General information: First Jewish presence: 14th century; peak Jewish population: 145 in 1880; Jewish population in 1933: 150
Summary: The history of Jewish Fuerstenwalde dates back to 1379, when an unidentified Jew was burned at the stake there. By 1743, four Jewish families lived in the town. During the 1850s, Fuerstenwalde’s 27 Jews conducted services together with the Jews of Frankfurt an der Oder. Local Jews set up a synagogue on the premises of a defunct company and conducted services there until 1824, when a new house of worship was built at 96 Frankfurter Strasse. It was not, however, until 1886 that a Jewish community was founded officially. The old Jewish cemetery, consecrated near the Neues Tor in 1795, was used until approximately 1829; in 1850, it was taken over by a local brewery. The new cemetery on Frankfurter Strasse, on the corner with Gruenstrasse, was consecrated in 1829 and enlarged a century later. (In 1980, after a series of desecrations, most of the tombstones were removed; approximately 25 are still intact.) The first Jewish school for the hearing and speech impaired in Germany, the Israelitische Taubstummenanstalt, was founded in Fuerstenwalde in 1873. In 1933, a Zionist agricultural school was established on the Neuendorf estate; its last 80 trainees were deported to Berlin, and from there to Theresienstadt and to Auschwitz, in April 1943. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue was burned down, the cemetery desecrated and the mortuary destroyed; Jewish shops were vandalized and looted, and Jews were publicly humiliated and assaulted. Later, in 1942, the famous German-Jewish entertainer Hans Rosenthal, who survived the war in a Berlin hide-out, was forced to work in Fuerstenwalde’s municipal cemetery. At least 22 Fuerstenwalde Jews perished in the Shoah. Only six, probably protected by mixed marriages, remained in Fuerstenwalde after the deportations.
Author / Sources: Beate Grosz-Wenker
Sources: AJ, EJL, GJF, SIA
Located in: brandenburg