian pupils in 1805 and later in the 19th century, lost its Jewish character.

In 1810, the Seesen synagogue (the controversial Jacobsontempel), featuring for the first time in Germany an organ, choir, and sermons in German, was consecrated as an offshoot of the school.

The Jewish community established a cemetery on Dehnestrasse in 1805; a mikveh in 1827; and a separate school for religious studies — the teacher also served as the shochet and chazzan — in 1819. Several Jewish associations (including a branch of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith) were active in the community.

In 1852, a nonsectarian orphanage was founded by Jacobson's son, Mayer. It was closed in 1923 and reopened in 1929 as a Jewish youth sanatorium.

There were 54 Jews in Seesen in 1819; and 178 in 1871. In 1895, when this Jewish community recorded its peak population figure (209), most Seesen Jews were cattle traders, textile merchants and butchers.

In 1933, when Jewish teachers and pupils were expelled from the school and its foundation funds confiscated, only 44 Jews lived in Seesen, of whom 60% subsequently left the town.

The orphanage and, later, the cemetery were sold.

 

HOLOCAUST

During the Pogrom Night (Nov 9, 1938 – Nov 10, 1938), the synagogue and a Jewish-owned department store were burned down; Jewish homes were searched by members of the SS. Male Jews were arrested, and the head of the community was killed.

In 1944, the state appropriated the synagogue site. At least ten Jews from Seesen died in the Holocaust (1939-1945).

 

POST-WAR

Between 60 and 80 Jewish displaced persons lived in Seesen after the war, and the re-established Jewish community was compensated for the loss of the synagogue. However, by 1952, only nine Jews remained in the town.

 

1 Population numbers refer to the town and not the district of Seesen

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

EINBECK
HILDESHEIM
Goslar
Lower Saxony - Niedersachsen
Einbeck

Town in lower Saxony (formerly in Hanover), Germany.

Several Jews were burned there at the stake about the year 1298. A Jewish street and synagogue in Einbeck are first mentioned in 1355. An "old" Jewish cemetery is referred to in 1454. The Jews were expelled from Einbeck around 1579 at the instance of a pastor, Johann Velius. They made several attempts to return, and are again mentioned in Einbeck in 1667. They were granted letters of protection in 1673 and 1678, and although these were opposed by the local inhabitants the duke refused to withdraw them. In 1718 the elector of Hanover, George I of England, restricted further Jewish settlement in Einbeck and few Jews were authorized to reside there in the 18th century.

The number of Jewish families increased from nine in 1806-1813 to 16 in 1816, and 139 persons in 1880 (2.04% of the total population). A new synagogue was dedicated in 1896. It was destroyed by the Nazis in 1938. Only 58 Jews remained in Einbeck in 1932, and nine in 1939. Only one survived the war. In 1968 there were two Jewish residents.

Hildesheim

Town and former bishopric near Hanover, Germany.

A Jewish community subject to the bishop was constituted in Hildesheim toward the middle of the 14th century. It suffered during the Black Death persecutions (1348--49) but rapidly recovered. There were about 80 Jewish residents in the city in 1379, when the community possessed a synagogue and a cemetery and the Jews lived in a "Judenstrasse". Almost without exception they made their living as moneylenders. In 1457 all Jews were expelled from the bishopric and the synagogue was torn down.

In 1520 the right of residence was extended to " der grosse michel", a Jewish soldier of fortune. He was followed by a small number of other Jewish settlers, including Medicus Herz, a physician to the bishop. In 1595 an attempt to expel the Jews was frustrated when the exiles took legal action before the imperial court and were allowed to return in 1601. In 1662 elector Maximillian Henry of Bavaria published a letter of protection for the Jews of the city.

The same year marked the promulgation of a new series of laws by Jewish authorities dealing with the government of the Jewish community.

A synagogue and a cemetery were dedicated in the early 17th century. A second cemetery was consecrated in 1650. The community grew from ten families possessing residence rights in 1634 to 40--60 families in 1726. A relative of Joseph Suess Oppenheimer (d. 1762), who served for many years as tax collector and finance minister to the bishops and was "landesrabbiner" from 1732, interceded successfully on behalf of Jews without residence permits who were threatened with expulsion in 1741. The community numbered 380 persons in 1812, 513 in 1880 (2% of the total population), and 515 in 1933.

Incorporated into the kingdom of Westphalia, the Jews of the bishopric enjoyed full equality from 1806 to 1815. In that period an elementary school was founded which continued to exist into the 20th century. When Hildesheim came under Hanoverian rule (1815), the Jews again suffered from legal disabilities. A new synagogue was consecrated in 1849. The rabbinical post of Hildesheim was filled consecutively from the 17th century; notable incumbents included Jacob Guttmann (1874--92) and his successor A. Lewinsky, rabbi for more than 40 years, who wrote widely on the history of the community.

On November 10, 1938 the synagogue was burned down and many shops were looted. By May 1939 only 210 Jews remained. The majority of these were deported, 51 on July 24, 1942 to Theresienstadt. A few returned after the war but by 1970 only 8 remained.

Goslar

A town and capital of the Goslar district in Lower Saxony, Germany. 

Jewish merchants from Worms are mentioned there in 1074 and 1114. In 1252 the town demanded the rights to the taxes from its Jewish settlement for itself, opposing the royal prerogative on the Jews as "servi camerae"; royal taxes were levied on them through the municipality from 1274. In 1312 the community paid a direct tax identical to that paid by Christians. The town council intervened on behalf of the community against the exactions of Emperor Louis of Bavaria in 1336 and 1340.

The community of Goslar did not suffer persecution, even at the time of the Black Death, and the local form of the Jewish oath was relatively free of degrading formulas.

Problems of residence rights (cherem ha-yishuv) gave rise to bitter quarrels between old and new settlers, which the municipal council was often called upon to arbitrate and resulted in a split in the community in 1331 which lasted for seven years. At that time there were approximately 30 Jewish taxpayers.

From 1312 the town council issued an increasing number of Judenbriefe conferring rights and obligations on individual Jews, so that by 1340 at least half of the Jews in Goslar were not formally included in the community for taxation purposes. This process continued in the latter half of the 14th century, accompanied by increased taxation and decline of the community. Further deterioration in the community situation occurred following a blood libel in 1440, to the extent that it was impossible to organize a minyan. And in 1414 the Jews of Goslar secretly left the city and moved to Braunschweig to evade heavy imperial tax. A community in Goslar was mentioned in 1615, when a parnas was installed and took the oath of office. The pinkas registering a community of 9 members was opened in 1677. A synagogue was reopened in 1693. The community numbered 43 persons in 1871 and 38 in 1933.

On Pogrom Night (November 9, 1938), the synagogue (consecrated in 1802), and Jewish shops and homes were attacked and looted. The well-preserved community archives were destroyed. Twenty two members of the community perished during the Holocaust. Local Jews were mistreated and imprisoned, and one died. In 1939, the synagogue and cemetery were sold to the town, the proceeds confiscated. The last Jews of Goslar were deported to concentration camps in 1942 and 1943. At least eight Goslar Jews perished in the Shoah. After World War II, a number of Shoah survivors temporarily settled in Goslar, among them four natives of the town. The synagogue building was pulled down in 1959. A memorial stone was later unveiled in Goslar, and several former Jewish homes bear plaques. An annual memorial tour is held in honor of Goslar’s murdered Jews.

A new community was organized, with 46 members in 1948, but declined soon afterward. It had eight members in 1970.

Jacobson, Israel
Reform pioneer

He was born in poor circumstances in Halberstadt where he attended the Jewish religious school. By the age of 19 he had become affluent and moved to Brunswick where he rapidly increased his fortune. In 1801 he established a school in Seesen where Jewish and Christian children studied and lived together without charge. During the century of its existence it was an outstanding educational enterprise. In 1810 he built a synagogue in the school grounds and introduced a reformed service with an organ and the introduction of prayers in the vernacular (in addition to Hebrew). The following year he introduced a confirmation service. Jacobson moved to Cassel where he headed the Jewish consistory and opened a reform Temple. In 1815 he settled in Berlin where he had a Reform service in his home. He was a pioneer of the development of Jewish-Christian relations.