General information: First Jewish presence: 1720; peak Jewish population: 555 in 1889; Jewish population in 1933: 114
Summary: Three Jewish families lived in Buetow (present-day Bytow, Poland) in the mid-18th century. Later, during the 19th century, many Jews from impoverished West Prussia settled in Buetow and established a sizable congregation. The town was situated next to the border, therefore trade with Jews on the Polish side flourished. In 1856, the community consecrated a synagogue on Synagogenstrasse (later renamed Muehlenstrasse), next to the old post office. Despite its considerable size, the congregation did not have its own rabbi, employing instead an official who served as teacher, cantor and head of religious ceremonies. Local Jews maintained a cemetery on Lazaretstrasse. Toward the end of the 19th century, Jews made up 10% of Buetow’s total population. A charitable sisterhood and a literary club were active in the community. After the outbreak of anti-Semitic riots in the early 20th century, during which windows in apartments, stores and the synagogue were repeatedly smashed, many Jews began to leave the town and area. In 1925, the Jewish population of Buetow was a mere 1.5% of the total population; by 1935, as a result of the anti-Jewish boycott, all Jewish-owned businesses had been bankrupted or sold. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue was set on fire, after which the building burned to the ground and the remaining 40 (approximately) Jews were deported to the East. Approximately 130 Buetow Jews perished during the Nazi period.
Author / Sources: Ruth Martina Trucks
Sources: EJL, LJG, FJG, YV
Located in: pomerania