Can we trace and identify the original pre-war population? What do we know about them? Is it possible to trace their ancestors, or are their names now lost forever? This website will hopefully answer some of these questions, and should provide you with the resources needed for tracing your ancestors.
This website is not meant to provide a comprehensive historical account of the Jews in Krakow, their culture, their enormous Talmudic contribution, or their decimation during the Shoah ...there are numerous books on these topics. Rather, this website is intended to provide the reader with data, ...hopefully lots of data, ...data that can be used to trace one's ancestry. In fact, this site already has pointers to over 150,000 individuals from Krakow, spanning a period of more than 2 centuries. Since many of these records also have secondary references listing the names of parents, spouses or children, the total number of individuals probably exceeds 200,000!
In order for these records to grow, your input is needed. We would welcome any list comprising 30 or more Jewish names from Krakow ...be it members of a society, a synagogue committee, or a sports club. Although such lists may not directly contribute to genealogical research, they do provide us with a better perspective of the lives of our ancestors. Also, they at least provide a date at which the individual was known to be alive.
Use of Terms: In 1335, Casimir the Great established the town of Kazimierz specifically for Jews. His benevolence towards the Jews supposedly was based on his love for a Jewish girl Esther, who - according to the same legend - lived at 46 Ulica Krakowska in Krakow. Although Kazimierz was originally a separate and independent city, it later became incorporated into Krakow. The original area of Kazimierz, however, remained a Jewish district and was even called the Judenstadt. Although Jews were compelled to live there, Kazimierz was not really a ghetto. The actual Jewish ghetto was established much later - during World War II - in Podgorze, a southern suburb of Krakow on the other side of the Vistula river.
Krakow's Rema Synagogue
The Rema synagogue (acronym for Rabbi Moses Isserles) is located in Kazimierz, the Jewish quarter of Krakow, and was founded in 1553. The Rema was considered to be the 'Maimonides of Polish Jewry' and was known for his universal outlook, his extensive Talmudic and secular knowledge, his manner of study, and his humility. His published works included treatises on halakhah, philosophy, kabbalah, homiletics, and science.
The adjacent Rema cemetery was used until 1799, and contains the graves of the Rema and his family. (Click here to see eminent burials in the Rema Cemetery). Prior to World War II, thousands of Polish Jews visited his grave every year on the anniversary of his death. After the war, the cemetery was restored and pieces of broken headstones which could not be matched were used to make a memorial cemetery wall.
Images from this shul can be seen in the Krakow Album.
Isaac Shul Members - 1939
The table below lists the male members of the Izaaka (or Isaac) Synagogue in Krakow for the year 1939. Follow this link to see a picture of the Isaac Shul.
(Data entered by J. Schamroth. Source material: Sprinzak Library, Jerusalem)
ABRAHAMER Leon ABRAHAMOWICZ Leib ALEKSANDROWICZ Pawel ALEKSANDROWICZ Jozef BANDET Joachim BECKMANN Markus BECKMANN Maks BERGER Jakob BERTIG Moses BERTIG Jozef BIRNBAUM Emanuel BIRNBAUM Edmund BLASBALG Salo BLAUFEDER Henryk BLEIBERG Fischel BLOCH Naftali BLOCH Hermann BOCHENEK Salomon BORGENICHT Majer BRANDSDORFER Jakob BRANDSDORFER Dawid BREIT Jakob DALLET Hirsch DAM Izrael DAM Leib DANZIGER Izrael DAWIDOWICZ Wiktor DR. WETSTEIN Ignacy DREKSLER Leon EBER Hirsch EINSEIDLER Osiasz EINTRACHT Izak EISENBACH Mendel FADEN N. FEIL Markus FEUERSTEIN Zygmund FINDER Abraham FINKER Jozef FISCHER Tobias FISCHER Dawid FLINK Benjamin FLINK Markus FREI Hesie FREI Jozef FREUNDLICH Jakob GASTFREUND Wolf GEMEINER Adolf GESCHWIND Izak GOLDBAUM Samuel GOLDSTEIN Oheim GOLDSTEIN Leib GOLDSTEIN Leizer GOLDSTEIN Moses GOLDSTEIN Natan GOLDSTEIN Samuel GOLDZIUK Jakob GREI Szymon GREI Osiasz GROSS Izak GROSS Akiwa GRUNBAUM Markus GRUNBERG Efroim GRUNWALD Markus GTENSTEIN Leib HALPERN Lazar HALPERN Pinkus HALPERN Mozes HAMMERSCHLAG Samuel HAUSER Samuel HERZOG Zyga HERZOG Izrael HEUBLUM Markus HEUBLUM Izak HOLLANDER Schachne HORN Abraham HOROWITZ Salo HUDES Juda HUPPERT Szymon ICKOWICZ Lazarz ICKOWICZ Filip IMMERGLUCK Izak JOCHMOWICZ Gerson KALMUS Abraham KANDEL Jakob KELLER Adolf KELLER Hierz KEMPLER Jozef KEMPLER Markus KIRSCH Markus KLEINER Salomon KLEINMANN Efroim KOBYLKA Jozef KRAKAUER Chaim KRANZ Hirsch KRISCHER Henryk KUNSTLER Leon LEBENHEIM Maks - Inz. LEFELHOLS Chaim LENER Jozef LERNER Hirsch LERNER Mendel LEWKOWICZ Leib LIEBERMANN Feliks LILIENTHAL Samuel LINKER Leib LINSNER Adolf LIPSCHUTZ Abraham LOBZOWER Leib LUNDNER Gerson MANGEL Abraham MANHEIMER Mozes MARKOWICZ Artur - Dr. MARMUR N. MARMUR Izak MESSINGER Markus METZGER Markus MINGELGRUNN Jakob MINGELGRUNN Izak MIRISCH Abraham MIRISCH Benjamin MONDERER Bernard MONDERER Ferdynand MUHLSTEIN Bernard MULLER Heinrich MULLER Paul MULLER Bernard MUND Jakob MUNZ Mozes NADEL Bernard NEIGER Dawid NEUFELD Hirsch NEUFELD Jozef NOWOMIAST Gerson OFFNER Emil OSIEK Salomon OSIEK Mendel OSIEK Adolf PANZER Hirsch PAZANOWER Leib PAZANOWER Efroim PEISNER Jozef PELZMANN Abraham PFEFERBERG Adolf PFEFERBERG Chaim PIASECKI Szymon POMEKS Osias POSS Ferdynand - Inz. PROKESCH Zygmund - Inz. RACHES Markus REDNER Mozes ROMER Schmaje ROSENBERG Zygmund ROSENZWEIG Hilel ROSNER Salomon ROSNER Ignacy ROSNER Chaim ROTH Peretz ROTH Samuel ROTTER Jakob RUBINSTEIN Jakob SCHAFER Mozes SCHAFFER Wolf SCHAMROTH Israel SCHAPIRA Aleksander SCHARF Mozes SCHARF Leib SCHAUMER Markus SCHAUMER Adolf SCHEIDLINGER Ignacy SCHIFFER Jakob SCHIFMANN Jozef SCHLAGLIED Majer SCHLAGLIED Dawid SCHNEIDERMANN Abraham SCHNITZER Adolf SCHONBERG Alter SCHULTZ Jozef SEIDBAND Izak SEIDEN Akiwa SEITLER Jonas SILBER Gedalja SPIEGEL Chaim SPIERER Oskar - Aptekarz SPINER Adolf SPIRA Benjamin SPIRA Natan SPRITZER Izak STAHL Pinkas STEIGBIEGEL Bernard STEINER Mordche STERN Hirsch Dawid STERNGAST Zewilim TAUBENFELD Chaskel TEMPLER Jakob TENNENBAUM Markus TENNENBAUM Chaim TIRAS Chaim VADEN Wilhelm VIERTEL Jozef WASSERLAUF S. Dr. WEINFELD Wigdor WEISSBERG Leib WEISSBERG Jozef WEISSBROD Jakob WERBEL Herman WETSTEIN Wolf WETSTEIN Chaim WIENER Hirsch WIENER Osias WIERNICKI Mozes WOHLFEILER Ascher WOHLFELD Nuchem ZUCKER Pinkas ZUCKER Naftali
Portrait Cards by Szymon Balicer
The above Balicer portrait was donated by Eilat Gordin Levitan. It depicts Hela Weindling Spira (Daughter of Feygl RAKOWER and Izak WEIDLING) and was taken from Roman Rakower's book The Rakowers from Krakow.
Szymon Balicer was a photographer in Krakow whose ancestry (also from Krakow) can be traced back to the mid-18th Century. His photographic portraits appear to be from the period 1876 to as recent as about 1910. Each portrait card (or 'Cabinet Card') has Balicer's name inscribed on the bottom or reverse of the card. From these inscriptions, it is apparent that he had several shops or that he moved a couple of times. Although most portraits were black-and-white and printed on hard cardboard, there were some that were hand colored and some that were copied on metal.
The following info comes from Dan Aronson whose ancestors were Balicers:
Szymon Balicer (who appears in our family records also as Süssman Balicer) was my great-great grandfather's brother. His studio operated from about 1870, and he is recognized in the Krakow photographic museum as one of the earliest of the photo studios in the city. For a while (the dates are uncertain) he operated as Atelier Kamera*. Some of the card-style photos "signpost" the studio (which had two or three addresses but was situated for the longest period on ul. Gertrudy) by saying it was "opposite the Hotel Royal." (This hotel is still in existence and has a website). There is also a sketch of the hotel and of the Castle, under the walls of which is the hotel.
Balicer's children reported that some of his work was for the military and the castle staff, allowing him to brag that he was a court photographer, but we have no evidence of that. Szymon Balicer died in 1895, and immediately that year a nephew (my grandfather's half-brother) was named after him.
It may also be of interest to know that the skills were passed to my own grandfather, who was involved in the studio until he moved to Vienna in the early 1890s, where he carried on a photography business with a partner, doing experimental work on transferring photos to cloth. There, they were visited by Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), the writer, who was very interested in new inventions. It was that work that brought my grandfather to America, "brain-drained" by the Ansco Camera works of Binghamton, New York in 1905. Meanwhile, the original Balicer studio had been passed to a brother-in-law, Wilhelm Kleinberg, who, with his entire family save two, perished in the Holocaust. The namesake of the original Szymon, Simon Balicer, had also immigrated to the US.
The following two Balicer portraits (front and back) were generously donated by Paul Auerbach. The first depicts his great-great grandmother Esther (Taffet) Rosenlicht by herself and the second photograph is of both his great-great grandparents, Joel and Esther Rosenlicht.
*The following portrait is of Simon Rakower (1885-1941), son of Getzel RAKOWER and Sara nee ZUCKER. Simon was the brother of Esriel (Edward) RAKOWER, father of Roman Rakower. The picture was taken from Roman's book about the Rakowers of Krakow.
More Balicer portraits can be seen in the Krakow Album. Should you have any Balicer portraits that you wish to donate to this site, please contact Eilat Gordin Levitan at email@example.com.
Who Are We?
A Holocaust survivor, and descended from the GRAJOWER family from Krakow. Miriam lives closenext to Tel Aviv, Israel. Miriam maintains a close working relationship with the Krakow Archives and coordinates joint projects with them.