General information: First Jewish presence: 14th century; peak Jewish population: unknown; Jewish population in 1933: 118
Summary: The earliest available record of a Jewish community in Arnswalde is dated 1321. Records from the 16th and 17th centuries offer scant information about the few Jews who lived in Arnswalde during this period. The modern community came into being at the beginning of the 18th century. Local Jews consecrated a cemetery and a synagogue, the latter of which, located on 7 Judenstrasse, had 208 members in 1880. We also know that Rabbi Abraham Altmann served the community from 1886 until 1933, and that teacher Abraham Berliner, who later became a leading Orthodox scholar, was employed there between 1859 and 1865. Anti-Jewish riots erupted in Arnswalde in the 1890s, when Jewish-owned shops were demolished. Blood libel accusations were made in 1895, resulting in assaults against Jews and the desecration of the Jewish cemetery. In 1933, 118 Jews lived in Arnswalde, served by a chazzan who also performed the duties of shochet. Active in the community were a chevra kadisha and the Israel Women’s Association, the latter of which was founded in 1884 to aid the poor. In February 1934, rioters threw rocks and fired shots at and into Jewish homes; SA troops damaged the synagogue’s interior and its Torah scrolls. Most Jews left Arnswalde after the violence. On Pogrom Night (November 1938), the synagogue was burned down. Several months later, in May 1939, 40 Jews were still living in the town. At least 15 Arnswalde Jews perished in the Shoah.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn; Sources: EJL, FJG, LJG, YV ; www.mementor.de/Erzwungene%20Wanderschaft/J%FCdische%20 Familien.html
Located in: posen-west-prussia