General information: First Jewish presence: early 1400s; peak Jewish population: 100 in 1900; Jewish population in 1933: 34
Summary: Neubrandenburg’s medieval Jewish community was expelled from the town in 1492. Jews tried to return to Neubrandenburg in the early 1700s, but to no avail. Finally, in 1800, the village elders allowed Jews to settle permanently in the town, on condition that they pay a head tax for each Jew; the tax was levied on every individual as well as on his/her belongings. It was not until 1860 that local Jews were permitted to establish an official community, build a synagogue and consecrate a cemetery. The community’s first synagogue was small, but a larger house of worship was built in 1876 and inaugurated in 1877. Neubrandenburg Jews also founded and maintained a school. Beginning in 1937, when anti-Semitism became rampant in Neubrandenburg, Jews started to leave the town in large numbers, so that only 15 Jews lived there by 1938. On Pogrom Night (November 1938), the synagogue was ransacked and set on fire; the arch above the entrance to the cemetery was also torched. A memorial plaque was unveiled at the synagogue site in 1988; as of this writing, the municipality is considering a more elaborate memorial.
Photo: The synagogue of Neubrandenburg, in or around the year 1910. Courtesy of: City Archive of Neubrandenburg.
Author / Sources: Moshe Finkel
Sources: EJL, LJG, SIA