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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.

Gmina Wyznaniowa Żydowska W Szczecinie / Jewish Community in Szczecin
ul. Niemcewicza 2
71-553 Szczecin
Poland
Phone: 48 91 422 19 05



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.

Jewish Community in Szczecin was established in 1993, replacing the former the Jewish Religious Congregation in Szczecin that activated from 1946 to 1993. There is a house of prayer at the headquarters of the Jewish Community, where services are held on Sabbaths and holidays. There is no rabbi, the community maintains a kosher canteen and carries out extensive charity activities. In the year 2000 there were approximately 140 Jews living in Szczecin, most of whom were elderly. Their number declined to about 60 during the late 2010s.

Place Type:
City
ID Number:
175999
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Wolf Gold (Hebrew: זאב גולד, Ze'ev Gold, born Zev Krawczynski) (1889-1956), 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 the Land of Israel, 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.
Rabbi Gold died in Jerusalem on 8 April 1956.

Rudolf Levy (1875-1944), artist, born into an Orthodox family in Stettin, Germany (now Szczcin, Poland). He 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.

Alfred Doeblin (1878-1958), author, born in Stettin, Germany (now Szczecin, Poland). 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)