General information: First Jewish presence: 1481; peak Jewish population: 327 in 1871; Jewish population in 1933: 100
Summary: In 1705, seven Jewish families lived in Pyritz (present-day Pyrzyce, Poland). Pyritz’s Jewish cemetery, consecrated (at the latest) in 1735, was located near Muehlengraben, bordering the city cemetery. We do not know when the community opened its modest synagogue on Wollenbergstrasse, but records suggest that it was as early as 1794; in 1870, the synagogue was moved to a new building. This flourishing Orthodox congregation employed a rabbi from 1850 to 1893, after which a community official served as spiritual leader of the congregation. Local Jews maintained a sisterhood, a charity group, a chevra kadisha and a library. In 1895, right before the community membership started to dwindle, Jews made up 3 percent of the general population. Nazi boycotts crippled what remained of Pyritz’s Jewish business community. In April 1935, a gang of Hitler Youth members broke the synagogue’s windows. That same year, a branch of the German Zionist organization was founded in Pyritz. The synagogue was burned down on Pogrom Night. More than 70 Pyritz Jews were murdered in the camps.
Author / Sources: Ruth Martina Trucks
Sources: EJL, LJG, FJG, YV
Located in: pomerania