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Coat of arms of Krotoszyn Alternate names: Krotoszyn [Pol], Krotoschin [Ger], Krotoshin. 51°42' N, 17°27' E, 54 miles SSE of Poznań (Posen), 45 miles NNE of Wrocław (Breslau). 1900 Jewish population: 527. This town in central Poland with 30,010 inhabitants in 2005 has been part of the Greater Poland Voivodeship since 1999 and was within Kalisz Voivodeship from 1975 to 1998 .In the German era, this town was in the Prussian province of Posen. The dominant trade is grain and seeds. The castle of Krotoszyn was the center of a mediatized principality formed in 1819 out of the holdings of the Prussian crown and granted to the prince of Thurn and Taxis in compensation for his relinquishing control over the Prussian postal system. Jewish settlement in Krotoszyn probably began at the end of the 16th century with the first rabbi Hirsch ben Samson in 1617 and 311 Jewish homes in 1629, most in the suburbs on the way to Wroclaw. On July 19, the Jewish community received the first privilege from magnate Joseph Potocki, the Crown hetman, allowing Jews to engage in trade, reconstruct the synagogue and houses after the fire, and establish of its own cemetery on the way to Ostrow Wielkopolski. Fire that broke out in 1774 and destroyed half the city including the Jewish quarter with a synagogue and beit midrash, the torah, manuscripts stored in a Jewish school, and other valuables when 1,384 Jews lived there. The Jewish community recovered only after a long period of time. Not until November 1839 did the Ninth Krotoszyńska Corporation purchase Jewish Street. The Potter's Square [Garncarskiej plac] new synagogue was dedicated in 1846 when the 2,327 Jews were about 30% of the population of the town. A Jewish elementary school was located at today's ul. Krótkiej. In the 19th century many Jews lived here. Scholars were Asian languages expert Georg Huth (1867-1906) and Professor Albert Herbst (1839-1907). The most famous Jew was Loebel Monasch Bar (1801-1879), author of "Memoirs" and a printer of prayer books including two currently exhibited at the Museum of Regional PTTK in Krotoszyn. Jews began immigrating to Germany at the beginning of the 20th century after establishment of an independent Polish state. By 1921, 1,200 Jews remained. On the eve of WWII, only 172 remained. In 1922, the Jews turned over synagogue, cemetery, school, and other property management to Poznan kahal. On October 16, 1939, the Nazis deported the last seventeen Jews to the ghetto in Lodz. In 1941, Germany destroyed the Krotoszyń synagogue. [June 2009]

CEMETERY: The Jewish cemetery in Krotoszyn at ul. Ostrowskiej between the streets Głowackiego and Sosnową covered 0.5 hectares. Founded about 1638 and serving until the outbreak of WWII, this was the only Jewish cemetery for a long time and served Jews from Leszna, Kobylina, Kępna, Zdun, and Ostrowa Wielkopolskiego and in 1761 Wroclaw. Buried there are Rabbi Menachem Mendel ben krotoszyński Auerbach (d. 1689); Jewish martyr Moses Karpeles from Prague (d. 1729); famous rabbi of Wroclaw, Chajjim Jon. During WWII, Germany damaged the cemetery's gravestones and used them as building blocks in many places of the city. Among others, one was set up near the Church of St. Murek. Rocha. Today, in the cemetery on ul. Garncarskiej is a Potter's Field. On part of the cemetery, residential buildings were erected. The former mortuary house is now a library. Matzevot were moved from the site of the devastated cemetery in 1975 to places unknown. As of September 2006, the only cemetery matzevot visible is one placed in the hall on the ground floor of the Regional Museum in Krotoszyn PTTK, that of Jakub, who died February 21, 1722. The Hebrew inscription reads "Here was buried Jacob Kac, husband perfect and right, and in poor years, Mr. Jakub Kac (of blessed memory), the son of Mr. Lejb Kac, who was szamesem in Wroclaw and died on Saturday in the month of Adar 482." The matzevot wall surrounding the Church of St.. Rocha was demolished mid-2005 and the gravestones cleaned and stored on the premises of the city office with a view to a future lapidarium. Large pieces of gravestones used also along the street, factory, and in the city park at the playground (built as walls) were removed at the time of the cemetery restoration. During the visit of Rabbi Michael Schudrich Krotoszyn on May 10, 2005, permission was granted for construction of the lapidarium. Dr. Rafal Witkowski, a historian from the University in Poznan and Adam Mickiewicz, University in Poznan drove the project. The monument will be built of matzevot fragments along the pavement of ul. Ostrowski with other matzevot fragments. Photos. Map [May 2009]

US Commission No. POCE000483   

Alternate name: Krotoschin [Ger]. Krotoszyn is located in Kaliskie at 51°42' 17°27', 75 km NE of Wroclaw. Cemetery location: Ostrowska St. between Glowackiego and Sosnowa streets. Present town population is 11,213 with no Jews.

  • Town: Urzad Miejski, ul. Kollataja 7.
  • Regional: PSOZ-WKZ, ul. Franciszkanska 3/5, 62-800 Kalisz.
  • Interested: Heleria Kasperska, Muzeum Maly, Rynek 1.

Earliest known Jewish community was probably end of 16th century. 1921 Jewish population was 110. Krotoszyn was one of the most important Jewish communities of Greater Poland in the 16th and 17th century. Living here were Abraham Cohen (died 1639) and Eisig Kalisch (died 1666). The Orthodox and Progressive/Reform Jewish cemetery was probably established at the end of the 16th century with last burial before WWII. Until 1762 Wroclaw, used this cemetery. Leszno, Kobylin, Kepno, Zduny, and Wroclaw also used this cemetery. The isolated suburban flat land has no sign or marker. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all with no wall or gate. The present size of the cemetery is 0.5 hectares. There are no gravestones. One removed stone is in the museum. The stone at the museum has inscriptions in Hebrew and German. Others were incorporated into Fabryczua St. and in a low wall around the church of St. Roch. Photos of some tombstones are preserved at the museum. No mass graves. Municipality owns site used for storage, waste dumping, and forest. There are 3 private depots where the cemetery used to be. Properties adjacent are residential. The cemetery is not visited. The cemetery, vandalized during WWII, has no maintenance or care. Vegetation and incompatible nearby development are serious threats.

Eleonora Bergman and Michal Witwicki visited the site 17 Oct 1991 and Michal Witwicki, Denibowskiego 12/53, 02-784 Warszawa, tel. 6418345 completed survey. Documentation: Dr. Heinrich Berger, Geschichte der Juden in Krotoschin, 1907. An interview was conducted with Heleria Kasperska. (See above)

BOOK: Author: Lewin, Isaac, collector. Title: Lewin collection, [ca. 1200]-1942, [ca. 1700]-1942 (bulk) Description: ca. 22.5 linear ft. Notes: Contains variety of records of Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe especially in Posen, Silesia and other German-speaking areas, including pinkasim (record books) of communities and societies, memorial books with lists of deaths, …, cemetery registers, society statutes, synagogue seat records, and other documents of communities ... Location: Yeshiva University. Special Collections. Rare Books and Manuscripts, New York, NY. Control No.: NYYH88-A76 [December 2000]

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 June 2009 02:28
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