General information: First Jewish presence: approx. 1700; peak Jewish population: 600 in 1802; Jewish population in 1933: 62
Summary: During the 1800s, the city of Alt-Strelitz was the most important Jewish community in Mecklenburg, home to the largest Jewish population, the largest synagogue and the most prestigious and respected rabbi in the region. This was made possible by a local duke who welcomed the Jews and allowed them to establish prayer rooms, a cemetery and an elementary school. When the Jewish community outgrew the prayer rooms, Duke Adolf Friedrich IV not only approved the decision to purchase land for a synagogue, but gave of his own money and helped arrange financing for the endeavor. The synagogue—a massive building—was completed in 1763; the inauguration ceremony was attended by local landowners and politicians. Nearly a century later, in 1847, the synagogue was completely renovated, after which it was inaugurated once again. Rabbi Jacob Hamburger served as rabbi for nearly fifty years until his death in 1911. He apparently kept the community together, for it was after his death that many Jews left Alt-Strelitz. Jews and Gentiles coexisted peacefully in Alt-Strelitz until 1935. On Pogrom Night (November 1938), three young Nazis broke into the synagogue, smashed all the windows and set it on fire. Shortly afterwards, the Jewish community was forced to pay for the building’s demolition. In 1988, a memorial plaque was unveiled at the former synagogue site.
Photo: The synagogue of Neustrelitz in or around the year 1930. Courtesy of: the Karbe Wagner Archive for Regional Historical Research, Neustrelitz.
Photo 2: The burning synagogue of Neustrelitz. Courtesy of: the Karbe Wagner Archive for Regional Historical Research, Neustrelitz.
Author / Sources: Moshe Finkel