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The Jewish Community of Anklam

Anklam

A town in the Vorpommern-Greifswald district in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, formerly known as Tanglim and Wendenburg.

First Jewish presence: mid-1300s; peak Jewish population: 311 in 1861; Jewish population in 1933: 43

Jews lived in Anklam from the mid-1300s until the Black Death pogroms, when they were burned at the stake. In 1712, at which point Anklam was under Swedish rule, the authorities issued a ban on Jewish settlement. All bans were annulled in 1812, after which Jews began to return to Anklam. By 1817, a Jewish community had been founded, complete with a prayer room, a cemetery and a school. In order to accommodate the growing community, a synagogue was built and inaugurated in 1841. As a token of gratitude to the local count who granted permission to build the synagogue, the community mounted his portrait on the wall of the synagogue’s foyer. Anti-Semitism became a real problem for Anklam Jews in early 1933 and by 1935 the situation was almost intolerable. Although the synagogue was set on fire on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), it did not burn down completely, and was subsequently used for grain storage. A small plaque was later unveiled at the synagogue site.

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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.

Place Type:
Town
ID Number:
16920991
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Stralsund

A city in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany.

First Jewish presence: mid 1400s; peak Jewish population: 172 in 1797; Jewish population in 1933: 160

The city of Stralsund, founded in the mid-1200s, quickly developed into the most prosperous city in northern Germany. Although Jews were allowed to conduct business in Stralsund, they were forbidden to live in the city. By the mid-1400s, however, Jews had been granted permission to live in Stralsund, albeit in ghettos; this medieval community lived on the Judengasse (“Jews’ alley”), where they consecrated a prayer room. As was the case in towns all over Germany, the Jewish community was expelled from Stralsund in 1492.

In 1757, the modern Jewish community was established, numbering 35 Jews in 1766 and 119 in 1784. Thirty years later, in 1786/87, a newly-built, beautiful synagogue consisting of 200 seats was dedicated in the backyard at 69 Langenstrasse. It was the very first synagogue in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. Attached to the synagogue was a mikvah (ritual bath). In 1913, the synagogue was completely rebuilt. At its inauguration on September 16, 1913, Stralsund's mayor Ernst August Friedrich Gronow addressed his greetings to the Jewish community, "… that our Jewish fellow citizens may live with their Christian fellow citizens in peace and harmony in this city as before."

Stralsund Jews initially buried their dead outside the city. In 1776, the Christian banker Joachim Ulrich von Giese provided a place for the funeral of a Jewish girl, the daughter of the family Hertz, on the grounds of his estate (Gut Niederhof). This resulted in the development of a small Jewish cemetery. In 1850, a new Jewish cemetery was laid out on Greifswalder Chaussee, which was enlarged in 1912.
The Judengesetz (Jews' law) of 1847 for the Kingdom of Prussia eased the general living conditions of the Jews in Stralsund and led to an increase of their population (169 Jews in 1887). The wealthier Jews resided in neighborhoods that were also favored by rich Christian merchant families. However, the majority of Stralsund Jews lived in poverty. Of particular importance for the city was the settlement of the Jewish merchants Leonhard Tietz and Adolf Wertheim. The latter opened in 1852 the first manufactory and millinery store on Wasserstrasse, the future head office of the Wertheim Group. Leonhard Tietz established a store at 31 Ossenreyerstrasse in 1879.

In 1932/33, approximately 160 Jews lived in Stralsund. Twenty Jewish children received religious instruction. Simon Lemke served as preacher and chazzan (cantor). The chevra kadisha (burial society), founded in 1921, was still active as well as the youth group Berthold Auerbach. Furthermore, branches of the nationwide Jewish organizations Central-Verein (Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith) and Reichsbund Juedischer Frontsoldaten (Reich Federation of Jewish Front Soldiers) were operating in Stralsund in the 1930s. Jews from Ruegen (16 Jews), Barth (12), Grimmen (8), Tribsees (3), Richtenberg (3), Franzburg (5), and Dammgarten (1) were affiliated with the Stralsund Jewish community.
In the 1920s, Stralsund Jews were not particularly affected by the Nazis' anti-Semitic agitation.

from 1933 onwards: in order to implement the anti-Jewish boycott, Nazis placed guards in front of Jewish-owned stores to prevent by force customers entering. A few days later, the town council made the following decision: "The municipality has to halt immediately all business connections with … Jewish traders … The city government has to ensure that no further ritual slaughtering takes place…" Around 1934, while Heinz Cohn and Luise Genzen, a Christian woman, were celebrating their wedding, SA men came to their house at 2 Frankenstrasse, interrupted the festivity and took Cohn into protective custody. The same happened to David Mandelbaum, who was also married to a non-Jewish woman. A foundation founded by the merchant Moses Lazarus Israel to provide scholarships to young men was forcibly merged, by the mayor's decision on November 7, 1939, with a Nazi-related foundation which explicitly excluded Jews. Between 1933 and 1938, almost one-third of the Jewish population left Stralsund. They moved to other German cities or emigrated to different European or overseas countries. In October 1938, approximately 22 Jews of Polish nationality were expelled from Stralsund and transported to Poland.

On Pogrom Night on November 9, 1938, Jewish-owned businesses were looted and windows smashed. At 5 am on November 10, 1938, the synagogue was damaged and set on fire. It did not completely burn down; it was subsequently misused as a classroom and as storage by a local emergency service. Approximately 30 Jewish men were temporarily arrested and twenty of them taken to the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen. A day later, in the evening of November 11, Nazis organized an anti-Semitic demonstration at Alter Markt. In 1944, the former synagogue building was destroyed during an air raid and later torn down (1950). Most of the remaining Jews were deported to Lublin in February 1940. In early 1944, more local Jews were deported from Stralsund, this time to Auschwitz via Stettin. At least 60 Stralsund Jews perished in the Shoah.

After the war, several survivors returned to the city. They intended to found a new Jewish community. However, this attempt was doomed to fail due to their small numbers. In 1955, the Jewish cemetery on Greifswalder Chaussee was declared a historical site. From 1988 until 2009, several memorial plaques and stones were unveiled in Stralsund to commemorate the former Jewish community.

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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.

Neubrandenburg

A city and capital of the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte district in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

First Jewish presence: early 1400s; peak Jewish population: 100 in 1900; Jewish population in 1933: 34

Neubrandenburg’s medieval Jewish community was expelled from the town in 1492. Jews tried to return to Neubrandenburg in the early 1700s, but to no avail. Finally, in 1800, the village elders allowed Jews to settle permanently in the town, on condition that they pay a head tax for each Jew; the tax was levied on every individual as well as on his/her belongings. It was not until 1860 that local Jews were permitted to establish an official community, build a synagogue and consecrate a cemetery. The community’s first synagogue was small, but a larger house of worship was built in 1876 and inaugurated in 1877. Neubrandenburg Jews also founded and maintained a school. Beginning in 1937, when anti-Semitism became rampant in Neubrandenburg, Jews started to leave the town in large numbers, so that only 15 Jews lived there by 1938. On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), the synagogue was ransacked and set on fire; the arch above the entrance to the cemetery was also torched. A memorial plaque was unveiled at the synagogue site in 1988; as of this writing, the municipality is considering a more elaborate memorial.

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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.

Torgelow

A municipality in the Vorpommern-Greifswald district in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany.

Torgelow was mentioned for the first time in 1281 when the Brandenburg Margrave Otto IV signed a document at the Castle Torgelow. At the beginning of the 18th century, Torgelow became well-known when iron was found in the area; thereupon King Frederick II (Prussia) issued the founding document for the establishment of an iron and steel plant in 1753 and Torgelow developed into an industrial village.

Not much is known about Torgelow's Jewish history. However, it is documented that 21 Jews lived in Torgelow in 1910 and 14 (constituting 0.2% of total population) in 1925. They joined the community in Ueckermuende, which was approximately 12 km away from the village. A statute of the Ueckermuende Jewish community (1860) indicated that several small villages in the region, such as Torgelow, Altwarp, Neuwarp, and Eggesin, were affiliated with the synagogue district. According to several sources, a synagogue existed in Torgelow at least in the 1930s. No Jewish cemetery has been documented.

In 1933, nine Jews resided in the town. Among them was the businessman and clothier Julius Gronemann, who participated in the volunteer fire brigade and served as its secretary until the Nazis' assumption of power. Gronemann ran a textile store at 1 Wilhelmstrasse. Later, under the Nazi rulers’ pressure, he leased his shop to his former employee Wilhelm Koerner, member of the NSDAP, in 1934. As in many German towns and cities, the Nazis' anti-Jewish boycott was also implemented in Torgelow in April 1933. A former female employer of Julius Gronemann wrote to his great-grandson about the harassments at 1 Wilhelmstrasse: "… Nazi stormtroopers stood in front of the shop telling the customers … that the shopkeeper was Jewish and told them to buy at an Aryan shop. Although some of the customers turned on their heels, the majority weren’t put off and said they had been buying at Mr. Gronemann’s shop for years and they wouldn’t dream of shunning it. It was a very hard time for the old man so he decided to sell his shop by the end of 1933. Unfortunately I don’t know if it was an ordinary sale or already a kind of expropriation."

On Pogrom Night on November 9, 1938, the synagogue was burnt, as documented by the historian Wolfgang Wilhelmus. A day later, on November 10th, NS officials reported that the windows of a Jewish-owned shop had been smashed. During the entire Nazi era, Torgelow's few Jews were harassed, persecuted and forced to leave for other German cities. Some emigrated to Palestine, Belgium, South America and Shanghai. Julius Gronemann moved to Stettin, from where he was deported. On his last postcard to his children he wrote: "We'll be deported to Poland and we know our destiny." At least four local Jews were murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau and apparently in other Nazi concentration camps in the eastern Europe.

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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.

Szczecin

German: Stettin

The capital of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland. Until 1945 it was part of Germany.

Szczecin is a major seaport located near the Baltic Sea. The city became part of Poland in 1945; previously it was part of Prussia.

Jewish memorials in Szczecin include a plaque located on a wall where the synagogue once stood before it was destroyed during the Kristallnacht pogrom. Additionally, a monument is located in the park that was once a Jewish cemetery before it was destroyed by the local authorities.

In 2007 there were 62 Jews living in Szczecin. The community was led by Mikolaj Rozen. The community center includes a prayer house, as well as a kosher kitchen.

HISTORY

Jews are first mentioned in Szczecin in a 1261 charter, though it is likely that they had been living in the town beforehand. However, in 1492 the Jews were expelled from the region of Pomerania, and it was only in the 17th century that Jews began to return to Szczecin.

Jews were sometimes employed at the Prussian mint in Szczecin; in 1753 the medalist Jacob Abraham of Strelitz worked there as a die cutter, while Moses Isaak and Daniel Itzig supplied the mint with silver. Nonetheless, the Jews were denied the right to permanent residence within Szczecin throughout the18th century. It was only beginning in 1812 that a new Jewish community was established.

In 1818 there were 18 Jews living in Szczecin, including the Hebrew grammarian Chayyim b. Naphtali Koeslin; by 1840 the Jewish population had increased to 381. The first synagogue was built in 1834.

The community continued to grow; a major contributing factor was an increase in immigration from Poznan (German: Posen) and west Prussia. The Jewish population reached 1,823 in 1871.

The growing population prompted the community to establish a number of necessary religious and cultural institutions. A new synagogue was dedicated in 1875 and could hold 900 men and 750 women; an organ was introduced in 1910. Beginning in1867 the community also had an Orthodox prayer room. A cemetery was dedicated in 1821. Szczecin had a printing press that printed Jewish books and later, in 1929 a Jewish newspaper began to be published; by 1935 it had a circulation of 1,200. A religious school was established in 1850. Szczecin was also home to a number of political, cultural, and sports organizations.

The Jewish population increased to 2,757 in 1910. In 1930 the Jewish population was 2,703; in 1933 it was 2,365.

The following rabbis served the Jewish community of Szczecin: W.A Meisel (1843-1859), Abraham Treuenfels (1860-79), Heinemann Vogelstein (1880-1911), Max Wiener (1912-1926), Max Elk (1926-1935), and K. Richter (1936-38). The community's last rabbi was H. Finkelscherer, who served from 1938 until the deportation in 1940, when he perished with his community.

On the eve of World War II the community maintained an orphanage and an old-age home, as well as numerous charitable organizations. A Talmud Torah was opened in 1930. In 1934, after the Talmud Torah was closed by the authorities, the community established a Jewish elementary school.

THE HOLOCAUST

A number of Jews left Szczecin after the Nazi rise to power, and particularly after the Kristallnacht pogrom when the synagogue was destroyed, and many of the Jewish men were arrested and briefly sent to concentration camps. During the night of February 11-12, 1940 the Jews who remained in Szczecin were deported together with other Pomeranian Jews to Belzyce, Glusk, and Piaski. From these locations a number of Jews were deported to other areas, while those who remained were killed in Belzyce on October 28, 1942.

POSTWAR

Szczecin became part of Poland after World War II, at which point a number of Jews from Poland settled in the city. A new community was organized, and by 1959 it counted 1,050 members. In 1962 two Jewish cooperatives were active, as well as a school and a prayer house. However, the majority of Szczecin's Jews left after the Six Day War in June 1967.

The Jewish cemetery was closed in 1962. During the 1980s the city authorities made the decision to create a park where the cemetery was located; bodies that had been buried in the past 20 years were exhumed and moved to the Jewish section of the municipal cemetery, while the other gravestones were removed. A monument was established in the park commemorating the Jewish cemetery.

In the year 2000 there were approximately 140 Jews living in Szczecin, most of whom were elderly.

Demmin

A town in the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte district in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany.

Documentary evidence of a permanent Jewish settlement can be found at the beginning of the 19th century, when individual Jewish families moved from Deutsch-Krone and Stargard to Demmin. The Jews of Demmin were affiliated with the Jewish community in Stralsund until 1847. They then founded their own Jewish community, to which all Jews of the Demmin District belonged. The Jewish community was headed by chazzan (cantor) Levin Hirsch from 1847 to 1901. In 1848, a synagogue room was established in the residential home of the Jewish tradesman Joseph Elkish on Baustrasse (today Synagogenstrasse). The Jewish schoolchildren attended local schools and received religious instruction, probably by the chazzan Levin Hirsch. A Jewish cemetery was laid out near Kuhtor (today: Luisentor) in 1825. A new burial site was opened near Anklamer Tor (today: 5 Bergstrasse) in 1848. It had been purchased by the Stralsund Jewish community and was in use until 1933. Demmin’s Jewish population grew from 39 persons in 1812 to its peak of 106 in 1850. In the second half of the 19th century, the local Jews made their living in retail and trade. Some worked in the grain trade and wool business. Julius Cohnheim, born in Demmin in 1839, was a well-known researcher in medical science. Born in Demmin in 1880, Erich Kaufmann studied law and became a professor at various German universities.

During the Weimar Republic, Demmin developed into a stronghold of nationalistic organizations. Even before 1933, Jewish businesses were boycotted. This made many Jews leave the town; only a few Jewish families (25 persons) remained in Demmin by 1925. These were mostly elderly people. Due to the low membership rate, no further prayer services could be conducted in Demmin. The community re-affiliated with the synagogue community in Stralsund in 1928/29. In 1933, only seven Jews lived in Demmin. Three shops were still operated by Jews.

On April 1, 1933, the nationwide boycott against Jewish-owned shops and businesses was also implemented in Demmin. Since the few remaining Jewish residents (4 persons in 1938) could no longer obtain the synagogue building, they agreed to sell it to the owner of a furniture company in June 1938. The ritual objects were brought to the Berlin General Archives of the Jews in Germany. On Pogrom Night on November 9, 1938, the former synagogue building was not destroyed. However, the Jewish cemetery was desecrated and tombstones were destroyed. In 1942, the last remaining Jews were deported to the Nazi concentration and death camps in eastern Europe. By the end of 1942, there were no Jews living in Demmin.

After 1945, the cemetery was restored by the local Protestant church. In the early 1990s, the street where the former synagogue building had been located was renamed Synagogenstrasse. The former synagogue building was converted into an apartment house.

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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.

Pasewalk

A town in the Vorpommern-Greifswald district in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany.

First Jewish presence: 1320; peak Jewish population: 284 in 1861; Jewish population in 1933: 20

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the city of Pasewalk was the center of Jewish life in the state of Mecklenburg- Vorpommern. Although Jews lived in Pasewalk intermittently from 1320 onwards, it was not until 1820 that an official Jewish community was established there. In 1840, the community built a small synagogue behind a large apartment building; Pasewalk’s Jewish population had doubled by 1850, which necessitated an immediate expansion of the synagogue. In 1930, as a direct result of the swiftly deteriorating political situation, Jews began to leave Pasewalk in large numbers. Nevertheless, the community celebrated its centennial anniversary in 1932. The synagogue’s interior was destroyed on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), after which the building was set on fire. Eyewitnesses reported that the fire department was sent to the site not to extinguish the fire, but to protect the surrounding houses. On the 50th anniversary of Pogrom Night, the city of Pasewalk unveiled a memorial plaque near the former synagogue site.

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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.

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The Jewish Community of Anklam

Anklam

A town in the Vorpommern-Greifswald district in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, formerly known as Tanglim and Wendenburg.

First Jewish presence: mid-1300s; peak Jewish population: 311 in 1861; Jewish population in 1933: 43

Jews lived in Anklam from the mid-1300s until the Black Death pogroms, when they were burned at the stake. In 1712, at which point Anklam was under Swedish rule, the authorities issued a ban on Jewish settlement. All bans were annulled in 1812, after which Jews began to return to Anklam. By 1817, a Jewish community had been founded, complete with a prayer room, a cemetery and a school. In order to accommodate the growing community, a synagogue was built and inaugurated in 1841. As a token of gratitude to the local count who granted permission to build the synagogue, the community mounted his portrait on the wall of the synagogue’s foyer. Anti-Semitism became a real problem for Anklam Jews in early 1933 and by 1935 the situation was almost intolerable. Although the synagogue was set on fire on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), it did not burn down completely, and was subsequently used for grain storage. A small plaque was later unveiled at the synagogue site.

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

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

Pasewalk
Demmin
Szczecin
Torgelow
Neubrandenburg
Stralsund

Pasewalk

A town in the Vorpommern-Greifswald district in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany.

First Jewish presence: 1320; peak Jewish population: 284 in 1861; Jewish population in 1933: 20

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the city of Pasewalk was the center of Jewish life in the state of Mecklenburg- Vorpommern. Although Jews lived in Pasewalk intermittently from 1320 onwards, it was not until 1820 that an official Jewish community was established there. In 1840, the community built a small synagogue behind a large apartment building; Pasewalk’s Jewish population had doubled by 1850, which necessitated an immediate expansion of the synagogue. In 1930, as a direct result of the swiftly deteriorating political situation, Jews began to leave Pasewalk in large numbers. Nevertheless, the community celebrated its centennial anniversary in 1932. The synagogue’s interior was destroyed on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), after which the building was set on fire. Eyewitnesses reported that the fire department was sent to the site not to extinguish the fire, but to protect the surrounding houses. On the 50th anniversary of Pogrom Night, the city of Pasewalk unveiled a memorial plaque near the former synagogue site.

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

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.

Demmin

A town in the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte district in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany.

Documentary evidence of a permanent Jewish settlement can be found at the beginning of the 19th century, when individual Jewish families moved from Deutsch-Krone and Stargard to Demmin. The Jews of Demmin were affiliated with the Jewish community in Stralsund until 1847. They then founded their own Jewish community, to which all Jews of the Demmin District belonged. The Jewish community was headed by chazzan (cantor) Levin Hirsch from 1847 to 1901. In 1848, a synagogue room was established in the residential home of the Jewish tradesman Joseph Elkish on Baustrasse (today Synagogenstrasse). The Jewish schoolchildren attended local schools and received religious instruction, probably by the chazzan Levin Hirsch. A Jewish cemetery was laid out near Kuhtor (today: Luisentor) in 1825. A new burial site was opened near Anklamer Tor (today: 5 Bergstrasse) in 1848. It had been purchased by the Stralsund Jewish community and was in use until 1933. Demmin’s Jewish population grew from 39 persons in 1812 to its peak of 106 in 1850. In the second half of the 19th century, the local Jews made their living in retail and trade. Some worked in the grain trade and wool business. Julius Cohnheim, born in Demmin in 1839, was a well-known researcher in medical science. Born in Demmin in 1880, Erich Kaufmann studied law and became a professor at various German universities.

During the Weimar Republic, Demmin developed into a stronghold of nationalistic organizations. Even before 1933, Jewish businesses were boycotted. This made many Jews leave the town; only a few Jewish families (25 persons) remained in Demmin by 1925. These were mostly elderly people. Due to the low membership rate, no further prayer services could be conducted in Demmin. The community re-affiliated with the synagogue community in Stralsund in 1928/29. In 1933, only seven Jews lived in Demmin. Three shops were still operated by Jews.

On April 1, 1933, the nationwide boycott against Jewish-owned shops and businesses was also implemented in Demmin. Since the few remaining Jewish residents (4 persons in 1938) could no longer obtain the synagogue building, they agreed to sell it to the owner of a furniture company in June 1938. The ritual objects were brought to the Berlin General Archives of the Jews in Germany. On Pogrom Night on November 9, 1938, the former synagogue building was not destroyed. However, the Jewish cemetery was desecrated and tombstones were destroyed. In 1942, the last remaining Jews were deported to the Nazi concentration and death camps in eastern Europe. By the end of 1942, there were no Jews living in Demmin.

After 1945, the cemetery was restored by the local Protestant church. In the early 1990s, the street where the former synagogue building had been located was renamed Synagogenstrasse. The former synagogue building was converted into an apartment house.

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

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.

Szczecin

German: Stettin

The capital of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland. Until 1945 it was part of Germany.

Szczecin is a major seaport located near the Baltic Sea. The city became part of Poland in 1945; previously it was part of Prussia.

Jewish memorials in Szczecin include a plaque located on a wall where the synagogue once stood before it was destroyed during the Kristallnacht pogrom. Additionally, a monument is located in the park that was once a Jewish cemetery before it was destroyed by the local authorities.

In 2007 there were 62 Jews living in Szczecin. The community was led by Mikolaj Rozen. The community center includes a prayer house, as well as a kosher kitchen.

HISTORY

Jews are first mentioned in Szczecin in a 1261 charter, though it is likely that they had been living in the town beforehand. However, in 1492 the Jews were expelled from the region of Pomerania, and it was only in the 17th century that Jews began to return to Szczecin.

Jews were sometimes employed at the Prussian mint in Szczecin; in 1753 the medalist Jacob Abraham of Strelitz worked there as a die cutter, while Moses Isaak and Daniel Itzig supplied the mint with silver. Nonetheless, the Jews were denied the right to permanent residence within Szczecin throughout the18th century. It was only beginning in 1812 that a new Jewish community was established.

In 1818 there were 18 Jews living in Szczecin, including the Hebrew grammarian Chayyim b. Naphtali Koeslin; by 1840 the Jewish population had increased to 381. The first synagogue was built in 1834.

The community continued to grow; a major contributing factor was an increase in immigration from Poznan (German: Posen) and west Prussia. The Jewish population reached 1,823 in 1871.

The growing population prompted the community to establish a number of necessary religious and cultural institutions. A new synagogue was dedicated in 1875 and could hold 900 men and 750 women; an organ was introduced in 1910. Beginning in1867 the community also had an Orthodox prayer room. A cemetery was dedicated in 1821. Szczecin had a printing press that printed Jewish books and later, in 1929 a Jewish newspaper began to be published; by 1935 it had a circulation of 1,200. A religious school was established in 1850. Szczecin was also home to a number of political, cultural, and sports organizations.

The Jewish population increased to 2,757 in 1910. In 1930 the Jewish population was 2,703; in 1933 it was 2,365.

The following rabbis served the Jewish community of Szczecin: W.A Meisel (1843-1859), Abraham Treuenfels (1860-79), Heinemann Vogelstein (1880-1911), Max Wiener (1912-1926), Max Elk (1926-1935), and K. Richter (1936-38). The community's last rabbi was H. Finkelscherer, who served from 1938 until the deportation in 1940, when he perished with his community.

On the eve of World War II the community maintained an orphanage and an old-age home, as well as numerous charitable organizations. A Talmud Torah was opened in 1930. In 1934, after the Talmud Torah was closed by the authorities, the community established a Jewish elementary school.

THE HOLOCAUST

A number of Jews left Szczecin after the Nazi rise to power, and particularly after the Kristallnacht pogrom when the synagogue was destroyed, and many of the Jewish men were arrested and briefly sent to concentration camps. During the night of February 11-12, 1940 the Jews who remained in Szczecin were deported together with other Pomeranian Jews to Belzyce, Glusk, and Piaski. From these locations a number of Jews were deported to other areas, while those who remained were killed in Belzyce on October 28, 1942.

POSTWAR

Szczecin became part of Poland after World War II, at which point a number of Jews from Poland settled in the city. A new community was organized, and by 1959 it counted 1,050 members. In 1962 two Jewish cooperatives were active, as well as a school and a prayer house. However, the majority of Szczecin's Jews left after the Six Day War in June 1967.

The Jewish cemetery was closed in 1962. During the 1980s the city authorities made the decision to create a park where the cemetery was located; bodies that had been buried in the past 20 years were exhumed and moved to the Jewish section of the municipal cemetery, while the other gravestones were removed. A monument was established in the park commemorating the Jewish cemetery.

In the year 2000 there were approximately 140 Jews living in Szczecin, most of whom were elderly.

Torgelow

A municipality in the Vorpommern-Greifswald district in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany.

Torgelow was mentioned for the first time in 1281 when the Brandenburg Margrave Otto IV signed a document at the Castle Torgelow. At the beginning of the 18th century, Torgelow became well-known when iron was found in the area; thereupon King Frederick II (Prussia) issued the founding document for the establishment of an iron and steel plant in 1753 and Torgelow developed into an industrial village.

Not much is known about Torgelow's Jewish history. However, it is documented that 21 Jews lived in Torgelow in 1910 and 14 (constituting 0.2% of total population) in 1925. They joined the community in Ueckermuende, which was approximately 12 km away from the village. A statute of the Ueckermuende Jewish community (1860) indicated that several small villages in the region, such as Torgelow, Altwarp, Neuwarp, and Eggesin, were affiliated with the synagogue district. According to several sources, a synagogue existed in Torgelow at least in the 1930s. No Jewish cemetery has been documented.

In 1933, nine Jews resided in the town. Among them was the businessman and clothier Julius Gronemann, who participated in the volunteer fire brigade and served as its secretary until the Nazis' assumption of power. Gronemann ran a textile store at 1 Wilhelmstrasse. Later, under the Nazi rulers’ pressure, he leased his shop to his former employee Wilhelm Koerner, member of the NSDAP, in 1934. As in many German towns and cities, the Nazis' anti-Jewish boycott was also implemented in Torgelow in April 1933. A former female employer of Julius Gronemann wrote to his great-grandson about the harassments at 1 Wilhelmstrasse: "… Nazi stormtroopers stood in front of the shop telling the customers … that the shopkeeper was Jewish and told them to buy at an Aryan shop. Although some of the customers turned on their heels, the majority weren’t put off and said they had been buying at Mr. Gronemann’s shop for years and they wouldn’t dream of shunning it. It was a very hard time for the old man so he decided to sell his shop by the end of 1933. Unfortunately I don’t know if it was an ordinary sale or already a kind of expropriation."

On Pogrom Night on November 9, 1938, the synagogue was burnt, as documented by the historian Wolfgang Wilhelmus. A day later, on November 10th, NS officials reported that the windows of a Jewish-owned shop had been smashed. During the entire Nazi era, Torgelow's few Jews were harassed, persecuted and forced to leave for other German cities. Some emigrated to Palestine, Belgium, South America and Shanghai. Julius Gronemann moved to Stettin, from where he was deported. On his last postcard to his children he wrote: "We'll be deported to Poland and we know our destiny." At least four local Jews were murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau and apparently in other Nazi concentration camps in the eastern Europe.

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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.

Neubrandenburg

A city and capital of the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte district in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

First Jewish presence: early 1400s; peak Jewish population: 100 in 1900; Jewish population in 1933: 34

Neubrandenburg’s medieval Jewish community was expelled from the town in 1492. Jews tried to return to Neubrandenburg in the early 1700s, but to no avail. Finally, in 1800, the village elders allowed Jews to settle permanently in the town, on condition that they pay a head tax for each Jew; the tax was levied on every individual as well as on his/her belongings. It was not until 1860 that local Jews were permitted to establish an official community, build a synagogue and consecrate a cemetery. The community’s first synagogue was small, but a larger house of worship was built in 1876 and inaugurated in 1877. Neubrandenburg Jews also founded and maintained a school. Beginning in 1937, when anti-Semitism became rampant in Neubrandenburg, Jews started to leave the town in large numbers, so that only 15 Jews lived there by 1938. On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), the synagogue was ransacked and set on fire; the arch above the entrance to the cemetery was also torched. A memorial plaque was unveiled at the synagogue site in 1988; as of this writing, the municipality is considering a more elaborate memorial.

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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.

Stralsund

A city in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany.

First Jewish presence: mid 1400s; peak Jewish population: 172 in 1797; Jewish population in 1933: 160

The city of Stralsund, founded in the mid-1200s, quickly developed into the most prosperous city in northern Germany. Although Jews were allowed to conduct business in Stralsund, they were forbidden to live in the city. By the mid-1400s, however, Jews had been granted permission to live in Stralsund, albeit in ghettos; this medieval community lived on the Judengasse (“Jews’ alley”), where they consecrated a prayer room. As was the case in towns all over Germany, the Jewish community was expelled from Stralsund in 1492.

In 1757, the modern Jewish community was established, numbering 35 Jews in 1766 and 119 in 1784. Thirty years later, in 1786/87, a newly-built, beautiful synagogue consisting of 200 seats was dedicated in the backyard at 69 Langenstrasse. It was the very first synagogue in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. Attached to the synagogue was a mikvah (ritual bath). In 1913, the synagogue was completely rebuilt. At its inauguration on September 16, 1913, Stralsund's mayor Ernst August Friedrich Gronow addressed his greetings to the Jewish community, "… that our Jewish fellow citizens may live with their Christian fellow citizens in peace and harmony in this city as before."

Stralsund Jews initially buried their dead outside the city. In 1776, the Christian banker Joachim Ulrich von Giese provided a place for the funeral of a Jewish girl, the daughter of the family Hertz, on the grounds of his estate (Gut Niederhof). This resulted in the development of a small Jewish cemetery. In 1850, a new Jewish cemetery was laid out on Greifswalder Chaussee, which was enlarged in 1912.
The Judengesetz (Jews' law) of 1847 for the Kingdom of Prussia eased the general living conditions of the Jews in Stralsund and led to an increase of their population (169 Jews in 1887). The wealthier Jews resided in neighborhoods that were also favored by rich Christian merchant families. However, the majority of Stralsund Jews lived in poverty. Of particular importance for the city was the settlement of the Jewish merchants Leonhard Tietz and Adolf Wertheim. The latter opened in 1852 the first manufactory and millinery store on Wasserstrasse, the future head office of the Wertheim Group. Leonhard Tietz established a store at 31 Ossenreyerstrasse in 1879.

In 1932/33, approximately 160 Jews lived in Stralsund. Twenty Jewish children received religious instruction. Simon Lemke served as preacher and chazzan (cantor). The chevra kadisha (burial society), founded in 1921, was still active as well as the youth group Berthold Auerbach. Furthermore, branches of the nationwide Jewish organizations Central-Verein (Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith) and Reichsbund Juedischer Frontsoldaten (Reich Federation of Jewish Front Soldiers) were operating in Stralsund in the 1930s. Jews from Ruegen (16 Jews), Barth (12), Grimmen (8), Tribsees (3), Richtenberg (3), Franzburg (5), and Dammgarten (1) were affiliated with the Stralsund Jewish community.
In the 1920s, Stralsund Jews were not particularly affected by the Nazis' anti-Semitic agitation.

from 1933 onwards: in order to implement the anti-Jewish boycott, Nazis placed guards in front of Jewish-owned stores to prevent by force customers entering. A few days later, the town council made the following decision: "The municipality has to halt immediately all business connections with … Jewish traders … The city government has to ensure that no further ritual slaughtering takes place…" Around 1934, while Heinz Cohn and Luise Genzen, a Christian woman, were celebrating their wedding, SA men came to their house at 2 Frankenstrasse, interrupted the festivity and took Cohn into protective custody. The same happened to David Mandelbaum, who was also married to a non-Jewish woman. A foundation founded by the merchant Moses Lazarus Israel to provide scholarships to young men was forcibly merged, by the mayor's decision on November 7, 1939, with a Nazi-related foundation which explicitly excluded Jews. Between 1933 and 1938, almost one-third of the Jewish population left Stralsund. They moved to other German cities or emigrated to different European or overseas countries. In October 1938, approximately 22 Jews of Polish nationality were expelled from Stralsund and transported to Poland.

On Pogrom Night on November 9, 1938, Jewish-owned businesses were looted and windows smashed. At 5 am on November 10, 1938, the synagogue was damaged and set on fire. It did not completely burn down; it was subsequently misused as a classroom and as storage by a local emergency service. Approximately 30 Jewish men were temporarily arrested and twenty of them taken to the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen. A day later, in the evening of November 11, Nazis organized an anti-Semitic demonstration at Alter Markt. In 1944, the former synagogue building was destroyed during an air raid and later torn down (1950). Most of the remaining Jews were deported to Lublin in February 1940. In early 1944, more local Jews were deported from Stralsund, this time to Auschwitz via Stettin. At least 60 Stralsund Jews perished in the Shoah.

After the war, several survivors returned to the city. They intended to found a new Jewish community. However, this attempt was doomed to fail due to their small numbers. In 1955, the Jewish cemetery on Greifswalder Chaussee was declared a historical site. From 1988 until 2009, several memorial plaques and stones were unveiled in Stralsund to commemorate the former Jewish community.

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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.