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Joseph Joachim

Joseph Joachim (1831-1907), composer and violinist,born in Kopcseny (now Kittsee), Hungary (then part of the Austrian Empire, now in Austria). His family moved to Budapest, where Joseph began to study the violin at the age of five. He became a pupil of Hellmesberger and Boehm in Vienna, and then of David and Hauptmann in Leipzig, Germany. In 1843 Joachim made his first public appearance in Leipzig. One year later, he went to London, England, where his performance of the Beethoven Concerto with the London Philharmonic established his English reputation. In 1849 he went to Paris, France, where he performed with Hector Berlioz. From 1849 to 1854 he was concertmaster of Franz Liszt's orchestra at Weimar, Germany, and from 1854 to 1864, concertmaster and conductor of the Royal Hanover Orchestra.

Although Joachim had converted to Protestantism in 1855, he resigned from the Hanover Orchestra in 1864 when they refused to engage the violinist J. M. Gruen because he was a Jew.

Many works were dedicated to Joachim, including the Schumann, Brahms, Dvorak and Bruch violin concertos, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody no. 12 and Schumann's Fourth Symphony (second version, 1853). In 1868, Joachim became director of the Hochschule fuer Musik in Berlin which, under his guidance, developed into one of the leading music institutions of the world. One year later he founded the celebrated Joachim String Quartet which, during its long and active existence, held a honoured position amongst the chamber music ensembles of the world. It was the Joachim String Quartet which was largely responsible for the popularity of the then much neglected last quartets of Beethoven. Joachim's playing the violin had remarkable dignity, repose, and artistic finish, earning him the title of "king of violinists." His interpretations of the concertos of Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Brahms, and the solo sonatas of Bach were unequalled in his time for profundity of conception and for his command over their technical and esthetic problems.

His own compositions include the "Magyar concert"; "Hamlet nyitany" ("Hamlet Overture", op. 4), "Nocturne" (for violin and small orchestra op. 12) and "Dem Andenken Kleists" (op.14). Joachim's three concertos for violin were obviously modeled after Brahms, while other works for orchestra were derived from works or Schumann and Mendelssohn. Probably his most important works are the cadenzas for the concertos of Beethoven and Brahms which are still performed by leading violinists. He composed also a set of "Hebrew Melodies" for viola and piano. As a teacher, Joachim had a far-reaching influence on many of the leading violinist of his generation. His pupils included Hubay, Gregorovitch and Nachez.

Joachim was on friendly terms with Hans von Buelow, Anton Rubinstein, Remenyi, Clara and Robert Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Brahms. His advice and criticism proved invaluable to Brahms during the writing of his violin concerto. In 1877 he received an honorary degree from the University of Cambridge. He was also recipient of honorary degrees from German universities. In 1899, the fiftieth anniversary of his concert career was celebrated throughout the world of music.

Joachim died in Berlin.

Date of birth:
28th of June, 1831
Date of death:
15th of August, 1907
Place of birth:
Kittsee
Place of death:
Berlin
Personality type:
Violinist
,
composer
ID Number:
218662
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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JOACHIM

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 patronymic surname based on a male ancestor's personal name, in this case of biblical origin.

The surname Joachim is derived from the biblical Hebrew male personal name Yehojachin, which means "God will establish". The biblical Joachim was king of Judah, mentioned in 2 Kings 24, 25; Jeremiah 52, 2 Chronicles 36.

Kittsee

A town in the district of Neusiedl am See in Burgenland, Austria.

The Jewish community of Kittsee began its existence in the 17th century (mentioned for the first time in 1663) and starting with 1716 was one of the "Seven Communities" in the region of Burgenland. After the expulsion of Jews from Vienna and Lower Austria in 1669/71, some Jewish families seem to have settled in Kittsee. A cemetery was established and a synagogue was built. In 1728, a rabbinical court chaired by Maharam Asch Meir dealt with a dispute between Jews from Eisenstadt and Kittsee. The community boasted in the 19th century an impresive community life with several rabbinical authorities. In 1885, the Jewish community of Gattendorf, which had its own synagogue from 1833, was annexed to Kittsee. Gattendorf lost its own rabbi, but kept its shochet (Jewish ritual butcher). Religious services were held in the synagogue of Gattendorf until 1938.The Jews living in Edelstal were also members of the official Kittsee congregation.


In 1932, there were 58 Jews living in Kittsee. The community maintained several institutions, a synagogue and a cemetery that were established in the 17th century. There were also cultural organizations and a Chevra Kadischa (burial society). Among the prominent rabbis of the community a special mention should be amnde of Chaim ben Ascher Anschel, teacher and illustrator, who lived in the late 18th century.


After the annexation of Austria in March 1938, 51 Jews from Kittsee and Kroatisch-Jahrndorf were arrested by the SA, robbed and brought by boat to an island on the Danube. They were saved by the citizens of the Czech village of Theben and by border police. After a short stay in Theben, they were transferred to the police prison in Bratislava, then deported to Hungary and from there driven back to Austria. The SA imprisoned them in barracks, but moved them after protests by some local people from Kittsee.

The synagogue in Kittsee dates back to the 17th century. Gattendorf, annexed to Kittsee in 1885, had a synagogue that was built in 1833. The Kittsee synagogue was demolished in 1950.

Weimar

A city in Thuringia, Germany.

A few Jews lived in Weimar as early as the Middle Ages. They were affected by the plague pogroms as well as by the expulsion from the Wettin areas. It was not until the 18th century that a small private community could be constituted. In April 1770 Duchess Anna Amalia von Weimar appointed Jacob Elkan to a court Jew in the Principality of Weimar. In the following years two more families moved to Weimar, so that in 1789 three Jewish families lived in the town.

These joined together to form a "private community". In 1805 Jacob Elkan set up a prayer room and a mikveh in his house, this building still exists today and is located at 25 Windischenstrasse. The initials of the community founder's name can still be read on the capstone of the entrance portal. After Elkan's death the building was used exclusively for residential purposes. Presumably from 1805 religious services were held in other private rooms of the Löser or Ulmann families. Jacob Elkan was also the founder of a Jewish cemetery in Weimar, which was used from 1774 to 1898. In the 20th century the site fell into disrepair and was then used as an orchard after the property passed into non-Jewish ownership. In 1983 part of the Jewish cemetery was restored and is now a memorial.

A religious community in the sense of a corporation under public law, could never be founded in Weimar. In 1903 some of the Jewish residents of Weimar joined together in the "Israelite Religious Association" which in 1925 had 25 members. In addition 80 other Jews lived in Weimar who did not join the association. In 1933 there were 91 Jewish inhabitants and in 1939 there were still eleven Jewish families  living here. In the years between 1942 and 1945, the Jewish residents who remained in Weimar were deported to the Nazi concentration and death camps in Eastern Europe. With the last deportations Jewish life in Weimar was irretrievably destroyed.

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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.

Berlin

The largest city in Germany. The capital of Germany until 1945. After the Second World War and until 1990 the city was divided into West Berlin and East Berlin.

Jews are first mentioned in a letter from the Berlin local council of October 28, 1295, forbidding wool merchants to supply Jews with wool yarn. Jews lived primarily in a Jewish quarter, but a number of wealthier Jews lived outside this area. The Berlin Jews engaged mainly in commerce, handicrafts, money-changing, and money-lending. They paid taxes for the right to slaughter animals ritually, to sell meat, to marry, to circumcise their sons, to buy wine, to receive additional Jews as residents of their community, and to bury their dead. During the Black Death (1349-1350), the houses of the Jews were burned down and the Jewish inhabitants were killed or expelled from the town.

From 1354, Jews settled again in Berlin. In 1446 they were arrested with the rest of the Jews in Brandenburg, and their property was confiscated. A year later Jews again began to return there, and a few wealthy Jews were admitted into Brandenburg in 1509. In 1510 the Jews were accused of desecrating the host and stealing sacred vessels from a church in a village near Berlin. 111 Jews were arrested and subjected to examination, and 51 were sentenced to death; of these 38 were burned at the stake in the new market square together with the real culprit, a Christian, on July 10, 1510. All the accused were proved completely innocent at the diet of Frankfort in 1539 through the efforts of Joseph (Joselmann) b. Gershom of Rosheim and Philipp Melanchthon. In 1571, when the Jews were again expelled from Brandenburg, the Jews of Berlin were expelled "forever". For the next 100 years, a few individual Jews appeared there at widely scattered intervals. About 1663, the court Jew Israel Aaron, who was supplier to the army and the electoral court, was permitted to settle in Berlin. After the expulsion of the Jews from Vienna in 1670, the elector issued an edict on May 21, 1671, admitting 50 wealthy Jewish families from Austria into Brandenburg for 20 years. Frederick William I (1713-1740) limited (in a charter granted to the Jews on May 20, 1714) the number of tolerated Jews to 120 householders, but permitted in certain cases the extension of letters of protection to include the second and third child. The Jews of Berlin were permitted to engage in commerce almost without restriction, but were forbidden to trade in drugs and spices, in raw skins, and in imported woolen and fiber goods, and were forbidden to operate breweries or distilleries. Land ownership by Jews had been prohibited in 1697 and required a special license which could be obtained only with great difficulty.

The Jews in Berlin in the 18th century were primarily engaged as commercial bankers and traders in precious metals and stones. Some served as court Jews. Members of the Gomperz family were among the wealthiest in Berlin.

During the reign of Frederick the Great (1740-1786), the economic, cultural, and social position of the Jews in Berlin improved. During the seven years' war, many Jews became wealthy as purveyors to the army and the mint and the rights enjoyed by the Christian bankers were granted to a number of Jews. The number of Jewish manufacturers, bankers, and brokers increased. In 1791, the entire Itzig family received full civil rights, becoming the first German Jews to whom they were granted.

As a concomitant of economic prosperity, there appeared the first signs of cultural adaptation. Under the influence of Moses Mendelssohn, several reforms were introduced in the Berlin community, especially in the sphere of education. In 1778 a school, Juedische Freischule (Chinnukh Ne'arim), was founded, which was conducted along modern comprehensive principles and methods. Mendelssohn and David Friedlander composed the first German reader for children. The dissemination of general (non-Jewish) knowledge was also one of the aims of the Chevrat Doreshei Leshon Avar (association of friends of the Hebrew language), founded in 1783, whose organ Ha-me'assef began to appear in Berlin in 1788. The edict of 1812 finally bestowed Prussian citizenship upon the Jews; all restrictions on their residence rights in the state, as well as the special taxes they had to pay, were now abolished.

In the 1848 revolution the Jews played an active role as fighters on the barricades and members of the civic guard, as orators and journalists, and the like. About one-fifth of Berlin's newspapers were owned by Jews. Berlin Jews played an important role in literature, the theater, music, and art. Their successes aroused fierce reaction among the more conservative elements and Berlin became a center of anti-Semitism. The "Berlin movement" founded by Adolf Stoecker incited the masses against the Jews by alleging that they were the standrad-bearers of capitalism and controlled the press.

From 1840 to 1850 a teachers' seminary functioned under the direction of Leopold Zunz. A teachers' training institute was established in 1859 under the rectorship of Aaron Horowitz. Aaron Bernstein founded the reform society in 1845, and later the reform congregation, which introduced far-flung liturgical reforms, especially during the rabbinate of Samuel Holdheim (1847-1860). At first, divine worship was held both on Saturdays and Sundays and later only on Sundays. The reform congregation was unsuccessful in its attempt to secede from the official community. The Berlin community was again violently shaken when many of its members pressed for the introduction of an organ and modification of the liturgy in the new synagogue. The appointment of Abraham Geiger as rabbi of the Berlin community met with strong opposition from orthodox circles, and in 1869 Azriel (Israel) Hildesheimer and his adherents left the main community and established the Adass Yisroel congregation, which received official recognition in 1885. Geiger founded an institute for Jewish research while Hildesheimer opened a rabbinical seminary. For about 80 years the liberals were predominant in the Berlin community. But liberals and orthodox worked together in full harmony in the central organizations in which, at least for a period, the Zionists also participated. The Berlin rabbi S. Maybaum was among the leaders of the "protest rabbis" who opposed political Zionism.

After the murder of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg in January 1919, anti-Semitic propaganda in Berlin increased. The Kapp putsch (March 1920) had blatant anti-Jewish undertones. Walter Rathenau, the German foreign minister, was assassinated by anti-Semitic nationalists on June 24, 1922. In 1926, after the appointment of joseph Goebbels as Gauleiter in Berlin, anti-Jewish rabble-rousing increased. At the time the Nazis seized power, Berlin's organized Jewish community numbered 172,000 persons. In 1933 the Nazi boycott (April 1) affected Jewish shop owners; legislation against non-Aryans led to dismissal of Jewish professionals, while "Aryanization" of Jewish firms and the dismissal of their Jewish employees was carried out by the exertion of steady economic pressure. The Jewish officials not affected by these measures were eventually ousted under the provisions of the Nuremberg Laws (1935). In these initial years, when the members of the Jewish community were being methodically deprived of their economic standing and civil rights, Jewish religious and cultural life in Berlin underwent a tremendous upsurge. Until November 1938 Jewish newspapers and books were published on an unprecedented scale. Notable among the newspapers was the Berliner Juedisches Gemeindeblatt, a voluminous weekly published by the community. Zionist work was in full swing, especially that of He-chalutz, and in February 1936, a German Zionist convention was held in Berlin (the last to meet there), still reflecting in its composition the vigorous party life of German Zionists.

In June 1938, mass arrests of Jews took place on the charge that they were "asocial", e.g. had a criminal record, including traffic violations, and they were imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. On November 9-10, Kristallnacht marked a turning point in the affairs of Berlin Jewry: synagogues were burned down, Jewish shops destroyed, and 10,000 Jews from Berlin and other places were arrested and imprisoned in Sachsenhausen. The "Bannmeile" was decreed, which restricted Jews to an area within a certain radius from their place of residence.

Jewish newspapers had to cease publication. The only paper was the new Das Medische Narchrichtenblatt which was required to publish Gestapo directives to the Jews.

After the outbreak of war, the living conditions and situation of the Jews worsened. Emigration was still permitted and even encouraged, and existing organizations and institutions (Kulturbund, Jewish schools) were able to continue functioning. However, Jews were drafted for forced labor at wages far below the prevailing rate and with no social benefits, but this at least provided them with a minimum income and delayed their deportation. In the spring of 1940 Heinrich Stahl was removed from his post in the Reichsvereinigung by the Nazi authorities and replaced by Moritz Henschel, a former attorney. In september 1941, a drastic turn for the worse came about. First the Judenstern ("Jewish star", i.e. yellow badge) was introduced. Two weeks later, on the day of atonement, in the middle of a sermon by Rabbi Leo Baeck, the president of the community was summoned to the Gestapo and told that the community would have to prepare for a partial evacuation from the city.

Between October 23 and the end of the year only 62 persons managed to leave, and in 1942 only nine Jews were permitted to go abroad. Then began five major phases in the process of deportation. Eventually, the deportations came to include groups of community employees, and from the fall of 1942, only those Jewish laborers who were employed in vital war production were still safe from deportation.

Those Jews who had gentile wives were taken to a special camp for onward deportation, but when their wives carried out violent street demonstrations, the Gestapo yielded and set their husbands free. On May 13, 1942, an anti-Jewish exhibition, "Soviet Paradise", was opened in Berlin, and was attacked by a group of Jewish communists, led by Herbert Baum. The group was caught and hardly any of them survived. Two hundred and fifty Jews – 50 for each German who had been killed in the attack – were shot, and another 250 were sent to Sachsenhausen and perished there. The community offices were closed down on June 10, 1943, and six days later the "full" Jews among the members of its executive council were deported to Theresienstadt.

At the beginning of 1946, the community had a registered membership of 7,070 people, of whom 4,121 (over 90% of all married members) had non-Jewish spouses, 1,321 had survived the war by hiding, and 1,628 had returned from concentration camps. The Jews were dispersed throughout Berlin, a third of them living in the Soviet sector. Several synagogues were opened, the Jewish hospital resumed its work (although most of its patients and staff were not Jews), and three homes for the aged and a children's home were established. There was no local rabbi or religious teachers, but American Jewish army chaplains volunteered their services.

There are four synagogues in Berlin. In 1959, the city of Berlin erected a large Jewish community center on Fasanenstrasse at the site of which one of Berlin's most magnificent synagogues had stood until 1938. In 1954 the Zionist organization and the Israel appeal renewed their activities in Berlin. There exists an active Jewish women's organization, a B'nai B'rith lodge, a Jewish students' organization, and a youth organization. In 1954 the community had a membership of about 5,000 and by January 1970 this figure had risen to 5,577. The demographic composition of the community is marked by relatively high average age (4,080 are above the age of 41), a low birthrate, and a great number of mixed marriages.

In 1997 there were 10,000 Jews living in Berlin, and it was the largest Jewish community in Germany.

German: Hannover

 

A city in Germany. Hanover is the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony.

 

21ST CENTURY

Hanover is home to three synagogues, two Reform, Synagogue Etz Chaim and Liberale Judische Gemeinde; and one traditional, Hanover Synagogue. The European Center for Jewish Music is also located in Hanover.

The Jewish community has approximately 3,000 members and has continued to grow through the 21st century.

 

HISTORY

Sources dating from 1292 note the presence of Jews in Hanover's old city (Altstadt). Because this period was one in which the city expanded significantly, Jewish moneylenders were welcomed and promised protection by the city council; indeed, a municipal law from 1303 prohibited anyone from mistreating the city’s Jews "by word or deed.” By 1340 the Jewish community was also granted permission to practice kosher butchery.

Nonetheless, during the period of anti-Jewish violence that broke out against Jews throughout Europe in the wake of the Black Death (1348-1349), the Jews were expelled from the city. Between 1369 and 1371 only one Jew lived in Hanover until he, too, was expelled by the council. It was only in 1375 that the dukes who were in charge of the city granted the city the ability to readmit Jews and levy taxes on them. By 1540 there were three Jewish families living in the old city, and five in the new. The growing community also maintained a synagogue and a rabbi.

Although the Jews were permitted to resettle in Hanover, they were still, however, subject to a number of discriminatory rules. Since 1451 they were required to wear a badge that signified that they were Jewish. Additionally, beginning in 1553 the Jews were forced to listed to the court minister Urbanus Rhegius preach in their synagogue.  In fact, between 1553 and 1601 the city’s dukes issued six orders of expulsion against the Jews, but they were either revoked or not carried out; for a long time the Jews were also not allowed to live in the old city. In addition, in 1588 the council forbade all business connections with Jews. The process of community growth alongside persecution continued during the 17th century. In 1608 the six Jewish families living in the new city opened a synagogue. That synagogue was destroyed, however, in 1613 by the city’s residents.

There was progress however, and community growth, particularly during the 18th century. The dukes allowed several wealthy Jews to live in the new city. The court Jew, Leffmann Behrens, established a synagogue in his home in 1704, and advocated for a rabbinate to be founded in the Duchy of Hanover. In 1710 there were seven Jewish families living in the city, but as the century went on, through the 19th century, the Jewish population increased considerably, reaching 537 in 1833.

Hanover became an important center of Jewish learning, as well as the home of several important Jewish figures from the world of finance. The community built a larger synagogue in 1870, which was subsequently expanded in 1900. Hanover became a center for Hebrew printing; among the significant works published in Hanover’s Hebrew press was Jacob B. Asher’s (also known as the Ba’al HaTurim) commentary on the Torha. The Hebraist Solomon Frensdorff led a teacher’s seminary between 1848 and 1880. Another school that functioned in the city between 1893 and 1942 focused on teaching gardening, in particular growing fruits and vegetables.

Prominent rabbis who were active in Hanover included Nathan Adler (1831-1845) and Selig Gronemann (1844-1918).

The Jewish population grew significantly between the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1861 Hanover’s Jews numbered 1,120 (1.9% of the total population). By 1880 that number had grown to 3,450 (2.8% of the total). In 1910 the number of Jews living in Hanover was 5,130 (1.7%). During the interwar period, however, the population began to decline, mostly due to immigration; the rate of immigration increased significantly, however, after the Nazi rise to power in 1933. In 1933 Hanover’s Jewish population was 4,839 (1.1%). By 1939 it had dropped to 2,271 (0.5%). Nonetheless, on the eve of World War II (1939-1945) Hanover was home to one of the ten largest Jewish communities in Germany, with over 20 active cultural and welfare institutions.

 

THE HOLOCAUST

Hanover’s Jewish community, like Jewish communities throughout Germany, were targeted for persecution after the Nazi’s took power. In response, the community intensified its Jewish educational programming, with a particular focus on the youth organizations, and prepared residents for immigration.

The destruction of the community began in earnest in 1938 when the synagogues were destroyed and Jews terrorized. Later, between 1941 and 1945 approximately 2,900 Jews were deported from Hanover to concentration camps.

 

POSTWAR

After the war 66 survivors from the prewar community returned to the city. Together with survivors from other areas who decided to settle in Hanover, they helped reestablish Hanover’s Jewish community. By 1966 there were 450 Jews living in the city (0.03% of the total population). A new synagogue opened in 1963.

 

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Joseph Joachim

Joseph Joachim (1831-1907), composer and violinist,born in Kopcseny (now Kittsee), Hungary (then part of the Austrian Empire, now in Austria). His family moved to Budapest, where Joseph began to study the violin at the age of five. He became a pupil of Hellmesberger and Boehm in Vienna, and then of David and Hauptmann in Leipzig, Germany. In 1843 Joachim made his first public appearance in Leipzig. One year later, he went to London, England, where his performance of the Beethoven Concerto with the London Philharmonic established his English reputation. In 1849 he went to Paris, France, where he performed with Hector Berlioz. From 1849 to 1854 he was concertmaster of Franz Liszt's orchestra at Weimar, Germany, and from 1854 to 1864, concertmaster and conductor of the Royal Hanover Orchestra.

Although Joachim had converted to Protestantism in 1855, he resigned from the Hanover Orchestra in 1864 when they refused to engage the violinist J. M. Gruen because he was a Jew.

Many works were dedicated to Joachim, including the Schumann, Brahms, Dvorak and Bruch violin concertos, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody no. 12 and Schumann's Fourth Symphony (second version, 1853). In 1868, Joachim became director of the Hochschule fuer Musik in Berlin which, under his guidance, developed into one of the leading music institutions of the world. One year later he founded the celebrated Joachim String Quartet which, during its long and active existence, held a honoured position amongst the chamber music ensembles of the world. It was the Joachim String Quartet which was largely responsible for the popularity of the then much neglected last quartets of Beethoven. Joachim's playing the violin had remarkable dignity, repose, and artistic finish, earning him the title of "king of violinists." His interpretations of the concertos of Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Brahms, and the solo sonatas of Bach were unequalled in his time for profundity of conception and for his command over their technical and esthetic problems.

His own compositions include the "Magyar concert"; "Hamlet nyitany" ("Hamlet Overture", op. 4), "Nocturne" (for violin and small orchestra op. 12) and "Dem Andenken Kleists" (op.14). Joachim's three concertos for violin were obviously modeled after Brahms, while other works for orchestra were derived from works or Schumann and Mendelssohn. Probably his most important works are the cadenzas for the concertos of Beethoven and Brahms which are still performed by leading violinists. He composed also a set of "Hebrew Melodies" for viola and piano. As a teacher, Joachim had a far-reaching influence on many of the leading violinist of his generation. His pupils included Hubay, Gregorovitch and Nachez.

Joachim was on friendly terms with Hans von Buelow, Anton Rubinstein, Remenyi, Clara and Robert Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Brahms. His advice and criticism proved invaluable to Brahms during the writing of his violin concerto. In 1877 he received an honorary degree from the University of Cambridge. He was also recipient of honorary degrees from German universities. In 1899, the fiftieth anniversary of his concert career was celebrated throughout the world of music.

Joachim died in Berlin.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
JOACHIM
JOACHIM

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 patronymic surname based on a male ancestor's personal name, in this case of biblical origin.

The surname Joachim is derived from the biblical Hebrew male personal name Yehojachin, which means "God will establish". The biblical Joachim was king of Judah, mentioned in 2 Kings 24, 25; Jeremiah 52, 2 Chronicles 36.

Kittsee

Kittsee

A town in the district of Neusiedl am See in Burgenland, Austria.

The Jewish community of Kittsee began its existence in the 17th century (mentioned for the first time in 1663) and starting with 1716 was one of the "Seven Communities" in the region of Burgenland. After the expulsion of Jews from Vienna and Lower Austria in 1669/71, some Jewish families seem to have settled in Kittsee. A cemetery was established and a synagogue was built. In 1728, a rabbinical court chaired by Maharam Asch Meir dealt with a dispute between Jews from Eisenstadt and Kittsee. The community boasted in the 19th century an impresive community life with several rabbinical authorities. In 1885, the Jewish community of Gattendorf, which had its own synagogue from 1833, was annexed to Kittsee. Gattendorf lost its own rabbi, but kept its shochet (Jewish ritual butcher). Religious services were held in the synagogue of Gattendorf until 1938.The Jews living in Edelstal were also members of the official Kittsee congregation.


In 1932, there were 58 Jews living in Kittsee. The community maintained several institutions, a synagogue and a cemetery that were established in the 17th century. There were also cultural organizations and a Chevra Kadischa (burial society). Among the prominent rabbis of the community a special mention should be amnde of Chaim ben Ascher Anschel, teacher and illustrator, who lived in the late 18th century.


After the annexation of Austria in March 1938, 51 Jews from Kittsee and Kroatisch-Jahrndorf were arrested by the SA, robbed and brought by boat to an island on the Danube. They were saved by the citizens of the Czech village of Theben and by border police. After a short stay in Theben, they were transferred to the police prison in Bratislava, then deported to Hungary and from there driven back to Austria. The SA imprisoned them in barracks, but moved them after protests by some local people from Kittsee.

The synagogue in Kittsee dates back to the 17th century. Gattendorf, annexed to Kittsee in 1885, had a synagogue that was built in 1833. The Kittsee synagogue was demolished in 1950.

Weimar

Weimar

A city in Thuringia, Germany.

A few Jews lived in Weimar as early as the Middle Ages. They were affected by the plague pogroms as well as by the expulsion from the Wettin areas. It was not until the 18th century that a small private community could be constituted. In April 1770 Duchess Anna Amalia von Weimar appointed Jacob Elkan to a court Jew in the Principality of Weimar. In the following years two more families moved to Weimar, so that in 1789 three Jewish families lived in the town.

These joined together to form a "private community". In 1805 Jacob Elkan set up a prayer room and a mikveh in his house, this building still exists today and is located at 25 Windischenstrasse. The initials of the community founder's name can still be read on the capstone of the entrance portal. After Elkan's death the building was used exclusively for residential purposes. Presumably from 1805 religious services were held in other private rooms of the Löser or Ulmann families. Jacob Elkan was also the founder of a Jewish cemetery in Weimar, which was used from 1774 to 1898. In the 20th century the site fell into disrepair and was then used as an orchard after the property passed into non-Jewish ownership. In 1983 part of the Jewish cemetery was restored and is now a memorial.

A religious community in the sense of a corporation under public law, could never be founded in Weimar. In 1903 some of the Jewish residents of Weimar joined together in the "Israelite Religious Association" which in 1925 had 25 members. In addition 80 other Jews lived in Weimar who did not join the association. In 1933 there were 91 Jewish inhabitants and in 1939 there were still eleven Jewish families  living here. In the years between 1942 and 1945, the Jewish residents who remained in Weimar were deported to the Nazi concentration and death camps in Eastern Europe. With the last deportations Jewish life in Weimar was irretrievably destroyed.

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

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.

Berlin
Berlin

The largest city in Germany. The capital of Germany until 1945. After the Second World War and until 1990 the city was divided into West Berlin and East Berlin.

Jews are first mentioned in a letter from the Berlin local council of October 28, 1295, forbidding wool merchants to supply Jews with wool yarn. Jews lived primarily in a Jewish quarter, but a number of wealthier Jews lived outside this area. The Berlin Jews engaged mainly in commerce, handicrafts, money-changing, and money-lending. They paid taxes for the right to slaughter animals ritually, to sell meat, to marry, to circumcise their sons, to buy wine, to receive additional Jews as residents of their community, and to bury their dead. During the Black Death (1349-1350), the houses of the Jews were burned down and the Jewish inhabitants were killed or expelled from the town.

From 1354, Jews settled again in Berlin. In 1446 they were arrested with the rest of the Jews in Brandenburg, and their property was confiscated. A year later Jews again began to return there, and a few wealthy Jews were admitted into Brandenburg in 1509. In 1510 the Jews were accused of desecrating the host and stealing sacred vessels from a church in a village near Berlin. 111 Jews were arrested and subjected to examination, and 51 were sentenced to death; of these 38 were burned at the stake in the new market square together with the real culprit, a Christian, on July 10, 1510. All the accused were proved completely innocent at the diet of Frankfort in 1539 through the efforts of Joseph (Joselmann) b. Gershom of Rosheim and Philipp Melanchthon. In 1571, when the Jews were again expelled from Brandenburg, the Jews of Berlin were expelled "forever". For the next 100 years, a few individual Jews appeared there at widely scattered intervals. About 1663, the court Jew Israel Aaron, who was supplier to the army and the electoral court, was permitted to settle in Berlin. After the expulsion of the Jews from Vienna in 1670, the elector issued an edict on May 21, 1671, admitting 50 wealthy Jewish families from Austria into Brandenburg for 20 years. Frederick William I (1713-1740) limited (in a charter granted to the Jews on May 20, 1714) the number of tolerated Jews to 120 householders, but permitted in certain cases the extension of letters of protection to include the second and third child. The Jews of Berlin were permitted to engage in commerce almost without restriction, but were forbidden to trade in drugs and spices, in raw skins, and in imported woolen and fiber goods, and were forbidden to operate breweries or distilleries. Land ownership by Jews had been prohibited in 1697 and required a special license which could be obtained only with great difficulty.

The Jews in Berlin in the 18th century were primarily engaged as commercial bankers and traders in precious metals and stones. Some served as court Jews. Members of the Gomperz family were among the wealthiest in Berlin.

During the reign of Frederick the Great (1740-1786), the economic, cultural, and social position of the Jews in Berlin improved. During the seven years' war, many Jews became wealthy as purveyors to the army and the mint and the rights enjoyed by the Christian bankers were granted to a number of Jews. The number of Jewish manufacturers, bankers, and brokers increased. In 1791, the entire Itzig family received full civil rights, becoming the first German Jews to whom they were granted.

As a concomitant of economic prosperity, there appeared the first signs of cultural adaptation. Under the influence of Moses Mendelssohn, several reforms were introduced in the Berlin community, especially in the sphere of education. In 1778 a school, Juedische Freischule (Chinnukh Ne'arim), was founded, which was conducted along modern comprehensive principles and methods. Mendelssohn and David Friedlander composed the first German reader for children. The dissemination of general (non-Jewish) knowledge was also one of the aims of the Chevrat Doreshei Leshon Avar (association of friends of the Hebrew language), founded in 1783, whose organ Ha-me'assef began to appear in Berlin in 1788. The edict of 1812 finally bestowed Prussian citizenship upon the Jews; all restrictions on their residence rights in the state, as well as the special taxes they had to pay, were now abolished.

In the 1848 revolution the Jews played an active role as fighters on the barricades and members of the civic guard, as orators and journalists, and the like. About one-fifth of Berlin's newspapers were owned by Jews. Berlin Jews played an important role in literature, the theater, music, and art. Their successes aroused fierce reaction among the more conservative elements and Berlin became a center of anti-Semitism. The "Berlin movement" founded by Adolf Stoecker incited the masses against the Jews by alleging that they were the standrad-bearers of capitalism and controlled the press.

From 1840 to 1850 a teachers' seminary functioned under the direction of Leopold Zunz. A teachers' training institute was established in 1859 under the rectorship of Aaron Horowitz. Aaron Bernstein founded the reform society in 1845, and later the reform congregation, which introduced far-flung liturgical reforms, especially during the rabbinate of Samuel Holdheim (1847-1860). At first, divine worship was held both on Saturdays and Sundays and later only on Sundays. The reform congregation was unsuccessful in its attempt to secede from the official community. The Berlin community was again violently shaken when many of its members pressed for the introduction of an organ and modification of the liturgy in the new synagogue. The appointment of Abraham Geiger as rabbi of the Berlin community met with strong opposition from orthodox circles, and in 1869 Azriel (Israel) Hildesheimer and his adherents left the main community and established the Adass Yisroel congregation, which received official recognition in 1885. Geiger founded an institute for Jewish research while Hildesheimer opened a rabbinical seminary. For about 80 years the liberals were predominant in the Berlin community. But liberals and orthodox worked together in full harmony in the central organizations in which, at least for a period, the Zionists also participated. The Berlin rabbi S. Maybaum was among the leaders of the "protest rabbis" who opposed political Zionism.

After the murder of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg in January 1919, anti-Semitic propaganda in Berlin increased. The Kapp putsch (March 1920) had blatant anti-Jewish undertones. Walter Rathenau, the German foreign minister, was assassinated by anti-Semitic nationalists on June 24, 1922. In 1926, after the appointment of joseph Goebbels as Gauleiter in Berlin, anti-Jewish rabble-rousing increased. At the time the Nazis seized power, Berlin's organized Jewish community numbered 172,000 persons. In 1933 the Nazi boycott (April 1) affected Jewish shop owners; legislation against non-Aryans led to dismissal of Jewish professionals, while "Aryanization" of Jewish firms and the dismissal of their Jewish employees was carried out by the exertion of steady economic pressure. The Jewish officials not affected by these measures were eventually ousted under the provisions of the Nuremberg Laws (1935). In these initial years, when the members of the Jewish community were being methodically deprived of their economic standing and civil rights, Jewish religious and cultural life in Berlin underwent a tremendous upsurge. Until November 1938 Jewish newspapers and books were published on an unprecedented scale. Notable among the newspapers was the Berliner Juedisches Gemeindeblatt, a voluminous weekly published by the community. Zionist work was in full swing, especially that of He-chalutz, and in February 1936, a German Zionist convention was held in Berlin (the last to meet there), still reflecting in its composition the vigorous party life of German Zionists.

In June 1938, mass arrests of Jews took place on the charge that they were "asocial", e.g. had a criminal record, including traffic violations, and they were imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. On November 9-10, Kristallnacht marked a turning point in the affairs of Berlin Jewry: synagogues were burned down, Jewish shops destroyed, and 10,000 Jews from Berlin and other places were arrested and imprisoned in Sachsenhausen. The "Bannmeile" was decreed, which restricted Jews to an area within a certain radius from their place of residence.

Jewish newspapers had to cease publication. The only paper was the new Das Medische Narchrichtenblatt which was required to publish Gestapo directives to the Jews.

After the outbreak of war, the living conditions and situation of the Jews worsened. Emigration was still permitted and even encouraged, and existing organizations and institutions (Kulturbund, Jewish schools) were able to continue functioning. However, Jews were drafted for forced labor at wages far below the prevailing rate and with no social benefits, but this at least provided them with a minimum income and delayed their deportation. In the spring of 1940 Heinrich Stahl was removed from his post in the Reichsvereinigung by the Nazi authorities and replaced by Moritz Henschel, a former attorney. In september 1941, a drastic turn for the worse came about. First the Judenstern ("Jewish star", i.e. yellow badge) was introduced. Two weeks later, on the day of atonement, in the middle of a sermon by Rabbi Leo Baeck, the president of the community was summoned to the Gestapo and told that the community would have to prepare for a partial evacuation from the city.

Between October 23 and the end of the year only 62 persons managed to leave, and in 1942 only nine Jews were permitted to go abroad. Then began five major phases in the process of deportation. Eventually, the deportations came to include groups of community employees, and from the fall of 1942, only those Jewish laborers who were employed in vital war production were still safe from deportation.

Those Jews who had gentile wives were taken to a special camp for onward deportation, but when their wives carried out violent street demonstrations, the Gestapo yielded and set their husbands free. On May 13, 1942, an anti-Jewish exhibition, "Soviet Paradise", was opened in Berlin, and was attacked by a group of Jewish communists, led by Herbert Baum. The group was caught and hardly any of them survived. Two hundred and fifty Jews – 50 for each German who had been killed in the attack – were shot, and another 250 were sent to Sachsenhausen and perished there. The community offices were closed down on June 10, 1943, and six days later the "full" Jews among the members of its executive council were deported to Theresienstadt.

At the beginning of 1946, the community had a registered membership of 7,070 people, of whom 4,121 (over 90% of all married members) had non-Jewish spouses, 1,321 had survived the war by hiding, and 1,628 had returned from concentration camps. The Jews were dispersed throughout Berlin, a third of them living in the Soviet sector. Several synagogues were opened, the Jewish hospital resumed its work (although most of its patients and staff were not Jews), and three homes for the aged and a children's home were established. There was no local rabbi or religious teachers, but American Jewish army chaplains volunteered their services.

There are four synagogues in Berlin. In 1959, the city of Berlin erected a large Jewish community center on Fasanenstrasse at the site of which one of Berlin's most magnificent synagogues had stood until 1938. In 1954 the Zionist organization and the Israel appeal renewed their activities in Berlin. There exists an active Jewish women's organization, a B'nai B'rith lodge, a Jewish students' organization, and a youth organization. In 1954 the community had a membership of about 5,000 and by January 1970 this figure had risen to 5,577. The demographic composition of the community is marked by relatively high average age (4,080 are above the age of 41), a low birthrate, and a great number of mixed marriages.

In 1997 there were 10,000 Jews living in Berlin, and it was the largest Jewish community in Germany.

Hanover

German: Hannover

 

A city in Germany. Hanover is the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony.

 

21ST CENTURY

Hanover is home to three synagogues, two Reform, Synagogue Etz Chaim and Liberale Judische Gemeinde; and one traditional, Hanover Synagogue. The European Center for Jewish Music is also located in Hanover.

The Jewish community has approximately 3,000 members and has continued to grow through the 21st century.

 

HISTORY

Sources dating from 1292 note the presence of Jews in Hanover's old city (Altstadt). Because this period was one in which the city expanded significantly, Jewish moneylenders were welcomed and promised protection by the city council; indeed, a municipal law from 1303 prohibited anyone from mistreating the city’s Jews "by word or deed.” By 1340 the Jewish community was also granted permission to practice kosher butchery.

Nonetheless, during the period of anti-Jewish violence that broke out against Jews throughout Europe in the wake of the Black Death (1348-1349), the Jews were expelled from the city. Between 1369 and 1371 only one Jew lived in Hanover until he, too, was expelled by the council. It was only in 1375 that the dukes who were in charge of the city granted the city the ability to readmit Jews and levy taxes on them. By 1540 there were three Jewish families living in the old city, and five in the new. The growing community also maintained a synagogue and a rabbi.

Although the Jews were permitted to resettle in Hanover, they were still, however, subject to a number of discriminatory rules. Since 1451 they were required to wear a badge that signified that they were Jewish. Additionally, beginning in 1553 the Jews were forced to listed to the court minister Urbanus Rhegius preach in their synagogue.  In fact, between 1553 and 1601 the city’s dukes issued six orders of expulsion against the Jews, but they were either revoked or not carried out; for a long time the Jews were also not allowed to live in the old city. In addition, in 1588 the council forbade all business connections with Jews. The process of community growth alongside persecution continued during the 17th century. In 1608 the six Jewish families living in the new city opened a synagogue. That synagogue was destroyed, however, in 1613 by the city’s residents.

There was progress however, and community growth, particularly during the 18th century. The dukes allowed several wealthy Jews to live in the new city. The court Jew, Leffmann Behrens, established a synagogue in his home in 1704, and advocated for a rabbinate to be founded in the Duchy of Hanover. In 1710 there were seven Jewish families living in the city, but as the century went on, through the 19th century, the Jewish population increased considerably, reaching 537 in 1833.

Hanover became an important center of Jewish learning, as well as the home of several important Jewish figures from the world of finance. The community built a larger synagogue in 1870, which was subsequently expanded in 1900. Hanover became a center for Hebrew printing; among the significant works published in Hanover’s Hebrew press was Jacob B. Asher’s (also known as the Ba’al HaTurim) commentary on the Torha. The Hebraist Solomon Frensdorff led a teacher’s seminary between 1848 and 1880. Another school that functioned in the city between 1893 and 1942 focused on teaching gardening, in particular growing fruits and vegetables.

Prominent rabbis who were active in Hanover included Nathan Adler (1831-1845) and Selig Gronemann (1844-1918).

The Jewish population grew significantly between the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1861 Hanover’s Jews numbered 1,120 (1.9% of the total population). By 1880 that number had grown to 3,450 (2.8% of the total). In 1910 the number of Jews living in Hanover was 5,130 (1.7%). During the interwar period, however, the population began to decline, mostly due to immigration; the rate of immigration increased significantly, however, after the Nazi rise to power in 1933. In 1933 Hanover’s Jewish population was 4,839 (1.1%). By 1939 it had dropped to 2,271 (0.5%). Nonetheless, on the eve of World War II (1939-1945) Hanover was home to one of the ten largest Jewish communities in Germany, with over 20 active cultural and welfare institutions.

 

THE HOLOCAUST

Hanover’s Jewish community, like Jewish communities throughout Germany, were targeted for persecution after the Nazi’s took power. In response, the community intensified its Jewish educational programming, with a particular focus on the youth organizations, and prepared residents for immigration.

The destruction of the community began in earnest in 1938 when the synagogues were destroyed and Jews terrorized. Later, between 1941 and 1945 approximately 2,900 Jews were deported from Hanover to concentration camps.

 

POSTWAR

After the war 66 survivors from the prewar community returned to the city. Together with survivors from other areas who decided to settle in Hanover, they helped reestablish Hanover’s Jewish community. By 1966 there were 450 Jews living in the city (0.03% of the total population). A new synagogue opened in 1963.