Bernstadt on Weide

General information: First Jewish presence: 14th century; peak Jewish population: 245 in 1871; Jewish population in 1933: 52
Summary: Jews lived in Bernstadt (Polish: Bierutow) during the Middle Ages, but the town was one of three in the area with relatively small Jewish populations. In 1780, after the arrival in Bernstadt of Jews from Breslau, the Jewish population numbered 101. Burials were conducted at a local cemetery between 1765 and 1900, after which a new cemetery was consecrated in a small, somewhat sunken area on Vogelsang. In 1809, one year after the synagogue burned down in a fire, a new synagogue was inaugurated on Junkerstrasse. Ludwig Meidner (1884-1966), the famous expressionist painter and graphic artist, was born in Bernstadt, as was Horace Kallen (1882-1974), the Jewish-American philosopher. In 1932/33, the leaders of the community were Moritz Hollaender, Hans Perlberg and Simon Einstein. Moritz Ephraim headed the representation committee; Dr. Wahrmann was rabbi; Ismar Pakula served as teacher/ chazzan; Hans Perlberg headed the chevra kadisha; Elsa Jaretzki managed the sisterhood; and Mrs. Bronitzer headed a charitable organization for the sick. Seven children studied religion in Bernstadt in 1932/33. The synagogue was burned down on Pogrom Night, and Jewish-owned homes and businesses were heavily damaged. By November 19, 1942, only one Jew (he/she was married to a Gentile) lived in Bernstadt.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: EJL, FJG, LJG
Located in: silesia