General information: First Jewish presence: 1707 (possibly earlier); peak Jewish population: unclear; Jewish population in 1933: 123
Summary: The Jewish community of Osterode (present-day Ostroda, Poland) was established in 1707. Available Jewish population figures for Osterode are as follows: 214 in 1895, 200 in 1913 and 240-250 at some point in the early 20th century. Several Osterode Jews were involved in municipal politics, even as magistrates. In 1735, the community consecrated a cemetery at Armii Ludowej, surrounded by what is now a broken masonry wall and gate. Osterode’s synagogue—it replaced a prayer room first mentioned in records from 1735—was inaugurated in 1893. By 1937, the Jewish population had dropped to 75. Those who decided to leave were forced to sell their businesses and property at great financial loss: Dr. Julius Samulon, for example, received 5,000 Reichsmarks for a house worth 132,000. The synagogue and cemetery were destroyed on Pogrom Night. By May 1939, all but one Jew had left Osterode. A monument, commemorating the 25 Soviet citizens who were buried there, was later unveiled at the ravaged cemetery, where, according to a recent source, one can find several intact gravestones. On Langer Krummer Bach, a memorial plaque in German and Hebrew commemorates the destroyed synagogue. Every year, a group of Russian survivors meets in Osterode.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans Sources: EJL, LJG www.ostpreussen.net
Located in: east-prussia