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The Jewish Community of Malbork

Malbork

In German: Marienburg 

A town in the Żuławy region in the Pomeranian Voivodeshipת Poland. Until 1945 it was part of Germany.

First Jewish presence: 1815; peak Jewish population: 337 in 1871; Jewish population in 1932/33: 170

Jewish families settled in Marienburg in 1814/15, shortly after which they formed a community. The town’s Jewish population increased during the second half of the 19th century, peaking at 337 in 1871. The Jews of Marienburg consecrated a synagogue and a cemetery in 1830. Later, in 1897/98, the community built a new synagogue on Schulgasse (or “school alley” – school meaning “synagogue”); it was inaugurated in August 1898. A local Jew was appointed to the city council in 1864. Other prominent Marienburg Jews include Heinz Galinski (born in 1912), a Marienburg native who served as the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany from 1988 to 1992. The Association of East Prussian Communities, an organization that aided Eastern European Jews, opened an office in Marienburg in the early 20th century. In 1932/33, Marienburg was home to 170 Jews; 18 schoolchildren received religious instruction from a teacher who also served as chazzan. Active in the community were a Jewish women’s association (founded in 1926), a nursing association, a burial society, a youth group, a literature club, and, finally, a local branch of the Reich Federation of Jewish Front Soldiers. The synagogue was burned down on Pogrom Night (November 9, 1938). By May of that year, only 33 Jews still lived in Marienburg. According to records, 31 local Jews were murdered in the Shoah.

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

Place Type:
Town
ID Number:
17918588
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Sztum

In German: Stuhm

A town in the Powisle region in the Pomeranian Volvodeship, Poland.

The place was first mentioned in 1236 as a Prussian settlement. In 1333, the knights of the Teutonic Order built a fortress there on an island surrounded by a fortified wall.

The settlement that grew around the fortress received city rights in 1416 from the head of the Crusader order, Michael Küchmeister von Sternberg. Following the wars of the Kingdom of Poland against the Teutonic order (1454-1466), the Polish army captured the fortified city.

Sztum was part of the kingdom of Poland until the first division of Poland in 1772. The city primarily supported itself through agriculture and beer breweries.

The wars for control of the Baltic Sea ports between the Poles and the Swedes in the 17th century, caused Sztum tremendous material and financial damage. On June 25, 1629, after he was defeated by the Poles, the king of Sweden, Gustav Adolf, found refuge in the fort of Sztum. In 1683, a fire devastated the city's buildings and, in 1709, a plague added to the city's disasters.

After the first division of Poland in 1772, Sztum was annexed to the Kingdom of Prussia. Under Prussian rule, the city flourished and in a short time the population doubled. The building of the Torun-Malbork railroad in 1882 contributed greatly to the city's development. Towards the end of the 19th century, a number of plants operated in the city:  a dairy, a slaughterhouse, and a sawmill. In 1912, infrastructure work was done for electricity and water.

At the end of WWI (1914-1918), Poland demanded the return of the lands that had been taken from her by the neighboring empires. In a referendum held in 1920 about the future of the territories that Poland demanded from Germany, in spite of the large minority of Poles, most of the population preferred to stay within the territory of Germany.

On January 21, 1945, at night, the German population ran out of the city. The next day the Soviet Army captured Sztum. The Germans left in the city were expelled to Germany. In place of the Germans, the city was settled by Poles who were evicted from the territory of eastern Poland. Sztum returned to being a city in independent Poland.

 

The Jews in Sztum

The Jews started settling in Sztum at the beginning of the 18th century. The cemetery was built after 1750. In 1788, the Jew Yaacov Levin was mentioned in the city records.

In 1812, twenty Jews were registered as homeowners. In 1820, the Jewish community owned a prayer house. In 1831, the Jews numbered 98 people and constituted 10% of the town's total population. In 1862, the Sztum synagogue was built. The children learned in the municipal school.

In 1871, there were 106 Jews in the city. That is the largest number of Jews who lived in the city. After that, their numbers dwindled. Because of the worsening of their economic conditions, a number of Jews immigrated to the United States. The rise in anti-Semitism and the rise of the Nazis to power strengthened their will to leave. In 1925, seventy Jews lived in Sztum. In 1932, there were 45 members of the Jewish community (0.9% of the population), 18 of whom paid membership fees. The Jewish Association of Women, headed by Clara Philip, was active in the city to help the needy.

The community of Sztum included Ryzewo / Rehhof with 11 Jews,  Altmark / Stary Targ with 6 Jews, and Pestlin-Postolin with 3 Jews. Max Rosenthal, Krause, and Philipp served on the community’s board. Max Gruschka from Malbork was the children's teacher. Five children studied religion. The community owned a synagogue, a cemetery, and a kosher butcher shop.

During the Pogrom Night (November 9, 1938), the Nazis burned the synagogue in Sztum and desecrated the cemetery. At the beginning of 1939, there were 13 Jews in Sztum; during that year the number was reduced to 3 and they also left.

 

After the Holocaust

The ruins of the synagogue in Sztum, burned on the Pogrom Night, were cleared after the war and in its place a residential building was built. The gravestones from the destroyed cemetery were stolen by the local population and were used to strengthen building foundations. Fragments of these stones, found over time, with Hebrew and German inscriptions on them, were given to the local museum.

In the museum in the Christian Cultural Center (ALYEM), located in a building once used as an Evangelical church, there is a permanent exhibit called The History of Sztum. Among the objects on view are some Judaica: items from Adolph Cohen's pharmacy, a rabbi's booklet, a Chanukah spinning top (dreidel), items from Herman Holtz's shop, hangers from the stores of the Jews, Rosenthal, Neff and Eisenstadt, a map of the city noting the synagogue, a cup with a Star of David, and, also, parts of gravestones from the local cemetery.

A School for Dialogue, initiated by the Dialogue Forum Fund, was organized in Sztum to create a study program for elementary and high school students. This program was intended to teach the history of the Jews of Poland and their contribution to Polish society, economy and culture, so that the students could then pass on this knowledge to the local population.

In August, 2019, the city administration ordered the cemetery area to be cleared of weeds; fragments of the graves and stones were collected together in one place. On the site a granite stone was put up and upon it were written these words in Polish: “Resting place for the Jews who once lived here...May they rest in peace.”

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The Jewish Community of Malbork

Malbork

In German: Marienburg 

A town in the Żuławy region in the Pomeranian Voivodeshipת Poland. Until 1945 it was part of Germany.

First Jewish presence: 1815; peak Jewish population: 337 in 1871; Jewish population in 1932/33: 170

Jewish families settled in Marienburg in 1814/15, shortly after which they formed a community. The town’s Jewish population increased during the second half of the 19th century, peaking at 337 in 1871. The Jews of Marienburg consecrated a synagogue and a cemetery in 1830. Later, in 1897/98, the community built a new synagogue on Schulgasse (or “school alley” – school meaning “synagogue”); it was inaugurated in August 1898. A local Jew was appointed to the city council in 1864. Other prominent Marienburg Jews include Heinz Galinski (born in 1912), a Marienburg native who served as the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany from 1988 to 1992. The Association of East Prussian Communities, an organization that aided Eastern European Jews, opened an office in Marienburg in the early 20th century. In 1932/33, Marienburg was home to 170 Jews; 18 schoolchildren received religious instruction from a teacher who also served as chazzan. Active in the community were a Jewish women’s association (founded in 1926), a nursing association, a burial society, a youth group, a literature club, and, finally, a local branch of the Reich Federation of Jewish Front Soldiers. The synagogue was burned down on Pogrom Night (November 9, 1938). By May of that year, only 33 Jews still lived in Marienburg. According to records, 31 local Jews were murdered in the Shoah.

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

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

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Sztum

Sztum

In German: Stuhm

A town in the Powisle region in the Pomeranian Volvodeship, Poland.

The place was first mentioned in 1236 as a Prussian settlement. In 1333, the knights of the Teutonic Order built a fortress there on an island surrounded by a fortified wall.

The settlement that grew around the fortress received city rights in 1416 from the head of the Crusader order, Michael Küchmeister von Sternberg. Following the wars of the Kingdom of Poland against the Teutonic order (1454-1466), the Polish army captured the fortified city.

Sztum was part of the kingdom of Poland until the first division of Poland in 1772. The city primarily supported itself through agriculture and beer breweries.

The wars for control of the Baltic Sea ports between the Poles and the Swedes in the 17th century, caused Sztum tremendous material and financial damage. On June 25, 1629, after he was defeated by the Poles, the king of Sweden, Gustav Adolf, found refuge in the fort of Sztum. In 1683, a fire devastated the city's buildings and, in 1709, a plague added to the city's disasters.

After the first division of Poland in 1772, Sztum was annexed to the Kingdom of Prussia. Under Prussian rule, the city flourished and in a short time the population doubled. The building of the Torun-Malbork railroad in 1882 contributed greatly to the city's development. Towards the end of the 19th century, a number of plants operated in the city:  a dairy, a slaughterhouse, and a sawmill. In 1912, infrastructure work was done for electricity and water.

At the end of WWI (1914-1918), Poland demanded the return of the lands that had been taken from her by the neighboring empires. In a referendum held in 1920 about the future of the territories that Poland demanded from Germany, in spite of the large minority of Poles, most of the population preferred to stay within the territory of Germany.

On January 21, 1945, at night, the German population ran out of the city. The next day the Soviet Army captured Sztum. The Germans left in the city were expelled to Germany. In place of the Germans, the city was settled by Poles who were evicted from the territory of eastern Poland. Sztum returned to being a city in independent Poland.

 

The Jews in Sztum

The Jews started settling in Sztum at the beginning of the 18th century. The cemetery was built after 1750. In 1788, the Jew Yaacov Levin was mentioned in the city records.

In 1812, twenty Jews were registered as homeowners. In 1820, the Jewish community owned a prayer house. In 1831, the Jews numbered 98 people and constituted 10% of the town's total population. In 1862, the Sztum synagogue was built. The children learned in the municipal school.

In 1871, there were 106 Jews in the city. That is the largest number of Jews who lived in the city. After that, their numbers dwindled. Because of the worsening of their economic conditions, a number of Jews immigrated to the United States. The rise in anti-Semitism and the rise of the Nazis to power strengthened their will to leave. In 1925, seventy Jews lived in Sztum. In 1932, there were 45 members of the Jewish community (0.9% of the population), 18 of whom paid membership fees. The Jewish Association of Women, headed by Clara Philip, was active in the city to help the needy.

The community of Sztum included Ryzewo / Rehhof with 11 Jews,  Altmark / Stary Targ with 6 Jews, and Pestlin-Postolin with 3 Jews. Max Rosenthal, Krause, and Philipp served on the community’s board. Max Gruschka from Malbork was the children's teacher. Five children studied religion. The community owned a synagogue, a cemetery, and a kosher butcher shop.

During the Pogrom Night (November 9, 1938), the Nazis burned the synagogue in Sztum and desecrated the cemetery. At the beginning of 1939, there were 13 Jews in Sztum; during that year the number was reduced to 3 and they also left.

 

After the Holocaust

The ruins of the synagogue in Sztum, burned on the Pogrom Night, were cleared after the war and in its place a residential building was built. The gravestones from the destroyed cemetery were stolen by the local population and were used to strengthen building foundations. Fragments of these stones, found over time, with Hebrew and German inscriptions on them, were given to the local museum.

In the museum in the Christian Cultural Center (ALYEM), located in a building once used as an Evangelical church, there is a permanent exhibit called The History of Sztum. Among the objects on view are some Judaica: items from Adolph Cohen's pharmacy, a rabbi's booklet, a Chanukah spinning top (dreidel), items from Herman Holtz's shop, hangers from the stores of the Jews, Rosenthal, Neff and Eisenstadt, a map of the city noting the synagogue, a cup with a Star of David, and, also, parts of gravestones from the local cemetery.

A School for Dialogue, initiated by the Dialogue Forum Fund, was organized in Sztum to create a study program for elementary and high school students. This program was intended to teach the history of the Jews of Poland and their contribution to Polish society, economy and culture, so that the students could then pass on this knowledge to the local population.

In August, 2019, the city administration ordered the cemetery area to be cleared of weeds; fragments of the graves and stones were collected together in one place. On the site a granite stone was put up and upon it were written these words in Polish: “Resting place for the Jews who once lived here...May they rest in peace.”