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The Jewish Community of Magdeburg

The capital of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

 

21st CENTURY

The area around the memorial has been renamed An der Alten Synagoge (“At the Old Synagogue”). Additionally, two memorial stones have been unveiled at the Jewish cemetery.

In 2005, there were 635 members of the Jewish community in Magdeburg, due to the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union.

 

HISTORY

The Jewish community of Magdeburg is one of the oldest in Germany, with the earliest record of Jewish life dating to 965 CE. The early Jewish community maintained a synagogue and a yeshiva; a cemetery was consecrated during the 13th century. Local Jews lived in the Judendorf (“Jews’ village”) Quarter in the southern part of the town, and traded in the "clothing-court" (kleiderhof) in the Merchants' Quarter and beyond the Oder river. The Judendorf was destroyed in 1213 by Otto IV’s soldiers.

The Jews of Magdeburg suffered several persecutions during the 14th century, most of which took place after the Black Death epidemic (1348-1349). Eventually, in 1493 they were expelled. The synagogue was converted into a chapel, and the cemetery was destroyed.

Jews were readmitted to Magdeburg in 1671, but a new community was only established in the early 19th century, a result of the hostility Jews faced from the city council. The new community founded a religious school in 1834, a chevra kaddisha in 1839, and a synagogue with an organ and choir in 1851.

The community grew steadily, from 255 in 1811, to 330 in 1817. In 1840 Magdeburg’s Jewish population was 559 in 1840. Nearly 20 years later, in 1859, there were 1,000 Jews living in Magdeburg. In 1885 the Jewish population was 1,815.

Prominent Jewish figures from Magdeburg included Rabbi Ludwig Philippson, a leader of Liberal Judaism in Germany and an editor of the newspaper of Liberal German Judaism, Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums; Rabbi Moritz Guedemann and Rabbi Moritz Spanier, both of whom wrote a history of the community; and Eduard Lasker and Otto Landsberg, both of whom were repeatedly elected to Parliament.

The community became prosperous, and included 45 doctors (who founded their own club in 1903). By 1933 there were also about 20 active social, cultural, and charitable organizations.

In 1910 the Jewish population of Magdeburg was 1,843. In 1928 the Jewish population was approximately 3,200.

 

THE HOLOCAUST

After the Nazis came to power in 1933, anti-Jewish violence and legislation increased in Magdeburg and throughout Germany as a whole. The Jewish population in Magdeburg dropped to 1,973 people as Jews began to immigrate.

The synagogue was burned down during the Kristallnacht pogrom (November 9-10, 1938). That night, 375 men were arrested and interned in Buchenwald.

By 17 May 1939, only 679 Jews remained in Magdeburg. Most were eventually deported to concentration camps.  Ownership of the synagogue building was transferred to the municipality, which ordered that the building be blown up.  

On July 1, 1944, there were still 185 Jews living in Magdeburg, mainly partners of mixed marriages, who managed to survive the war.

 

POSTWAR

A new community was founded in Magdeburg in 1947. In 1965, there were approximately 100 Jews living in the city.

In November 1988, a memorial was erected near the former synagogue.

 

Place Type:
City
ID Number:
212285
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Nearby places:

Related items:
The paretns, Martin and Martha Lehmann,
and their children (from right): Margaret, Edith and Max.
Magdeburg, Germany, c.1920.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Malka Johnson, Israel)
Max, Edith and Margaret Leheman,
Magdeburg, Germany, 1906.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Malka Johnson, Israel)
Marta Leheman and her children,
Magdeburg, Germany 1900.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Malka Johnson, Israel)
Guedemann, Moritz (1835-1918), rabbi, author, Chief Rabbi of Vienna, born in Hildesheim, Germany. He studied at the rabbinical seminary at Bresslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, in Poland) from 1854 to 1862. Following his ordination he was given his first pulpit at Magdeburg, Germany. With increasing pressure from orthodox Jews, Guedemann, who was considered more conservative, was called to Vienna, Austria, in 1866 to officiate at the Leopoldstadt Synagogue. In 1891 he became Chief Rabbi of Vienna and successor to Rabbi Jellinek.

Guedemann criticized the Zionist movement for its failure to emphasize the religious element in Jewish national rehabilitation. He fought, on the other hand, against the elimination of all references to Zion from the prayer book.
Guedemann wrote many valuable works dealing with Jewish life. The most important of these are his classic studies on Jewish education. "Das juedische Unterrichtswesen waehrend der spanisch-arabischen Periode" (Vienna, 1893) dealing with Arabic and Hebrew literature of the Jews in medieval Spain, could have been written thanks to his training in philology, Oriental languages and Islamic studies. Guedemann’s "Geschichte des Erziehungswesen und der Cultur der abendlischen Juden waehrend des Mittelalters und der neueren Zeit" (3 vol., Vienna, 1880, 1884, 1888) analyzes the harmonious co-existence and mutual influences between Jews and Christians. This work has been translated into Hebrew and Yiddish. His "Quellenschriften zur Geschichte des Unterrichts und der Erziehung bei den deutsche Juden" was published in Berlin in 1892. He contributed also to the field of comparative religious history in "Juedisches im Christentum des Reformations-Zeitalters" (Vienna, 1870), and "Religionsgeschichtliche Studien" (Leipzig, 1876). Two works are devoted to theological polemics: "Das Judentum in seinen Grundzuegen und nach seinen geschichtlichen Grundlagen dargestellt" (Vienna, 1902). The "Juedische Apologetik" (Glogau, 1906), which was written in self-defense against the rising clerical and political anti-Semitism. He also published a monograph on the Jews of Magdeburg, and many essays in Jewish periodicals and collections, and in the jubilee volumes for Zunz, Graetz and Steinschneider.
Cantor

Born in Jaslo, Galicia, he studied with distinguished cantors and composers before being appointed hazzan in Magdeburg. From there he moved to Stendal and in 1938 to Palestine. He officiated in several synagogues in Tel Aviv before becoming chief hazzan of the Great Synagogue in Tel Aviv. From 1966 he was chairman of the Israel Association of Cantors. Ungar won an international reputation through his tours and recordings.

Bekesmegyer
 

Hungarian: Békásmegyer

German: Krottendorf

 

A village in the Pest-Pilis-Solt-Kiskun district. Since 1950 a neighborhood in Budapest, central Hungary.
 

 

Late 20th Century

A Holocaust survival a native of Budapest was interviewed late in life. She survived living in difficult conditions in a ghetto following which she was forced to work in a brick factory in Bekasmegyer. Later during the war she was transferred to Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Magdeburg from where she was liberated. While she returned to Budapest at the end of World War II she later left the country.

 

History

We have no information on the history of Jewish settlement in Bekesmegyer before the Holocaust.

In 1930 the community numbered 136.
 


The Holocaust Period

In the spring of 1944, after the German occupation, all the Jews of the neighboring villages were assembled in Bekesmegyer.

On March 19, 1944, the Jews were ordered to report to the gendarmerie and a month later were forced to go to the ghetto which had been allocated in one of the town's quarters. Thanks to the efforts of the village secretary, additional buildings were set aside for the ghetto in order to lessen the overcrowding which prevailed there. A committee of five, who were permitted to move around freely for the purpose of carrying out the required orders, managed the affairs of the ghetto. 224 of the ghetto inmates were sent to Budapest, ten were conscripted for labor camps, 17 young Jews were employed in military factories and three families received permission to return to their homes.

On June 30, all the Jews in the ghetto were transported to Auschwitz, except for 11 families who remained in Bekesmegyer and who were allowed to return to their homes after six weeks. Two other families succeeded in escaping from the ghetto even before the expulsion, but one family was murdered on the road by Hungarian Nazis.

Potsdam

A city on the border of Berlin in Brandenburg, Germany.

First Jewish presence: 1630; peak Jewish population: 600 in 1929; Jewish population in 1933: 565

In 1671, the Great Elector of Brandenburg allowed 50 persecuted Jewish families from Vienna, Austria, to settle in the city, after which Potsdam’s Jewish community developed quickly. In 1731, David Hirsch won a monopoly on the kingdom’s velvet trade, an accomplishment that prompted other Jewish entrepreneurs to enter the silk industry. The Jews of Potsdam acquired a cemetery in 1743 and employed their first rabbi, Jehiel Michel of Poland, in 1760. The construction of Potsdam’s first synagogue, inaugurated in 1767 in the presence of the Prince and Princess of Prussia, was made possible by a loan from Frederick the Great. The ground on which the synagogue was built, however, proved too marshy to support the large structure; accordingly, a new synagogue was built on Wilhelmstrasse in 1802. Until 1776, the Jewish community was forced to pay exorbitant taxes and was required by law to purchase—this applied to each new Jewish household—costly china from royal factories. After these crippling taxes were lifted, the community showed its gratitude by donating the synagogue’s silver ornaments to the Napoleonic war fund and, much later, by sending volunteers to the Franco-Prussian War. In 1903, a new house of worship in the Reform style was built on the site of the original synagogue (by then the marsh had been properly drained). By this time, prominent Potsdam Jews included industrialists, professionals and councilmen. A home for Jewish girls was opened in 1929 and, in 1932, a boarding school for Jewish children from families in distress was established in nearby Caputh.

The Nazis’ victory in the 1933 elections and the subsequent economic boycott of Jews triggered a Jewish exodus from the city. On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), the interior of the main synagogue was plundered; the building was not set on fire because it was adjacent to the city’s post office. The cemetery and chapel were vandalized, as was the Caputh School. Jewish men were arrested and sent to Sachsenhausen Nazi concentration camp. After the pogrom, the post office appropriated the gutted synagogue building, which was eventually destroyed in a bombing raid during the war. Potsdam’s last 40 Jews were deported in 1942, leaving a few survivors in the community’s Jewish retirement home who were, presumably, deported to Theresienstadt Nazi concentration camp. The cemetery and its adjacent chapel were restored 30 years after Pogrom Night, and memorial plaques have been affixed to former Jewish communal buildings.

In the 1990s, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe founded a new congregation in Potsdam; by 2006, the city was home to 1,400 Jews. A new synagogue complex is being built on the grounds of the old house of worship; it will contain a community center, a retirement home and the Abraham Geiger rabbinic seminary, the last of which is associated with Potsdam University.

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

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.

Genthin

A town in Jerichower Land district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

At the time of the rampant plague wave around 1349, Jews were also persecuted and expelled in Genthin. At the end of the century Jews settled again, but then their traces are lost until 1697. In this year they settled again and bought the city's protection rights. Jews have only been permanently residing in the city since the beginning of the 19th century. In 1843 nine Jews lived in Genthin, 28 in 1856 and 51 in 1881. They were mostly shopkeepers and merchants. In 1860 the community owned its first synagogue on Brandenburger Strasse on the property of the community chairman Simon Birnbaum. As the lease expired the community had a second prayer house built on Schenkestrasse (today Dattelner Strasse) in 1928. This second synagogue, a red brick building with a dome, was only used for a few years. In 1937 it was converted into a residential building.

The community's first cemetery was outside the city east of Karower Strasse and was called "Judenkirchhof". In 1829 the second cemetery (apparently in the same place) was laid. The last funeral was held in 1933. The cemetery was destroyed and leveled during the Nazi era. In 1949 it was converted into a memorial with a memorial stone and became a protected monument. In 1930, 29 Jews lived in the village, in 1939 - after the Night Pogrom of November 9, 1938 - only three were left.

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

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 Magdeburg

The capital of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

 

21st CENTURY

The area around the memorial has been renamed An der Alten Synagoge (“At the Old Synagogue”). Additionally, two memorial stones have been unveiled at the Jewish cemetery.

In 2005, there were 635 members of the Jewish community in Magdeburg, due to the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union.

 

HISTORY

The Jewish community of Magdeburg is one of the oldest in Germany, with the earliest record of Jewish life dating to 965 CE. The early Jewish community maintained a synagogue and a yeshiva; a cemetery was consecrated during the 13th century. Local Jews lived in the Judendorf (“Jews’ village”) Quarter in the southern part of the town, and traded in the "clothing-court" (kleiderhof) in the Merchants' Quarter and beyond the Oder river. The Judendorf was destroyed in 1213 by Otto IV’s soldiers.

The Jews of Magdeburg suffered several persecutions during the 14th century, most of which took place after the Black Death epidemic (1348-1349). Eventually, in 1493 they were expelled. The synagogue was converted into a chapel, and the cemetery was destroyed.

Jews were readmitted to Magdeburg in 1671, but a new community was only established in the early 19th century, a result of the hostility Jews faced from the city council. The new community founded a religious school in 1834, a chevra kaddisha in 1839, and a synagogue with an organ and choir in 1851.

The community grew steadily, from 255 in 1811, to 330 in 1817. In 1840 Magdeburg’s Jewish population was 559 in 1840. Nearly 20 years later, in 1859, there were 1,000 Jews living in Magdeburg. In 1885 the Jewish population was 1,815.

Prominent Jewish figures from Magdeburg included Rabbi Ludwig Philippson, a leader of Liberal Judaism in Germany and an editor of the newspaper of Liberal German Judaism, Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums; Rabbi Moritz Guedemann and Rabbi Moritz Spanier, both of whom wrote a history of the community; and Eduard Lasker and Otto Landsberg, both of whom were repeatedly elected to Parliament.

The community became prosperous, and included 45 doctors (who founded their own club in 1903). By 1933 there were also about 20 active social, cultural, and charitable organizations.

In 1910 the Jewish population of Magdeburg was 1,843. In 1928 the Jewish population was approximately 3,200.

 

THE HOLOCAUST

After the Nazis came to power in 1933, anti-Jewish violence and legislation increased in Magdeburg and throughout Germany as a whole. The Jewish population in Magdeburg dropped to 1,973 people as Jews began to immigrate.

The synagogue was burned down during the Kristallnacht pogrom (November 9-10, 1938). That night, 375 men were arrested and interned in Buchenwald.

By 17 May 1939, only 679 Jews remained in Magdeburg. Most were eventually deported to concentration camps.  Ownership of the synagogue building was transferred to the municipality, which ordered that the building be blown up.  

On July 1, 1944, there were still 185 Jews living in Magdeburg, mainly partners of mixed marriages, who managed to survive the war.

 

POSTWAR

A new community was founded in Magdeburg in 1947. In 1965, there were approximately 100 Jews living in the city.

In November 1988, a memorial was erected near the former synagogue.

 

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Genthin
Potsdam
Bekesmegyer

Genthin

A town in Jerichower Land district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

At the time of the rampant plague wave around 1349, Jews were also persecuted and expelled in Genthin. At the end of the century Jews settled again, but then their traces are lost until 1697. In this year they settled again and bought the city's protection rights. Jews have only been permanently residing in the city since the beginning of the 19th century. In 1843 nine Jews lived in Genthin, 28 in 1856 and 51 in 1881. They were mostly shopkeepers and merchants. In 1860 the community owned its first synagogue on Brandenburger Strasse on the property of the community chairman Simon Birnbaum. As the lease expired the community had a second prayer house built on Schenkestrasse (today Dattelner Strasse) in 1928. This second synagogue, a red brick building with a dome, was only used for a few years. In 1937 it was converted into a residential building.

The community's first cemetery was outside the city east of Karower Strasse and was called "Judenkirchhof". In 1829 the second cemetery (apparently in the same place) was laid. The last funeral was held in 1933. The cemetery was destroyed and leveled during the Nazi era. In 1949 it was converted into a memorial with a memorial stone and became a protected monument. In 1930, 29 Jews lived in the village, in 1939 - after the Night Pogrom of November 9, 1938 - only three were left.

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

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. 

Potsdam

A city on the border of Berlin in Brandenburg, Germany.

First Jewish presence: 1630; peak Jewish population: 600 in 1929; Jewish population in 1933: 565

In 1671, the Great Elector of Brandenburg allowed 50 persecuted Jewish families from Vienna, Austria, to settle in the city, after which Potsdam’s Jewish community developed quickly. In 1731, David Hirsch won a monopoly on the kingdom’s velvet trade, an accomplishment that prompted other Jewish entrepreneurs to enter the silk industry. The Jews of Potsdam acquired a cemetery in 1743 and employed their first rabbi, Jehiel Michel of Poland, in 1760. The construction of Potsdam’s first synagogue, inaugurated in 1767 in the presence of the Prince and Princess of Prussia, was made possible by a loan from Frederick the Great. The ground on which the synagogue was built, however, proved too marshy to support the large structure; accordingly, a new synagogue was built on Wilhelmstrasse in 1802. Until 1776, the Jewish community was forced to pay exorbitant taxes and was required by law to purchase—this applied to each new Jewish household—costly china from royal factories. After these crippling taxes were lifted, the community showed its gratitude by donating the synagogue’s silver ornaments to the Napoleonic war fund and, much later, by sending volunteers to the Franco-Prussian War. In 1903, a new house of worship in the Reform style was built on the site of the original synagogue (by then the marsh had been properly drained). By this time, prominent Potsdam Jews included industrialists, professionals and councilmen. A home for Jewish girls was opened in 1929 and, in 1932, a boarding school for Jewish children from families in distress was established in nearby Caputh.

The Nazis’ victory in the 1933 elections and the subsequent economic boycott of Jews triggered a Jewish exodus from the city. On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), the interior of the main synagogue was plundered; the building was not set on fire because it was adjacent to the city’s post office. The cemetery and chapel were vandalized, as was the Caputh School. Jewish men were arrested and sent to Sachsenhausen Nazi concentration camp. After the pogrom, the post office appropriated the gutted synagogue building, which was eventually destroyed in a bombing raid during the war. Potsdam’s last 40 Jews were deported in 1942, leaving a few survivors in the community’s Jewish retirement home who were, presumably, deported to Theresienstadt Nazi concentration camp. The cemetery and its adjacent chapel were restored 30 years after Pogrom Night, and memorial plaques have been affixed to former Jewish communal buildings.

In the 1990s, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe founded a new congregation in Potsdam; by 2006, the city was home to 1,400 Jews. A new synagogue complex is being built on the grounds of the old house of worship; it will contain a community center, a retirement home and the Abraham Geiger rabbinic seminary, the last of which is associated with Potsdam University.

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

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.

Bekesmegyer
 

Hungarian: Békásmegyer

German: Krottendorf

 

A village in the Pest-Pilis-Solt-Kiskun district. Since 1950 a neighborhood in Budapest, central Hungary.
 

 

Late 20th Century

A Holocaust survival a native of Budapest was interviewed late in life. She survived living in difficult conditions in a ghetto following which she was forced to work in a brick factory in Bekasmegyer. Later during the war she was transferred to Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Magdeburg from where she was liberated. While she returned to Budapest at the end of World War II she later left the country.

 

History

We have no information on the history of Jewish settlement in Bekesmegyer before the Holocaust.

In 1930 the community numbered 136.
 


The Holocaust Period

In the spring of 1944, after the German occupation, all the Jews of the neighboring villages were assembled in Bekesmegyer.

On March 19, 1944, the Jews were ordered to report to the gendarmerie and a month later were forced to go to the ghetto which had been allocated in one of the town's quarters. Thanks to the efforts of the village secretary, additional buildings were set aside for the ghetto in order to lessen the overcrowding which prevailed there. A committee of five, who were permitted to move around freely for the purpose of carrying out the required orders, managed the affairs of the ghetto. 224 of the ghetto inmates were sent to Budapest, ten were conscripted for labor camps, 17 young Jews were employed in military factories and three families received permission to return to their homes.

On June 30, all the Jews in the ghetto were transported to Auschwitz, except for 11 families who remained in Bekesmegyer and who were allowed to return to their homes after six weeks. Two other families succeeded in escaping from the ghetto even before the expulsion, but one family was murdered on the road by Hungarian Nazis.

Ungar, Benjamin
Guedemann, Moritz
Pressler, Menahem
Rosen, Willy
Cantor

Born in Jaslo, Galicia, he studied with distinguished cantors and composers before being appointed hazzan in Magdeburg. From there he moved to Stendal and in 1938 to Palestine. He officiated in several synagogues in Tel Aviv before becoming chief hazzan of the Great Synagogue in Tel Aviv. From 1966 he was chairman of the Israel Association of Cantors. Ungar won an international reputation through his tours and recordings.
Guedemann, Moritz (1835-1918), rabbi, author, Chief Rabbi of Vienna, born in Hildesheim, Germany. He studied at the rabbinical seminary at Bresslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, in Poland) from 1854 to 1862. Following his ordination he was given his first pulpit at Magdeburg, Germany. With increasing pressure from orthodox Jews, Guedemann, who was considered more conservative, was called to Vienna, Austria, in 1866 to officiate at the Leopoldstadt Synagogue. In 1891 he became Chief Rabbi of Vienna and successor to Rabbi Jellinek.

Guedemann criticized the Zionist movement for its failure to emphasize the religious element in Jewish national rehabilitation. He fought, on the other hand, against the elimination of all references to Zion from the prayer book.
Guedemann wrote many valuable works dealing with Jewish life. The most important of these are his classic studies on Jewish education. "Das juedische Unterrichtswesen waehrend der spanisch-arabischen Periode" (Vienna, 1893) dealing with Arabic and Hebrew literature of the Jews in medieval Spain, could have been written thanks to his training in philology, Oriental languages and Islamic studies. Guedemann’s "Geschichte des Erziehungswesen und der Cultur der abendlischen Juden waehrend des Mittelalters und der neueren Zeit" (3 vol., Vienna, 1880, 1884, 1888) analyzes the harmonious co-existence and mutual influences between Jews and Christians. This work has been translated into Hebrew and Yiddish. His "Quellenschriften zur Geschichte des Unterrichts und der Erziehung bei den deutsche Juden" was published in Berlin in 1892. He contributed also to the field of comparative religious history in "Juedisches im Christentum des Reformations-Zeitalters" (Vienna, 1870), and "Religionsgeschichtliche Studien" (Leipzig, 1876). Two works are devoted to theological polemics: "Das Judentum in seinen Grundzuegen und nach seinen geschichtlichen Grundlagen dargestellt" (Vienna, 1902). The "Juedische Apologetik" (Glogau, 1906), which was written in self-defense against the rising clerical and political anti-Semitism. He also published a monograph on the Jews of Magdeburg, and many essays in Jewish periodicals and collections, and in the jubilee volumes for Zunz, Graetz and Steinschneider.
Marta Leheman and her Children, Magdeburg, Germany, 1900
Children of the Leheman Family, Magdeburg, Germany, 1906
The Lehmann Family, Magdeburg, Germany, c.1920
Marta Leheman and her children,
Magdeburg, Germany 1900.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Malka Johnson, Israel)
Max, Edith and Margaret Leheman,
Magdeburg, Germany, 1906.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Malka Johnson, Israel)
The paretns, Martin and Martha Lehmann,
and their children (from right): Margaret, Edith and Max.
Magdeburg, Germany, c.1920.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Malka Johnson, Israel)
Pressler, Menahem
Rosen, Willy