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The Jewish Community of Szczecin

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.

Place Type:
City
ID Number:
175999
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Rabbi Wolf Gold (Hebrew: זאב גולד, Ze'ev Gold, born Zev Krawczynski in 1889, died 8 April 1956) was a rabbi, Jewish activist, and one of the signatories of the Israeli declaration of independence.
Born in Stettin, Germany (today Szczecin in Poland) he was a descendant on his father's side from at least eight generations of rabbis. Graduate of the Mir yeshiva .From there Gold moved on to study in Lida at Yeshiva Torah Vo'Da'as of Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Reines where Torah was combined with secular studies. Gold was ordained as a Rabbi at the age of 17 by Rabbi Eliezer Rabinowitz of Minsk, and succeeded his father-in-law Rabbi Moshe Reichler, as rabbi in Juteka.
At the age of 18 he moved to the USA where he served as rabbi in several communities including South Chicago, Scranton, Pennsylvania (until 1912), Congregation Beth Jacob Ohev Sholom in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (1912–1919), San Francisco (until 1924) and Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Borough Park, Brooklyn (1928-1935).
He was a pioneer in establishing Orthodox Judaism in the United States. He founded the Williamsburg Talmud Torah and Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in 1917. He started the Beth Moshe hospital and an orphanage in Brooklyn and also founded a Hebrew teachers training college in San Francisco.
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He was a member of the Jewish Agency Executive, heading the Department for Jerusalem Development.
He served as Vice-President of the Provisional State Council and went on to sign the Israeli declaration of independence in 1948.[8] He served on the founding committee of Bar-Ilan University.
On 8 April 1956, Rabbi Gold died in Jerusalem.
Artist

He was born into an Orthodox family in Stettin, and studied cabinet-making in Berlin and Karlsruhe and painting in Munich. In 1903 he went to Paris, where he was greatly influenced by Matisse with whom he worked. In World War I, Levy was in the German army, gaining an Iron Cross. Between the wars he lived in Berlin but with the accession to power of the Nazis he went to Paris and then to Florence. He was picked up by the Gestapo in Florence in 1943 and killed either in Auschwitz or Dachau. His lyrical painting remained under the influence of Matisse and Cezanne.
Author

Born in Stettin, he was raised in Berlin in a poor environment. He qualified as a doctor and specialized in psychiatry. His first work was published in 1903 but it was more than a decade before he was recognized as an outstanding German poet and novelist. His best-known novel was Berlin-Alexanderplatz (1929). When the Nazis came to power he fled to France and after the fall of France in 1940 escaped with difficulty to the United States. Doeblin embraced Catholicism and wrote books attacking Jewish assimilationists and Zionists. After the War he returned to Germany, editing a literary periodical in Mainz and publishing his trilogy November 1918.
STETTIN, STETTINER

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 birth place, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives. The family name Stettin is derived from the German name of the north western Polish city of Szezcin (Stettin) in Pomerania, Poland, where Jews lived since the 13th century. The suffix "-er" in the name Stettiner is the Yiddish/German indicating "from" Stettin.

As a Jewish family name, Stettin is recorded in 1698 when Bernhard Philipp Stettin went to the Leipzig fair in Germany.

A distinguished bearer of the name Stettiner was the German art historian Richard Stettiner (1865-1929).
Pupils of "Giborei Ha-Ghettaot" Hebrew School at May Day demonstration
Stettin, Poland, 1947 (?)
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Pesah and Hannah Zeidenberg, Israel)
Cover for Hallot for Shabbat of the Marx Family,
Stettin, Germany 1924
The hand embroidered was commissioned for Greta and Nathan Marx by Nathan's father.
It is still in use in the family, and kept by Prof. Yoram Beyth, grandson of Greta and Nathan Marx.
Photo: Yaakov Brill, Beit Hatfutsot.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Yoram Beyth, Israel)
Pupils working at the garden of "Giborei Ha-Ghettaot" Hebrew School,
Stettin, Poland, 1947?
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, Courtesy of Pesah and Hannah Zeidenberg, Israel)
Hannukah Celebration at "Giborei Ha-Ghettaot" Hebrew School, Stettin, Poland, 1947?
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, Courtesy of Pesah and Hannah Zeidenberg, Israel)
Hannukah Celebration at "Giborei Ha-Ghettaot"
Hebrew School, Stettin, Poland, 1947?
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, Courtesy of Pesah and Hannah Zeidenberg, Israel)
Family Huppa (Canopy) of the Marx Family,
Stettin, Germany 1924
The Huppa was hand embroidered, commissioned for the wedding of Greta and Nathan Marx by Nathan's father.
It is still in use in the family, and after each wedding the names of bride and groom with wedding date are added to the Huppa. It is kept by Prof. Yoram Beyth, grandson of Greta and Nathan Marx.
Photo: Yaakov Brill, Beit Hatfutsot.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Yoram Beyth, Israel)
Announcement in Yiddish about Hebrew courses given to children of all ages beginning on August 14, 1947.
Stettin, Poland, 1947.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Pesah and Hannah Zeidenberg, Israel)
Announcing a Hannukah play at "Giborei Ha-Ghettaot" Hebrew School,
Stettin, Poland, 1947 (?)
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Pesah and Hannah Zeidenberg, Israel)
The Marx family celebrating the Bar Mitzva
of their son Hans, Stettin, Germany, October 13, 1923
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Ruth Muski- Marx, Israel).
Artist

He was born into an Orthodox family in Stettin, and studied cabinet-making in Berlin and Karlsruhe and painting in Munich. In 1903 he went to Paris, where he was greatly influenced by Matisse with whom he worked. In World War I, Levy was in the German army, gaining an Iron Cross. Between the wars he lived in Berlin but with the accession to power of the Nazis he went to Paris and then to Florence. He was picked up by the Gestapo in Florence in 1943 and killed either in Auschwitz or Dachau. His lyrical painting remained under the influence of Matisse and Cezanne.
Author

Born in Stettin, he was raised in Berlin in a poor environment. He qualified as a doctor and specialized in psychiatry. His first work was published in 1903 but it was more than a decade before he was recognized as an outstanding German poet and novelist. His best-known novel was Berlin-Alexanderplatz (1929). When the Nazis came to power he fled to France and after the fall of France in 1940 escaped with difficulty to the United States. Doeblin embraced Catholicism and wrote books attacking Jewish assimilationists and Zionists. After the War he returned to Germany, editing a literary periodical in Mainz and publishing his trilogy November 1918.
Rabbi Wolf Gold (Hebrew: זאב גולד, Ze'ev Gold, born Zev Krawczynski in 1889, died 8 April 1956) was a rabbi, Jewish activist, and one of the signatories of the Israeli declaration of independence.
Born in Stettin, Germany (today Szczecin in Poland) he was a descendant on his father's side from at least eight generations of rabbis. Graduate of the Mir yeshiva .From there Gold moved on to study in Lida at Yeshiva Torah Vo'Da'as of Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Reines where Torah was combined with secular studies. Gold was ordained as a Rabbi at the age of 17 by Rabbi Eliezer Rabinowitz of Minsk, and succeeded his father-in-law Rabbi Moshe Reichler, as rabbi in Juteka.
At the age of 18 he moved to the USA where he served as rabbi in several communities including South Chicago, Scranton, Pennsylvania (until 1912), Congregation Beth Jacob Ohev Sholom in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (1912–1919), San Francisco (until 1924) and Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Borough Park, Brooklyn (1928-1935).
He was a pioneer in establishing Orthodox Judaism in the United States. He founded the Williamsburg Talmud Torah and Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in 1917. He started the Beth Moshe hospital and an orphanage in Brooklyn and also founded a Hebrew teachers training college in San Francisco.
In 1935 he emigrated to Palestine, where he became the head of the Department of Torah Education and Culture in the Diaspora in which capacity he was instrumental in establishing new educational institutions within the Diaspora, devoting himself particularly to the educational needs of North African Jewry.
During World War II he was involved in the widespread Zionist opposition to the British White Paper of 1939, and worked to rescue European Jewry from the Holocaust. In 1943 he traveled to the United States where he participated as a speaker on behalf of European Jewry at the Rabbis' march in Washington.
He was a member of the Jewish Agency Executive, heading the Department for Jerusalem Development.
He served as Vice-President of the Provisional State Council and went on to sign the Israeli declaration of independence in 1948.[8] He served on the founding committee of Bar-Ilan University.
On 8 April 1956, Rabbi Gold died in Jerusalem.

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.

Gartz

A town in the Uckermark district in Brandenburg, Germany, about 20 km south of Szczecin in Poland (formerly Stettin, in Germany).

First Jewish presence: 15th century; peak Jewish population: 122 in 1892; Jewish population in 1933: 26

Jewish presence in Gartz/Oder was first documented in the late 15th century. In December 1481, the Pomeranian Duke Bogislaw X granted five Jews a six-year permit to settle in Gartz. At that time, Gartz's Jews apparently had to live in a designated part of town. Despite the residence permit, the duke expelled all Jews from his territory in 1492/93.

Modern Jewish settlement began in Gartz after 1812. Two Jews were recorded in 1816. Their number grew steadily from 44 in 1843 to 114 individuals in 1861 and reached its peak at 122 in 1892.

Gartz's first Jewish community was formed around 1845. It was initially affiliated with the Jewish congregation in Stettin. Then in the mid-1850s, due to a growing number of members, the Jews of Gartz were able to establish an independent synagogue community. First they held their services in a prayer room. Later in 1862 they opened a synagogue. It was located in the annex of a house on Königstrasse (today: 178 Pommernstrasse). According to an eyewitness, the interior of the new synagogue was very opulent.

The Jewish community operated a cemetery on a hill near Heinrichshofer Strasse. The cemetery was enlarged on two occasions. Jews buried their dead there from the mid or late 19th century until 1935. Hermann Nase, a contemporary witness, recalls the Jewish community operating a mikvah called "Judenschwemme" not far from the former Oder-Baths.

As Sammy (Shmuel) Gronemann (1875-1952) remembered, the town had a "hotel" for poor Jews. It was run by his grandparents. They offered room and board free of charge in a shed if their guest's "… tallit (prayer shawl) and tefilin were neat and orderly."

Many Jewish families left Gartz in the 1920s. By 1930, only six shops owned by Jews were left. Generally, Gartz's Jews were small or medium-sized businessmen, mainly textile traders, grocers and tobacconists.

In 1933, when the National Socialists came to power, the town had only 26 Jews. However, a Jewish women's association was still active in 1932/33. The women members conducted social work. Their organization was led by Martha Hirschfeld, the club's president. The Jewish community provided religious instructions to Jewish children. In 1932/33, three pupils attended classes. Around 1935, a few Jews left the town, among them Ilse Hirschfeld, who moved to Brazil.

During Pogrom Night on November 9/10, 1938, Nazis burnt down the synagogue. The fire destroyed the magnificent synagogue interior, including its red carpets and golden candelabra. Eyewitnesses recalled that the fire brigade protected only the neighboring buildings from flying sparks, but did not do anything to save the synagogue. Nazis also damaged the Jewish cemetery. All Jewish inhabitants subsequently left the town within a few days.

At least 28 local Jews perished in the Shoah. Among them were Georg and Hertha Moses and their son Gerd, who had once lived opposite Gartz's bakery. In 1942, the family was deported to the concentration camp in Auschwitz and murdered there in January 1943. Alfred and Frieda Isaac, who had their home on Brückenstrasse, were killed in Auschwitz on 26 February 1943.

A memorial plaque was established near the former synagogue on November 9, 2013. Today a dry cleaner occupies the site of Gratz's former synagogue. The Jewish cemetery, which had been neglected for many years, has been maintained since 1988. Roughly 25 tombstones are still standing today.

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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.

Prenzlau

A town and the capital of the Uckermark district in Brandenburg, Germany.

First Jewish presence: 1309; peak Jewish population: 423 in 1890; Jewish population in 1933: 111

With the exception of the 16th century, during which Jews were banned from the Brandenburg region, Jews maintained a continuous presence in Prenzlau. A functioning community was established there during the 18th century. In 1716, a cemetery was consecrated near the water tower (today’s city park); enlarged on several occasions, the cemetery was moved to Am Suessen Grund (serving Prenzlau and the Jewish communities of Bruessow und Strasburg) in 1890. In 1752, the Jews of Prenzlau established a synagogue in a timber-frame building at Wasserpforte; accordingly, the street was named Tempelstrasse (“temple street”). Eighty years later, the structure was replaced by a simple but solid building with arched front windows. We also know that, in 1825, the rabbi started giving private lectures in his home on Prinzenstrasse; he later established a gender-separated school with three classes. At its peak, Prenzlau was Germany’s third largest community, after Berlin and Frankfurt. The community ran many cultural and religious organizations; for example, a chevra kadisha, a sisterhood and a literature club. Despite the arrival of many Eastern European Jews during the early 20th century, Prenzlau’s population declined as more Jews chose to move to Berlin. As early as 1935, windows in seven Jewish stores were smashed. On November 10, 1938, the synagogue was burned down; homes and stores were vandalized, as was the cemetery; many men were arrested and sent to Sachsenhausen Nazi concentration camp. The Nazis appropriated Jewish-owned businesses and forced the congregation to sell its property to pay for the removal of the synagogue ruins. Approximately 46 Prenzlau Jews perished in the Nazi concentration and death camps; three survived the war. A memorial plaque was unveiled in the town in 1988, and in 2000 the old cemetery was declared a memorial 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.

Schwedt

A town in the Uckermark district in northeastern Brandenburg, Germany. 

First Jewish presence: 1670; peak Jewish population: 206 in 1890; Jewish population in 1933: 205

The first Jewish presence in Schwedt dates to 1672 when Bendix (Benedict) Levi, a protected Jew (Schutzjude), moved from Oderberg to Schwedt. Around that time, a cemetery on Helbigstrasse was established where Angermuende Jews buried their dead as well. Several Jewish families living in nearby Vierraden were affiliated with Schwedt and operated a cemetery on Am Schuetzenhain / Welsestrand from 1860.
During the 18th century the Jewish community in Schwedt consisted of three families, since the Prussian Kings generally permitted only a few Jews to settle in small Brandenburg towns. Those families had constantly to fight for residency and trade permits. Only in 1812, when the Edict of Emancipation granted Jews freedom of settlement and trade, did their life become easier. Subsequently, more Jews moved to Schwedt and the Jewish population grew to its peak of 206 in 1890. In the 17th century, most Schwedt Jews were horse dealers. Later, local Jews played an important role in the town's tobacco industry. Jacob Isaak Woellmier, a wealthy member of the Jewish community, rendered several outstanding donations to the Jewish congregation. The prayer book of 1843 commemorates him and his wife: "... the memory of the late … Jacob Woellmier and his wife ... will be celebrated at the anniversaries of their death."
In September 1862, the opening of a new synagogue at 1 Harlanstrasse was festively celebrated. The style of the synagogue consisted of high, round, arched windows and a three-sided gallery. The new building replaced the former one on Judenstrasse (later: Mittelstrasse) which had been purchased in 1790 and rebuilt in 1840. A mikvah (ritual bath) was set up next to the new place of worship. A garden pavilion nearby was turned into an apartment house of the shamash, the synagogue beadle. In the 1850s, a burial society, Chevra Kadisha, was founded. A Jewish elementary school was probably established in the first half of the 19th century.
Schwedt’s first rabbi, Natan Hirsch Kuttner, was employed in 1841. Since he was also a qualified teacher, he provided religious instruction to Jewish schoolchildren. When Kuttner tried to introduce reform-oriented changes, quarrels erupted between Kuttner's supporters and opponents. For many years Rabbi Kuttner struggled for recognition within his community; he even had to obtain a court order to get his salary. Even so, the building of the new synagogue created a fresh sense of togetherness among the community members and the struggles slowly ceased. Rabbi Kuttner served the community until his retirement in 1895. He was succeeded by Rabbi Dr. Sandler and from 1901 until 1907 by Rabbi Holzer.
Due to an increase in anti-Semitism from the late 19th century, the Jewish community joined the Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeindebund in 1894 and the Verein zur Abwehr des Antisemitismus in 1901 in order to fight and resist antisemitic attacks. In 1933, 111 Jews resided in Schwedt. Dr. S. Jampel was the community's rabbi at that time. B. Meisel served as chazzan (cantor) and shochet (kosher butcher). A Jewish women's association was active in the early 1930s under the leadership of Sophie Seelig. The group consisted of 40 members supporting the poor. In 1932/33, 17 Jewish children received religious instruction. President Hugo Seelig headed the Reuchlin-lodge, which had been formed within the Independent Order of Bnai Brith in 1922.
Anti-Semitism strongly increased after 1933. The boycott of Jewish businesses was fervently applied in Schwedt. Jewish business owners were forced to display anti-Jewish placards at their shops. On Pogrom Night in November 1938, Nazi members broke the doors to the synagogue and set it on fire. The fire was extinguished to protect a nearby petrol station. The synagogue's interior was destroyed. Jewish shops were wrecked and looted. Jewish homes were vandalized and Jewish men were arrested.
By May 1939, 27 Jews still lived in Schwedt. Several managed to emigrate to England, USA, South America, Australia, and Shanghai. Some moved to Berlin or Stettin. Most of the remaining Jews and those who had left to other German cities were deported and perished in Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Treblinka, and other camps in the East around 1942/43. Schwedt's last Jew, the merchant Hugo Meinhardt (1872-1942) passed away in December 1942 and was buried in the local Jewish cemetery. At least 70 Schwedt Jews lost their life in the Shoah.
In 1988, memorial plaques were established at the former synagogue and the cemetery. After 2000, the Jewish cemetery was desecrated several times. However, broken headstones were restored in the summer of 2008. In January 1992, Mittelstrasse was renamed to its original name, Judenstrasse. In 2005, the mikvah was restored by Schwedt’s municipality..

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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.

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.

Löcknitz 

A village in the Vorpommern-Greifswald district, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany,

First Jewish presence: 19th century; peak Jewish population: 37 in 1925; Jewish population in 1933: unknown

Records suggest that a Jewish family first settled in Loecknitz in the early 19th century. The community, members of which were mainly craftsmen and merchants, never experienced considerable growth. In Loecknitz, Jews established a prayer room on the upper floor of a commercial building, where the rabbi from Pasewalk conducted services three times a year. Local Jews were affiliated with the community in Pasewalk, and it was at the cemetery there that they buried their dead. Beginning in April 1933, Nazis and their supporters often hung boycott posters on Jewish-owned shops. Later, on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), SA and SS men vandalized the prayer room, smashing windows and burning—this was done outside the building—furniture, books and ritual objects. A Jewish family was assaulted that night. After the beginning of World War II, Jews were sent to a camp located between Prenzlau and Pasewalk. In February 1940, most local Jews were deported to the Nazi concentration and extermination camps in Eastern Europe. At least 18 Loecknitz Jews were murdered in the Shoah. In 1988, a memorial stele was unveiled at the site of the former prayer room. The stele was desecrated several times during 2003, as a result of which it was replaced, in 2010, with a commemorative stone; the stone, too, was vandalized in 2011.

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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.

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.

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The Jewish Community of Szczecin

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.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Stralsund
Pasewalk
Loecknitz
Anklam
Schwedt
Prenzlau
Gartz
Torgelow

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.

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.

Löcknitz 

A village in the Vorpommern-Greifswald district, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany,

First Jewish presence: 19th century; peak Jewish population: 37 in 1925; Jewish population in 1933: unknown

Records suggest that a Jewish family first settled in Loecknitz in the early 19th century. The community, members of which were mainly craftsmen and merchants, never experienced considerable growth. In Loecknitz, Jews established a prayer room on the upper floor of a commercial building, where the rabbi from Pasewalk conducted services three times a year. Local Jews were affiliated with the community in Pasewalk, and it was at the cemetery there that they buried their dead. Beginning in April 1933, Nazis and their supporters often hung boycott posters on Jewish-owned shops. Later, on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), SA and SS men vandalized the prayer room, smashing windows and burning—this was done outside the building—furniture, books and ritual objects. A Jewish family was assaulted that night. After the beginning of World War II, Jews were sent to a camp located between Prenzlau and Pasewalk. In February 1940, most local Jews were deported to the Nazi concentration and extermination camps in Eastern Europe. At least 18 Loecknitz Jews were murdered in the Shoah. In 1988, a memorial stele was unveiled at the site of the former prayer room. The stele was desecrated several times during 2003, as a result of which it was replaced, in 2010, with a commemorative stone; the stone, too, was vandalized in 2011.

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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.

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.

Schwedt

A town in the Uckermark district in northeastern Brandenburg, Germany. 

First Jewish presence: 1670; peak Jewish population: 206 in 1890; Jewish population in 1933: 205

The first Jewish presence in Schwedt dates to 1672 when Bendix (Benedict) Levi, a protected Jew (Schutzjude), moved from Oderberg to Schwedt. Around that time, a cemetery on Helbigstrasse was established where Angermuende Jews buried their dead as well. Several Jewish families living in nearby Vierraden were affiliated with Schwedt and operated a cemetery on Am Schuetzenhain / Welsestrand from 1860.
During the 18th century the Jewish community in Schwedt consisted of three families, since the Prussian Kings generally permitted only a few Jews to settle in small Brandenburg towns. Those families had constantly to fight for residency and trade permits. Only in 1812, when the Edict of Emancipation granted Jews freedom of settlement and trade, did their life become easier. Subsequently, more Jews moved to Schwedt and the Jewish population grew to its peak of 206 in 1890. In the 17th century, most Schwedt Jews were horse dealers. Later, local Jews played an important role in the town's tobacco industry. Jacob Isaak Woellmier, a wealthy member of the Jewish community, rendered several outstanding donations to the Jewish congregation. The prayer book of 1843 commemorates him and his wife: "... the memory of the late … Jacob Woellmier and his wife ... will be celebrated at the anniversaries of their death."
In September 1862, the opening of a new synagogue at 1 Harlanstrasse was festively celebrated. The style of the synagogue consisted of high, round, arched windows and a three-sided gallery. The new building replaced the former one on Judenstrasse (later: Mittelstrasse) which had been purchased in 1790 and rebuilt in 1840. A mikvah (ritual bath) was set up next to the new place of worship. A garden pavilion nearby was turned into an apartment house of the shamash, the synagogue beadle. In the 1850s, a burial society, Chevra Kadisha, was founded. A Jewish elementary school was probably established in the first half of the 19th century.
Schwedt’s first rabbi, Natan Hirsch Kuttner, was employed in 1841. Since he was also a qualified teacher, he provided religious instruction to Jewish schoolchildren. When Kuttner tried to introduce reform-oriented changes, quarrels erupted between Kuttner's supporters and opponents. For many years Rabbi Kuttner struggled for recognition within his community; he even had to obtain a court order to get his salary. Even so, the building of the new synagogue created a fresh sense of togetherness among the community members and the struggles slowly ceased. Rabbi Kuttner served the community until his retirement in 1895. He was succeeded by Rabbi Dr. Sandler and from 1901 until 1907 by Rabbi Holzer.
Due to an increase in anti-Semitism from the late 19th century, the Jewish community joined the Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeindebund in 1894 and the Verein zur Abwehr des Antisemitismus in 1901 in order to fight and resist antisemitic attacks. In 1933, 111 Jews resided in Schwedt. Dr. S. Jampel was the community's rabbi at that time. B. Meisel served as chazzan (cantor) and shochet (kosher butcher). A Jewish women's association was active in the early 1930s under the leadership of Sophie Seelig. The group consisted of 40 members supporting the poor. In 1932/33, 17 Jewish children received religious instruction. President Hugo Seelig headed the Reuchlin-lodge, which had been formed within the Independent Order of Bnai Brith in 1922.
Anti-Semitism strongly increased after 1933. The boycott of Jewish businesses was fervently applied in Schwedt. Jewish business owners were forced to display anti-Jewish placards at their shops. On Pogrom Night in November 1938, Nazi members broke the doors to the synagogue and set it on fire. The fire was extinguished to protect a nearby petrol station. The synagogue's interior was destroyed. Jewish shops were wrecked and looted. Jewish homes were vandalized and Jewish men were arrested.
By May 1939, 27 Jews still lived in Schwedt. Several managed to emigrate to England, USA, South America, Australia, and Shanghai. Some moved to Berlin or Stettin. Most of the remaining Jews and those who had left to other German cities were deported and perished in Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Treblinka, and other camps in the East around 1942/43. Schwedt's last Jew, the merchant Hugo Meinhardt (1872-1942) passed away in December 1942 and was buried in the local Jewish cemetery. At least 70 Schwedt Jews lost their life in the Shoah.
In 1988, memorial plaques were established at the former synagogue and the cemetery. After 2000, the Jewish cemetery was desecrated several times. However, broken headstones were restored in the summer of 2008. In January 1992, Mittelstrasse was renamed to its original name, Judenstrasse. In 2005, the mikvah was restored by Schwedt’s municipality..

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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.

Prenzlau

A town and the capital of the Uckermark district in Brandenburg, Germany.

First Jewish presence: 1309; peak Jewish population: 423 in 1890; Jewish population in 1933: 111

With the exception of the 16th century, during which Jews were banned from the Brandenburg region, Jews maintained a continuous presence in Prenzlau. A functioning community was established there during the 18th century. In 1716, a cemetery was consecrated near the water tower (today’s city park); enlarged on several occasions, the cemetery was moved to Am Suessen Grund (serving Prenzlau and the Jewish communities of Bruessow und Strasburg) in 1890. In 1752, the Jews of Prenzlau established a synagogue in a timber-frame building at Wasserpforte; accordingly, the street was named Tempelstrasse (“temple street”). Eighty years later, the structure was replaced by a simple but solid building with arched front windows. We also know that, in 1825, the rabbi started giving private lectures in his home on Prinzenstrasse; he later established a gender-separated school with three classes. At its peak, Prenzlau was Germany’s third largest community, after Berlin and Frankfurt. The community ran many cultural and religious organizations; for example, a chevra kadisha, a sisterhood and a literature club. Despite the arrival of many Eastern European Jews during the early 20th century, Prenzlau’s population declined as more Jews chose to move to Berlin. As early as 1935, windows in seven Jewish stores were smashed. On November 10, 1938, the synagogue was burned down; homes and stores were vandalized, as was the cemetery; many men were arrested and sent to Sachsenhausen Nazi concentration camp. The Nazis appropriated Jewish-owned businesses and forced the congregation to sell its property to pay for the removal of the synagogue ruins. Approximately 46 Prenzlau Jews perished in the Nazi concentration and death camps; three survived the war. A memorial plaque was unveiled in the town in 1988, and in 2000 the old cemetery was declared a memorial 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.

Gartz

A town in the Uckermark district in Brandenburg, Germany, about 20 km south of Szczecin in Poland (formerly Stettin, in Germany).

First Jewish presence: 15th century; peak Jewish population: 122 in 1892; Jewish population in 1933: 26

Jewish presence in Gartz/Oder was first documented in the late 15th century. In December 1481, the Pomeranian Duke Bogislaw X granted five Jews a six-year permit to settle in Gartz. At that time, Gartz's Jews apparently had to live in a designated part of town. Despite the residence permit, the duke expelled all Jews from his territory in 1492/93.

Modern Jewish settlement began in Gartz after 1812. Two Jews were recorded in 1816. Their number grew steadily from 44 in 1843 to 114 individuals in 1861 and reached its peak at 122 in 1892.

Gartz's first Jewish community was formed around 1845. It was initially affiliated with the Jewish congregation in Stettin. Then in the mid-1850s, due to a growing number of members, the Jews of Gartz were able to establish an independent synagogue community. First they held their services in a prayer room. Later in 1862 they opened a synagogue. It was located in the annex of a house on Königstrasse (today: 178 Pommernstrasse). According to an eyewitness, the interior of the new synagogue was very opulent.

The Jewish community operated a cemetery on a hill near Heinrichshofer Strasse. The cemetery was enlarged on two occasions. Jews buried their dead there from the mid or late 19th century until 1935. Hermann Nase, a contemporary witness, recalls the Jewish community operating a mikvah called "Judenschwemme" not far from the former Oder-Baths.

As Sammy (Shmuel) Gronemann (1875-1952) remembered, the town had a "hotel" for poor Jews. It was run by his grandparents. They offered room and board free of charge in a shed if their guest's "… tallit (prayer shawl) and tefilin were neat and orderly."

Many Jewish families left Gartz in the 1920s. By 1930, only six shops owned by Jews were left. Generally, Gartz's Jews were small or medium-sized businessmen, mainly textile traders, grocers and tobacconists.

In 1933, when the National Socialists came to power, the town had only 26 Jews. However, a Jewish women's association was still active in 1932/33. The women members conducted social work. Their organization was led by Martha Hirschfeld, the club's president. The Jewish community provided religious instructions to Jewish children. In 1932/33, three pupils attended classes. Around 1935, a few Jews left the town, among them Ilse Hirschfeld, who moved to Brazil.

During Pogrom Night on November 9/10, 1938, Nazis burnt down the synagogue. The fire destroyed the magnificent synagogue interior, including its red carpets and golden candelabra. Eyewitnesses recalled that the fire brigade protected only the neighboring buildings from flying sparks, but did not do anything to save the synagogue. Nazis also damaged the Jewish cemetery. All Jewish inhabitants subsequently left the town within a few days.

At least 28 local Jews perished in the Shoah. Among them were Georg and Hertha Moses and their son Gerd, who had once lived opposite Gartz's bakery. In 1942, the family was deported to the concentration camp in Auschwitz and murdered there in January 1943. Alfred and Frieda Isaac, who had their home on Brückenstrasse, were killed in Auschwitz on 26 February 1943.

A memorial plaque was established near the former synagogue on November 9, 2013. Today a dry cleaner occupies the site of Gratz's former synagogue. The Jewish cemetery, which had been neglected for many years, has been maintained since 1988. Roughly 25 tombstones are still standing today.

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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.

Adolph STETTINER
(Rosa) Rosetta Stettiner
Barry Stettin
The Marx family celebrating the Bar Mitzva of their son Hans, Stettin, Germany, 1923
Announcing a Hannukah Play at the Hebrew School, Stettin, Poland 1947 (?)
Announcement in Yiddish about Hebrew Courses Stettin, Poland, 1947
Family Huppa (Canopy) of the Marx Family, Stettin, Germany 1924
Hannukah Celebration at a Hebrew School, Stettin, Poland, 1947?
Hannukah Celebration at a Hebrew School, Stettin, Poland, 1947?
Pupils working at the Garden of the Hebrew School, Stettin, 1947?
Cover for Hallot for Shabbat of the Marx Family, Stettin, Germany 1924
Jewish Pupils at May Day Demonstration, Stettin, Poland, 1947 (?)
The Marx family celebrating the Bar Mitzva
of their son Hans, Stettin, Germany, October 13, 1923
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Ruth Muski- Marx, Israel).
Announcing a Hannukah play at "Giborei Ha-Ghettaot" Hebrew School,
Stettin, Poland, 1947 (?)
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Pesah and Hannah Zeidenberg, Israel)
Announcement in Yiddish about Hebrew courses given to children of all ages beginning on August 14, 1947.
Stettin, Poland, 1947.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Pesah and Hannah Zeidenberg, Israel)
Family Huppa (Canopy) of the Marx Family,
Stettin, Germany 1924
The Huppa was hand embroidered, commissioned for the wedding of Greta and Nathan Marx by Nathan's father.
It is still in use in the family, and after each wedding the names of bride and groom with wedding date are added to the Huppa. It is kept by Prof. Yoram Beyth, grandson of Greta and Nathan Marx.
Photo: Yaakov Brill, Beit Hatfutsot.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Yoram Beyth, Israel)
Hannukah Celebration at "Giborei Ha-Ghettaot"
Hebrew School, Stettin, Poland, 1947?
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, Courtesy of Pesah and Hannah Zeidenberg, Israel)
Hannukah Celebration at "Giborei Ha-Ghettaot" Hebrew School, Stettin, Poland, 1947?
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, Courtesy of Pesah and Hannah Zeidenberg, Israel)
Pupils working at the garden of "Giborei Ha-Ghettaot" Hebrew School,
Stettin, Poland, 1947?
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, Courtesy of Pesah and Hannah Zeidenberg, Israel)
Cover for Hallot for Shabbat of the Marx Family,
Stettin, Germany 1924
The hand embroidered was commissioned for Greta and Nathan Marx by Nathan's father.
It is still in use in the family, and kept by Prof. Yoram Beyth, grandson of Greta and Nathan Marx.
Photo: Yaakov Brill, Beit Hatfutsot.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Yoram Beyth, Israel)
Pupils of "Giborei Ha-Ghettaot" Hebrew School at May Day demonstration
Stettin, Poland, 1947 (?)
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Pesah and Hannah Zeidenberg, Israel)
STETTIN
STETTIN, STETTINER

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 birth place, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives. The family name Stettin is derived from the German name of the north western Polish city of Szezcin (Stettin) in Pomerania, Poland, where Jews lived since the 13th century. The suffix "-er" in the name Stettiner is the Yiddish/German indicating "from" Stettin.

As a Jewish family name, Stettin is recorded in 1698 when Bernhard Philipp Stettin went to the Leipzig fair in Germany.

A distinguished bearer of the name Stettiner was the German art historian Richard Stettiner (1865-1929).
Doeblin, Alfred
Levy, Rudolf
Lechner, Frederick
Gold, Wolf ; Rabbi
Author

Born in Stettin, he was raised in Berlin in a poor environment. He qualified as a doctor and specialized in psychiatry. His first work was published in 1903 but it was more than a decade before he was recognized as an outstanding German poet and novelist. His best-known novel was Berlin-Alexanderplatz (1929). When the Nazis came to power he fled to France and after the fall of France in 1940 escaped with difficulty to the United States. Doeblin embraced Catholicism and wrote books attacking Jewish assimilationists and Zionists. After the War he returned to Germany, editing a literary periodical in Mainz and publishing his trilogy November 1918.
Artist

He was born into an Orthodox family in Stettin, and studied cabinet-making in Berlin and Karlsruhe and painting in Munich. In 1903 he went to Paris, where he was greatly influenced by Matisse with whom he worked. In World War I, Levy was in the German army, gaining an Iron Cross. Between the wars he lived in Berlin but with the accession to power of the Nazis he went to Paris and then to Florence. He was picked up by the Gestapo in Florence in 1943 and killed either in Auschwitz or Dachau. His lyrical painting remained under the influence of Matisse and Cezanne.
Rabbi Wolf Gold (Hebrew: זאב גולד, Ze'ev Gold, born Zev Krawczynski in 1889, died 8 April 1956) was a rabbi, Jewish activist, and one of the signatories of the Israeli declaration of independence.
Born in Stettin, Germany (today Szczecin in Poland) he was a descendant on his father's side from at least eight generations of rabbis. Graduate of the Mir yeshiva .From there Gold moved on to study in Lida at Yeshiva Torah Vo'Da'as of Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Reines where Torah was combined with secular studies. Gold was ordained as a Rabbi at the age of 17 by Rabbi Eliezer Rabinowitz of Minsk, and succeeded his father-in-law Rabbi Moshe Reichler, as rabbi in Juteka.
At the age of 18 he moved to the USA where he served as rabbi in several communities including South Chicago, Scranton, Pennsylvania (until 1912), Congregation Beth Jacob Ohev Sholom in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (1912–1919), San Francisco (until 1924) and Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Borough Park, Brooklyn (1928-1935).
He was a pioneer in establishing Orthodox Judaism in the United States. He founded the Williamsburg Talmud Torah and Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in 1917. He started the Beth Moshe hospital and an orphanage in Brooklyn and also founded a Hebrew teachers training college in San Francisco.
In 1935 he emigrated to Palestine, where he became the head of the Department of Torah Education and Culture in the Diaspora in which capacity he was instrumental in establishing new educational institutions within the Diaspora, devoting himself particularly to the educational needs of North African Jewry.
During World War II he was involved in the widespread Zionist opposition to the British White Paper of 1939, and worked to rescue European Jewry from the Holocaust. In 1943 he traveled to the United States where he participated as a speaker on behalf of European Jewry at the Rabbis' march in Washington.
He was a member of the Jewish Agency Executive, heading the Department for Jerusalem Development.
He served as Vice-President of the Provisional State Council and went on to sign the Israeli declaration of independence in 1948.[8] He served on the founding committee of Bar-Ilan University.
On 8 April 1956, Rabbi Gold died in Jerusalem.
Doeblin, Alfred
Levy, Rudolf
Lechner, Frederick
Gold, Wolf ; Rabbi
Author

Born in Stettin, he was raised in Berlin in a poor environment. He qualified as a doctor and specialized in psychiatry. His first work was published in 1903 but it was more than a decade before he was recognized as an outstanding German poet and novelist. His best-known novel was Berlin-Alexanderplatz (1929). When the Nazis came to power he fled to France and after the fall of France in 1940 escaped with difficulty to the United States. Doeblin embraced Catholicism and wrote books attacking Jewish assimilationists and Zionists. After the War he returned to Germany, editing a literary periodical in Mainz and publishing his trilogy November 1918.
Artist

He was born into an Orthodox family in Stettin, and studied cabinet-making in Berlin and Karlsruhe and painting in Munich. In 1903 he went to Paris, where he was greatly influenced by Matisse with whom he worked. In World War I, Levy was in the German army, gaining an Iron Cross. Between the wars he lived in Berlin but with the accession to power of the Nazis he went to Paris and then to Florence. He was picked up by the Gestapo in Florence in 1943 and killed either in Auschwitz or Dachau. His lyrical painting remained under the influence of Matisse and Cezanne.
Rabbi Wolf Gold (Hebrew: זאב גולד, Ze'ev Gold, born Zev Krawczynski in 1889, died 8 April 1956) was a rabbi, Jewish activist, and one of the signatories of the Israeli declaration of independence.
Born in Stettin, Germany (today Szczecin in Poland) he was a descendant on his father's side from at least eight generations of rabbis. Graduate of the Mir yeshiva .From there Gold moved on to study in Lida at Yeshiva Torah Vo'Da'as of Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Reines where Torah was combined with secular studies. Gold was ordained as a Rabbi at the age of 17 by Rabbi Eliezer Rabinowitz of Minsk, and succeeded his father-in-law Rabbi Moshe Reichler, as rabbi in Juteka.
At the age of 18 he moved to the USA where he served as rabbi in several communities including South Chicago, Scranton, Pennsylvania (until 1912), Congregation Beth Jacob Ohev Sholom in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (1912–1919), San Francisco (until 1924) and Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Borough Park, Brooklyn (1928-1935).
He was a pioneer in establishing Orthodox Judaism in the United States. He founded the Williamsburg Talmud Torah and Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in 1917. He started the Beth Moshe hospital and an orphanage in Brooklyn and also founded a Hebrew teachers training college in San Francisco.
In 1935 he emigrated to Palestine, where he became the head of the Department of Torah Education and Culture in the Diaspora in which capacity he was instrumental in establishing new educational institutions within the Diaspora, devoting himself particularly to the educational needs of North African Jewry.
During World War II he was involved in the widespread Zionist opposition to the British White Paper of 1939, and worked to rescue European Jewry from the Holocaust. In 1943 he traveled to the United States where he participated as a speaker on behalf of European Jewry at the Rabbis' march in Washington.
He was a member of the Jewish Agency Executive, heading the Department for Jerusalem Development.
He served as Vice-President of the Provisional State Council and went on to sign the Israeli declaration of independence in 1948.[8] He served on the founding committee of Bar-Ilan University.
On 8 April 1956, Rabbi Gold died in Jerusalem.
Gold, Wolf ; Rabbi
Rabbi Wolf Gold (Hebrew: זאב גולד, Ze'ev Gold, born Zev Krawczynski in 1889, died 8 April 1956) was a rabbi, Jewish activist, and one of the signatories of the Israeli declaration of independence.
Born in Stettin, Germany (today Szczecin in Poland) he was a descendant on his father's side from at least eight generations of rabbis. Graduate of the Mir yeshiva .From there Gold moved on to study in Lida at Yeshiva Torah Vo'Da'as of Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Reines where Torah was combined with secular studies. Gold was ordained as a Rabbi at the age of 17 by Rabbi Eliezer Rabinowitz of Minsk, and succeeded his father-in-law Rabbi Moshe Reichler, as rabbi in Juteka.
At the age of 18 he moved to the USA where he served as rabbi in several communities including South Chicago, Scranton, Pennsylvania (until 1912), Congregation Beth Jacob Ohev Sholom in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (1912–1919), San Francisco (until 1924) and Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Borough Park, Brooklyn (1928-1935).
He was a pioneer in establishing Orthodox Judaism in the United States. He founded the Williamsburg Talmud Torah and Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in 1917. He started the Beth Moshe hospital and an orphanage in Brooklyn and also founded a Hebrew teachers training college in San Francisco.
In 1935 he emigrated to Palestine, where he became the head of the Department of Torah Education and Culture in the Diaspora in which capacity he was instrumental in establishing new educational institutions within the Diaspora, devoting himself particularly to the educational needs of North African Jewry.
During World War II he was involved in the widespread Zionist opposition to the British White Paper of 1939, and worked to rescue European Jewry from the Holocaust. In 1943 he traveled to the United States where he participated as a speaker on behalf of European Jewry at the Rabbis' march in Washington.
He was a member of the Jewish Agency Executive, heading the Department for Jerusalem Development.
He served as Vice-President of the Provisional State Council and went on to sign the Israeli declaration of independence in 1948.[8] He served on the founding committee of Bar-Ilan University.
On 8 April 1956, Rabbi Gold died in Jerusalem.
Gold, Wolf ; Rabbi
Rabbi Wolf Gold (Hebrew: זאב גולד, Ze'ev Gold, born Zev Krawczynski in 1889, died 8 April 1956) was a rabbi, Jewish activist, and one of the signatories of the Israeli declaration of independence.
Born in Stettin, Germany (today Szczecin in Poland) he was a descendant on his father's side from at least eight generations of rabbis. Graduate of the Mir yeshiva .From there Gold moved on to study in Lida at Yeshiva Torah Vo'Da'as of Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Reines where Torah was combined with secular studies. Gold was ordained as a Rabbi at the age of 17 by Rabbi Eliezer Rabinowitz of Minsk, and succeeded his father-in-law Rabbi Moshe Reichler, as rabbi in Juteka.
At the age of 18 he moved to the USA where he served as rabbi in several communities including South Chicago, Scranton, Pennsylvania (until 1912), Congregation Beth Jacob Ohev Sholom in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (1912–1919), San Francisco (until 1924) and Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Borough Park, Brooklyn (1928-1935).
He was a pioneer in establishing Orthodox Judaism in the United States. He founded the Williamsburg Talmud Torah and Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in 1917. He started the Beth Moshe hospital and an orphanage in Brooklyn and also founded a Hebrew teachers training college in San Francisco.
In 1935 he emigrated to Palestine, where he became the head of the Department of Torah Education and Culture in the Diaspora in which capacity he was instrumental in establishing new educational institutions within the Diaspora, devoting himself particularly to the educational needs of North African Jewry.
During World War II he was involved in the widespread Zionist opposition to the British White Paper of 1939, and worked to rescue European Jewry from the Holocaust. In 1943 he traveled to the United States where he participated as a speaker on behalf of European Jewry at the Rabbis' march in Washington.
He was a member of the Jewish Agency Executive, heading the Department for Jerusalem Development.
He served as Vice-President of the Provisional State Council and went on to sign the Israeli declaration of independence in 1948.[8] He served on the founding committee of Bar-Ilan University.
On 8 April 1956, Rabbi Gold died in Jerusalem.