General information: First Jewish presence: 1789 (one family); peak Jewish population: 290 in 1890; Jewish population in 1933: 186
Summary: A Jewish banker, Leib Jacob Lewin, moved to Marienwerder (present-day Kwidzyn, Poland) in 1790. More Jews settled there during the ensuing decades, but they were forced to pay exorbitant taxes, protection money and, after each wedding or birth, to make special donations to the royal coffer. It was not until 1815 that the town authorities permitted the Jewish community to consecrate a cemetery. The Jewish population peaked in the second half of the 19th century. Most Marienwerder Jews were merchants, but several large stores and prominent businesses were owned by Jews. Services were conducted in a small prayer hall until 1832, when the community—Jews living in the surrounding villages were members—inaugurated a new synagogue. A century later, a larger synagogue was built in Marienwerder. During the years 1845 to 1850, Dr. Heimann Jolovicz, the local rabbi, attempted unsuccessfully to introduce the congregation to the Reform liturgy. Many Marienwerder Jews either left for larger cities or emigrated from Germany during the 1920s and 1930s. On Pogrom Night, SA men burned down the synagogue and destroyed the Jewish cemetery. Members of at least 25 local Jewish families perished in the Shoah.
Author / Sources: Fred Gottlieb
Sources: EJL, LJG
Located in: posen-west-prussia