Welcome to the memorial site of the Jewish community of

Schönlanke / Trzcianka (Poland)

The following pages are dedicated to the memory of all who once lived in this kehila,
in this Jewish community, that existed for two centuries in the heart of Wielkopolska, Great Poland,
the cradle of the Polish nation, the area that later became the Prussian province Posen,
where the culture of Ashkenaz had flourished for a millennium.

  In the late 17th century a hamlet established itself in the sandy, wooded flat lands at a
crossroads (na rozdrozu),
said to have been at a south-north road that may have led
from the town of Poznan in the south
to the town of Kołobrzeg on the Baltic coast.
This village grew into the small town, variously known as
 Trcionka, Trzełanka or
(53º2'30" N, 16º 27' 40"E)
— a name derived from the Polish words Trzcinna łąka, 'meadow of reeds.'

To most early itinerant Jewish traders
the growing town became simply known by its
Yiddish name שעיאנקהט
where in 1736 they established a kehila.

After Prussia's annexation of Western Poland in 1772, an increasingly German-speaking Protestant
immigrant population turned Trzcianka into the largest town of the area with its 1,964 inhabitants
and gave it the — for the German tongue easier to pronounce — name Schönlanke.
Within two generations the Jewish community grew to prosperity, flourished through
Germanization, the age of Jewish Enlightenment, the achievement of
Jewish civil rights and status within their perceived host nation.
The Jewish community peaked in the 1830s
with its membership amounting to nearly
thirty per cent of the town's population.
In the early years of the 19th century it was within Schönlanke’s Jewish community
that the phenomenon of religious conversion occurred — the case of the legendary
future Anglican Bishop Michael Alexander that made headlines throughout Britain and German lands.

Fervent Jewish participation in Prussia’s military adventures of the mid-19th century continued
through the heady days of the First World War when Schönlanke’s Jewish community
lost a disproportional number of its members to the ‘Vaterland.’

Yet, by 1940 — after two hundred years of peaceful coexistance, assimilated and prosperous,
enjoying great repect as burghers within the town's population —
 all members of this subsequently shrunken kehila became victims of racial hatred,
not witnessed in German lands for eons.

The infamous Aktion of 21 February 1940 (12 Adar 5700)
— the Gestapo raid on all Jewish communities in Pomerania —
sealed the fate of every member of the kehila who still resided in town.
On that day the kehila of Schönlanke ceased to exist.
Anyone who had not been able to emigrate or temporarily leave Schönlanke
for Berlin or other metropolises was forced to go 'underground' —
eking out an existence in constant fear of arrest and deportation.

We remember the men, women and children of this community
who became ensnared in the Shoah

Lo tishkach   לא תשכח  —  do not forget

Yad Vashem

(Photo courtesy Bella Rothenberg, Kfar Giladi, Israel)
'Valley of the Destroyed Communities'

at Yad Vashem, on the Mount of Remembrance in Israel.

The community of Schneidemühl — one of 4,500 destroyed communities —
is commemorated here in stone, together with others of Pomerania, Posen and West Prussia


History of the Jewish Community of Schönlanke: 1736 – 1940

A Memorial to the Vanished


By Peter Simonstein Cullman



This newly published monograph with material rarely found in traditional Jewish memorial books encapsulates more than the 200-year history of the Jewish community of Schönlanke. Years of meticulous research has allowed the author to set a high standard in the genre of contemporary Yizkor Books, Memorial Books.


The book’s narrative commences with an illustration of Jewish existence in German lands in the age of Charlemagne, the birth of the Polish nation and the impact of geopolitical upheavals on Jewish life, while extraordinary heights in Jewish culture were reached in 16th century Poland. The reader is led to witness the evolution of this community’s religious life under Prussia’s pedantic rule in tandem with Haskalah. A portrait of Jews in war and peace, an introduction to the community’s social fibre and its venerable rabbis is followed by an analysis of the history-making religious conversion of one of this community’s members. Extensive annotated community registers of the early 1800s allow for genealogical research by linking the ancestries of numerous early families of Schönlanke to the near present.


The book concludes with Lo tishkach — an exceptionally detailed biographical documentation of the lives and fates of the community’s hundreds of victims as well as survivors of the Shoah — the chapter that serves as a memoir of a once flourishing Jewish community that was destroyed in 1940.


Book available directly from the publishers:

http://www.avotaynu.com/books/Schoenlanke.html *


The Kehila


(Synagogue - ca. 1930 - Photo copyright © Lorraine Wulfe, USA)

The kehila's last synagogue, inaugurated on 15 August 1883 by Rabbi Dr. Salomon Lipmann Wäldler

(Photo copyright © Lorraine Wulfe, USA)

This Beth haShem, the House of God, architecturally influenced by the Jewish Enlightenment
of the early 1800s, was designed in what may be seen as a break
with orthodox tradition. Rows of benches — comfortably seating four hundred members
of the congregation —replaced traditional movable chairs as used
in synagogues of previous centuries.
Large arched windows on the north and south side of the house 
on the ground and upper floors provided ample natural light.
No one could have imagined on this festive day of inauguration what catastrophe
the Jews of Germany would befall. This, the fourth Beth haMikdash since
the kehila's founding in 1736, was destined to stand in its chosen location
on Synagogenstrasse for a mere fifty-five years. 

During the fateful night of 9-10 November 1938 (the pogrom known to this day by
the mocking euphemism Kristallnacht ), when SA-Brownshirts and fanatical Nazi
elements from within Schönlanke's citizenry
broke into the sanctuary, ransacked and set alight the venerable house of worship
that was fondly known by generations as their ‘Tempel’— a fate that befell hundreds of
Jewish houses of worship in the land.
That night Ner tamid - the eternal flame - was extinguished forever.

Of the sanctuary’s utensils, some of which dated back to the kehila's founding in the eighteenth century,
— having survived the numerous fires in the town, these two escaped the conflagration
now on display at the local museum as remnants of an extinct community.

Torah shield


(Photo copyright © Lorraine Wulfe, USA)



(Photo copyright © Lorraine Wulfe, USA)


 Cantor Adolf Goldstein


(Photo copyright © Yad Vashem, Jerusalem)

There are no survivors who would recall how, on Wednesday, 5 October 1938, one last time
the kehila’s few remaining worshippers observed Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish
calendar, when in the synagogue the Torah scroll was taken from the Holy Ark and unfolded,
when the shofar was sounded, when the final words of the Yizkor prayers had faded,
when the
portal of their five-decades-old synagogue was closed by the kehila’s aging
Cantor Adolf Goldstein — forever.

Cantor Goldstein died in Berlin in 1942 on his seventy-third birthday;
he was buried in the Jewish cemetery of Berlin-Weissensee.

Cantor Goldstein's
wife Natalie was murdered in the Treblinka extermination camp eight months later.
The couple was survived by their son Erich in Palestine — the sole survivor of
the ten children of Adolf and Natalie Goldstein.




Official rendering of the kehila's early Beth haMidrash, the 'House of Prayers,' (ca. 1800)
on Judenstrasse, the later Schoenlankstrasse
(today's ul. Wita Stwosza)


Schönlanke's case of apostasy


Michael Salomon Alexander

(the future Anglican Bishop)
Michael Salomon Alexander and his brother Abraham Alexander — sons of Alexander Wolff —
born into a strictly Orthodox family of Schönlanke, became the primogenitors of the families
who were to carry the Alexander family name well into the twenty-first century.

  In early 1819 Michael Salomon Alexander betook himself to England.
In time he made history when
he abjured the faith of his fathers and transformed himself
from an
orthodox Jew of a small town of rural Posen to a Christian man of the 
cloth in the highest ranks of the Anglican Church. 

In 1841 the young Queen Victoria conferred upon Alexander the honorific
'Bishop of the United Church of England and Ireland' 
and set sail for the Holy Land on warship HMS Devastation,
placed at his disposal by Queen Victoria, 
arriving by way of Beirut in Jaffa on 18 January 1842.
In Jerusalem the bishop’s instructions were to direct all his efforts to
the 'conversion of the Jews, to their protection and to their useful employment,'
soon setting up a 'School of Industry for training Jewish believers in basic trades',
an 'Enquirers House', a 'Hebrew College' and a modern 'Hospital for Jewish people.'

During a tour of inspection in Egypt in 1845, on his way via Cairo to visit England,
Michael Salomon Alexander died of a heart attack, aged forty-seven.
It was reported that the legendary Jewish Bishop ‘calmly fell asleep in Jesus.’  
His body was conveyed to Jerusalem and interred in December that year
in the burial-ground of the mission on Mount Zion.

(Excerpted from History of the Jewish Community of Schönlanke: 1736 – 1940    
A Memorial to the Vanished)


Schönlanke’s Jewish participants and fatalities during WW I

Germany's Jews went forth with enthusiasm in defense of their Kultur, in what many saw as
the last rung on the ladder to their long sought social acceptance and integration.
The fatalities of this four-year human catastrophe touched Schönlanke's community deeply.
Many of the kehila’s forty-one recruits and volunteers lost their lives within the first year of the war.
 Their names — an excerpt of which appears below — were inscribed inside the synagogue, 
  commemorated for many years in Yizkor prayers during services.

ASCH, Julius
Born 20 April 1897 - died 7 January 1915

(son of Emil and Mathilde Asch)

COHN, Markus
Born 24 May 1893 - lightly wounded
(son of Louis and Mathilde Cohn)

ENGEL, Friedrich
Born 27 March 1889 - died 11 April 1916 
(son of Julius and Flora Engel)

EPPENSTEIN, Hugo Hermann

Born 9 December 1892 - seriously wounded, died 5 May 1918      
(son of Samuel and Johanna Eppenstein)

Born 31 July 1895 - died 3 September 1915 in milit. hospital
(son of Moses and Jenny Goldstein)


Born 21 December 1890 - died 25 September 1914 at the battle near Candor, Lannecaube, France
(son of Moses and Pauline Jastrow)


Born 10 June 1886 - lightly wounded near Verdun
(son of Schlaume/Salomon and Golde/Auguste Karger)

LEVY, Alfred

Born 15 May 1888 - died 22 June 1917 
(son of Max and Marie Levy).

MOTTEK, Herbert

Born 3 December 1892 - died 22 September 1914 at the battle of Aisne in France 
(son of Eugen and Flora Mottek)


Born 4 June 1894 - died 8 April 1916 
(son of Heimann and Cäcilie Wolfenstein)


Family name adoptions in Schönlanke — 1836–1846

(A brief excerpt from History of the Jewish Community of Schönlanke: 1736 – 1940    
A Memorial to the Vanished)

Joseph Lewin Nathan — adopted family name EHRLICH

Salomon Casper — adopted family name ENGEL

Marcus Casper — adopted family name FLESCH
Born 10 October 1811 in Schönlanke, died 11 January 1892 in Schönlanke,
husband of Rosa/Doris Ehrlich, born 15 October 1814 in Schönlanke
died 28 December 1891 in Schönlanke

Casper Lewin — adopted the family name NATHAN
husband of Channe Samuel;
Casper Lewin was the father of Elias Casper Nathan (who was born 1807 in Schönlanke,
died 16 June 1883 in Schönlanke), married to Auguste Juedel/Schoenlank.

Nachama Fabusch — adopted the family name SCHOENLANK


Elders of the kehila

(A brief excerp from History of the Jewish Community of Schönlanke: 1736 – 1940    
A Memorial to the Vanished)

1867—1870  Israel Simon Salzburg, Isak Samuel Tobias, Mendel Rosenbaum

1870—1873  Israel Simon Salzburg, Isak Samuel Tobias, Mendel Rosenbaum

1873—1877  Louis Munter, Isak Samuel Tobias, Mendel Rosenbaum

1877—1880  Louis Munter, Jüdel Israel Salinger, Mendel Rosenbaum

1880—1883  Louis Munter, Jüdel Israel Salinger, Hermann Ehrlich

1883—1886  Louis Munter, Jüdel Israel Salinger

1886—1889  Louis Munter, Scholem Cohen, Joseph Fränkel

1889—1892  Louis
Munter, Scholem Cohen, Joseph Fränkel

1892—1895  Louis Munter, Dr. Ludwig Sachs, Heymann Bochner

1895—1898  Adolph Baruch, Heymann Bochner, Emil Asch

1901—1904  Adolph Baruch, Heymann Bochner, Heymann Salinger

1904—1907  Moritz Badt, Heymann Bochner, Adolph Baruch

1908—1911  Sally Tobias, Heymann Bochner, Adolph Baruch

1911  Sally Tobias, Heymann Salinger, Adolph Baruch


Rabbis of the Kehila

Over a span of two hundred years the kehila, the Jewish community, was led by ten rabbis.
However, of any extant documents that may allude to a
Rabbi I. Jacoby Koroner
having headed the nascent rabbinate as its first rabbi, as early as 1739, any corroborating historical evidence of his existence has yet to be provided.

Rabbi Joel ben Meyer, born in Stargard ca. 1730, is however the first acting rabbi
of the kehila
of whom we have definitive knowledge. 
He was the son of one of Prussia's prosperous
‘Protected Jews’ the Schutzjude Meyer ben Joseph
ben Joseph Asch and his wife Ester,
daughter of Ya'akov Koppel Cohen from Stargard.

Joel ben Meyer had received s'mikhah from Rabbi Hirsch in Berlin in 1761 and in the year 1779,
nearly two generations after the community’s founding, by which time the kehila had gathered
much strength
in numbers and economic sustainability, Rabbi Joel ben Meyer became head
of the rabbinate
and subsequently led the community for twenty-two years until
death in September 1811. Rabbi Asch's last resting place is in Schönlanke's old cemetery,
adjoining the synagogue where, i
t is said, his matzevah, his gravestone, was still
in fine condition
in the early twentieth century.

Rabbi Yehuda ben Joel Asch, known by the honorific R. Yehuda haChassid, ‘the Pious,’
became the kehila's next rabbi
for the following three years, effectively as Schönlanke's third leading rabbi,
before he accepted a rabbinic position in the Samter (Szamotuły) community in 1814; he died
during the
cholera epidemic
on 5 February 1831 (22 Shevat 5591). Whilst the Schönlanke rabbinate remained
vacant for many years thereafter, the community's day-to-day affairs were handled by the three dayanim
(religious judges) Rabbi Jona, Rabbi Salomon and Rabbi Moses Meier.

 Rabbi Moses Michel
1761 – 13 March 1828 Schönlanke
As late as 1820, after Prussia's political climate had become more settled, did the kehila consider
filling the
rabbinical position again. The chosen candidate was the fifty-nine year old Rabbi Moses Michel, for whose position royal consent was given in 1821. While more documented evidence regarding the rabbi’s lineage, educational and professional background has yet to be found by future researchers,
at the time
before his acceptance assurances
were given to Prussia's bureaucracy by the kehila's elders that the prospective rabbi had passed all rabbinical exams before Berlin's chief rabbi and assistants,
twenty-nine years earlier.
In time Rabbi Michel became known for his magnitude of religious 

knowledge; under his guidance the community enjoyed years of harmony. Alas, the rabbi was given less than eight years to serve Schönlanke's kehila before his health deteriorated. In 1828 Rabbi Michel 
succumbed to a fatal illness. Survived by his wife Jette Benjamin and daughter Esther Ernestine —
Rabbi Moses Michel
was also laid to rest in the community's old cemetery.

Rabbi Jehuda Löbel ben Shimshon Halevi Blaschke
  6 November 1782 Rawitsch — 29 April 1861 Schönlanke


The following year the community elders chose the highly regarded Rabbi Juda Löbel ben Schimschon Halevi Blaschke to lead the Schönlanke rabbinate — asserted to be one of the most learned men in Talmud and Kabbalah in the province of Posen. Prior to accepting his position in Schönlanke the rabbi had been a much appreciated teacher of Talmud in the kehila of Koschmin where he had been guiding the rabbinate since 1818. Rabbi Blaschke and the Schönlanke kehila entered into a legally binding agreement in 1835. The rabbi was of a particular humble and kind disposition and is known to have been an enormous influence on the community. His death in 1861 — a man forever known as the Schönlanker Rav — was deeply felt by the kehila and far beyond its borders. Rabbi Juda Löbel ben Shimshon Halevi Blaschke was given a final resting place in the kehila's
new cemetery that had been consecrated in 1822.

Rabbi Dr. Salomon Lippmann Wäldler
24 March 1831 Svätý Jur -19 May 1904 Schönlanke

Given the kehila's straitened fiscal circumstances and a contracting membership,
four years passed
before the elders considered filling the position of new head of the rabbinate.
Born in 1831 in southwestern Slovakia, Salomon Lippmann Wäldler had been well prepared in
Talmudic studies by his father Moses
. Accepted at the Torah school in St. Georgen, he soon became
the pupil of the renowned Rabbi Moshe Schick of Pressburg who may have bestowed s'mikhah
upon Salomon Wäldler at the end of his studies.
As a learned orthodox man of early-nineteenth
century Germany, he
helped to establish many of the Schönlanke's Jewish social associations
Vereine, skillfully guiding the kehila for four decades through a maze of fundamental changes
that affected most of Germany's Jewish communities in light of Jewish Emancipation.
It is
with much regret that no portrait of this well-thought-of man who was dedicated to Orthodox Jewish
could yet be located.
Rabbi Dr. Salomon Lipmann Wäldler
died on 19 May 1904, the eve of Shavuot,
5 Sivan 5664. More than a thousand mourners attended the funeral of this
beloved rabbi who was
mourned by the community, by the town and by many people beyond.

Rabbi Dr. Moses Löb Bamberger
    14 April 1869 Fischbach -11 February 1924 Frankfurt/M.

  (Photo copyright © Samuel Bamberger, Antwerp, Belgium)
In 1905 the thirty-six-year-old Rabbi Dr. (Mosheh Aryeh ha-Levi) Moses Löb Bamberger
Unterfranken in Bavaria was chosen as the community's new leader. 
            Rabbi Bamberger’s ancestry of illustrious rabbis
can be traced to Wiesenbronn where
Jews had already settled in 1548
. As second eldest son of Rabbi Simon Simcha Halevi Bamberger
— he was the second grandson of the Würzburger Raw.
As scholar and teacher,
Rabbi Bamberger
guided the Schönlanke’s kehila through the early years of the new century,
the period of the First World War
and the turmoil of the early 1920s.
Whilst intending to join in the celebration of
the marriage of his eldest daughter on 12 February 1924
in Frankfurt am Main
, the Rabbi unexpectedly died one day before the family simcha.
Bamberger's funeral took place in the old Jewish cemetery in Frankfurt am Mainalso known as the Schönlanker Rav.

Rabbi Dr. Benjamin (Benno) Cohen
14 April 1895 Hamburg – 31 March 1944 Auschwitz

The twenty-nine year old Rabbi Dr. Benjamin Cohen's excellent academic background prompted the kehila
o offer him the vacant rabbinate in 1924.
 Son of Rabbi Jacob Cohen and grandson of Sephardic
Rabbi Benjamin de Yona HaCohen Jehoram —
Rabbi Cohen
was a propitious choice at a time
unprecedented political changes during the Weimar Republic.
 Following his rabbinical studies in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg,
Rabbi Benjamin Cohen he attained his doctorate in early 1921 at the University of Giessen.
His thoughts on contemporary life, essays, critiques and literary discussions have endured in the
pages of leading Jewish orthodox organs of the time.

When in 1928 his three-year term in Schönlanke was to pass to a new religious leader,
Cohen found a home as ‘Landesrabbiner,’ district rabbi of the small community in
Flensburg in north-western Germany. In April 1937 Rabbi Cohen moved to Hamburg
he joined the Portuguese Jewish community, but the events of the 1938 November pogrom left
no Jewish community untouched. Following his arrest and incarceration in
Hamburg and the Sachsenhausen concentration camp Rabbi Cohen was released on condition to leave Germany within months.
With his
brother's help he secured a position at the Portuguese Jewish community
in Amsterdam as Klausrabbiner of the Ets Chajim
Yeshiva. It has been said that in the last year
of his position in Amsterdam Rabbi Cohen refused an
offer to go underground.
a raid on 26 May 1943 he and his family were sent to
Westerbork and
subsequently deported Auschwitz where his reported date of death is 31 March 1944.
Save for his brother Martin with wife and son who survived
underground in Amsterdam —
the Shoah annihilatad three
generations of this family.

Rabbi Dr. Elieser Berlinger
27 January 1904 Illingen – 31 October 1985 Amsterdam


(Photo copyright © Salomo Berlinger, Sweden)

With the choice of this the twenty-four-year old Rabbi Dr. Elieser Berlinger, a warm, devoted and
highly educated man of strong
 orthodox convictions in Jewish religious life,
Schönlanke community found itself in an enviable position among kehilot in the region. 
Born in 1904 into a religious family passionately committed to orthodoxy in the small community 
of Illingen in the Saar region of South-West Germany, son of Moshe
Moise Berlinger and Gittel Jettchen Unna, Dr. Berlinger received his ordination in 1928, 
'conditional on not serving in a non-Orthodox synagogue.' With Rabbi Berlinger's 
accession to his first rabbinate in Schönlanke, the kehila gained a man of outstanding talents,
destined to become an exceptional religious authority. Although only two short
years were given to Rabbi Berlinger in the rabbinate of Schönlanke, much documentation of
his later life in Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands has been preserved. 
His subsequent tenure as rabbi of the Malmö orthodox congregation in Sweden began with his
sermon at Foereningsgatan's synagogue on Rosh Hashanah 5693. His efforts to save the Danish Jews
in 1943 stand out as one of his many memorable feats. In 1946 Rabbi Berlinger became Finland’s
Chief Rabbi in
 Helsinki, a post he held until February 1954 when he was
given an appointment in the Netherlands to serve most of the provinces. For the following thirty
years he held the position of Interprovincial Chief Rabbi of Utrecht. Rabbi Berlinger — a
man who possessed that rare combined talent in guidance and personality — died in Amsterdam
on 16 Cheshvan 5746, - 31 October 1985. His funeral procession through the city, attended by
thousands, this solemn ceremony equalled a state funeral. As had been Rabbi Berlinger's wish,
his burial took place in a prominent part of Har HaZeitim, the world's largest 3,000-year old
Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Regarded as one of the greatest spiritual
leaders of Jewish Netherlands in seventy years, in 1980 Queen Juliana of the Netherlands
bestowed on Rabbi Berlinger the honour "Officier in die ordre van Oranje Nassau".

Rabbi Dr. Curt Peritz
31 October 1885 Breslau – April 1975 Chicago


By 1932 the thirty-four year old Rabbi Dr. Curt Peritz became Schönlanke's tenth spiritual leader. Of his lineage and personal life few facts could be brought to life, nor could his early academic path, locales of institutions or universities where he attained his doctorate, be fully reconstructed, save for the fact that Curt Peritz, born 1 November in 1898 in Breslau, had also graduated from Berlin’s Adass Jisroel’s Rabbinical Seminary.
His first rabbinical position from 1928 until 1932 had been in the orthodox community Adass Jisroel in Königsberg, East Prussia.
No aspects of Rabbi Peritz’s subsequent four years in Schönlanke's kehila are yet known to us, to the extent that this learned man's period in the Schönlanke rabbinate left neither written evidence in matters of personality, spiritual guidance or professional qualities. 

At the end of his four-year term and departure from Schönlanke, the country’s leading Jewish press reported Rabbi Peritz’s festive investiture in the synagogue of Marburg in November 1936 — a position that, alas, lasted no longer than three years.
By October 1939 the rabbi and his wife had settled in Leeds where by 1942 Rabbi Peritz became the guiding
light of the Chayei Adam Synagogue, Britain’s second largest
Jewish community. In
1943 the rabbi had taken on an appointment
as Rabbinical Superintendent of the Burial Society of the Adath Yisroel and

Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations. In 1948 Rabbi Peritz and his wife immigrated via Halifax, Canada, to Chicago where he was soon conducting orthodox services

 for Congregation Chevrath Yeshurun. Chicago's Hyde Park area

eventually became the rabbi's final realm as spiritual leader.
Rabbi Dr. Curt Peritz died in 1975.

Rabbi Dr. Gerson Eliyahu Yehudah Feinberg
20 August 1876 Roth – 15 August 1942 Auschwitz


Rabbi Feinberg
(Photo copyright © Miriam Rahat, Israel)

Two years after Rabbi Peritz's departure, an offer by Rabbi Feinberg to assist Schönlanke's
ailing community appeared to be a welcome solution for Schönlanke's elders who
were faced with
a steady flight of members, and the subsequent lack of community
income continued to have grave effects on the kehila’s very existence.

Alas, Rabbi Feinberg’s position that began in Schönlanke in 1936 — looking back on a life

to serve orthodox communities following his religious studies in Würzburg in 1895,
at Universities in Zürich and Berlin, his position at the Adass Jeschurun community in Heilbronn
and a more recent call to lead a revived kehila in Gross Strehlitz — was to last less than two years.
One seemingly more appealing rabbinical vacancy presented itself in the equally humble, century-old
Silesian Jewish community of Kreuzburg (today's Kluczbork, Poland), a region already familiar to him.

Yet, with the destruction of the
Kreuzburg synagogue during the 1938 November pogrom,
this community ceased to exist and Rabbi Feinberg’s long professional career
came to a final halt.
three weeks incarceration in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and his
subsequent release on 29 November ‘on condition of immediate emigration,’
Rabbi Feinberg returned to his wife and youngest daughter at his former residence in Schönlanke.
Tragically, his ultimate attempts to secure visas to the United Sates faltered by
this country's restrictive quota system, thereby sealing his fate.
On 18 August 1942 the sixty-six-year old Rabbi Feinberg together with his fifty-one year old wife
Sara, née Pollak, were deported to the Riga ghetto. Two of the family's five children, Dora and Julius, did not survive the Shoah; the remaining two sons Moses and Ezra and daughter Hanna found illegal cover
in Budapest in the early months of 1944 before their successful escape via Romania to Eretz Yizrael.

The continuum of the two-hundred-year history of the rabbinate in the kehila of Schönlanke would have
been destined to cease with Rabbi Peritz’s departure in 1936 — had it not been
Rabbi Gershom Feinberg’s decision to accept his penultimate rabbinical position in Schönlanke.



Schönlanke's Jewish heart


(Photo - ca. 1920 - courtesy Artur Lazowy, Pila)

The 'Markt' - known in Polish times as the Rynek - this cobble-stoned market square,
since the days of the town's founding in the early 1700s, was
Schönlanke's commercial centre
his essential core of Trzcianka was more than the focus of life and trade and
by the late 19th century — flanked largely by Jewish businesses and residences —
  had become Schönlanke's virtual Jewish heart.

No. 1 - the synagogue
No. 2 - the home of Rabbi Bamberger
No. 3 - cigar factory of the Eppenstein family
No. 4 - Levy Co. business
No. 5 - the Beth HaMidrash

After Nazi Germany's collapse, the
renamed city Trzcianka, under its new Polish administration with its
ideology, soon eliminated any thought of free enterprise and converted this once lively areal into a park (Plac Pocztowy).

* * *

A recently discovered 18th century town planners' map, laying out the developing Jewish quarter.
(adjacent at the top of the document the outline of the original Jewish cemetery - established in 1759).

 (Courtesy Artur Lazowy, Pila, Poland)

A - Locale of the first synagogue - inaugurated 24 June 1759
B - Locale of the new synagogue - 1882
C - The Old Inn, dismantled in the 1720s
D - The building of the new Inn in the early 1800s
E - The old house of the rabbi on ul. Rabinow (Rabbi's Street)
F - An addtion to the rabbi's house
G - The old mikveh in the 1800s
H - The NEW mikveh in the 1900s
J - The Chedar, the Jewish school, in the 1800s
K - Tavern and main school building, in the 1800s
L. Beth HaMidrash
4 - Property of Salomon Engel, bordering the Markt

* * *

(Photo courtesy Tomasz Jurczyk, Trzcianka, Poland)

Julius Rosenstrauch's Department store on Bahnhofstrasse (today's ul. Gen. Wlad. Sikorsiego)
Son Louis Rosenstrauch and his wife Gerda were able to immigrate to Palestine in 1937.

(Photo courtesy Tomasz Jurczyk, Trzcianka, Poland)

1910 — Leopold Kleissner's Apothecary & Kolonialwaren store
(the typical German store where specifically coffee, tea and other goods ‘from the colonies’could be bought)
on Bahnhofstrasse at the Markt, situated next door to Naumann Goldstein's men's outfitters,
opposite Kaufhaus Hermann Levy
Leopold Kleissner, his wife Gertrud and daughter Johanna perished in the Piaski
ghetto in 1942, survived by their son Manfred in England.
Naumann Goldstein, wife Charlotte and sons Horst and Günther were murdered in Auschwitz in 1943.


January 1945 — the ruins of Leopold Kleissner's Apothecary and surrounding stores.
In front of the store a white-painted tank, unspoken symbol of Soviet military victory of Schönlanke,
 a town given its Polish moniker Trzcianka once again, long bereft of Jews, soon permanently cleansed of its
former ethnic German population that had swollen to just under ten thousand during the town's dying days.

(Photo courtesy Tomasz Jurczyk, Trzcianka, Poland)

Weinberg & Sons and E. Munter - at far right Kleissner's Apothecary at Markt and Moltkestrasse


(Photo copyright © Fred Hirsekorn, USA)

'Hirsekorn's Hotel, ballroom and kosher butchery' on Brombergerstrasse (today's ul. Grunwalzka),
exposing a 30-metre frontage of the building, all rooms facing Friedrichstrasse and the Markt.
The large family-run enterprise that included an adjacent cattle barn was
completely self-sufficient in every aspect.
The restaurant had been a longtime popular watering hole for rich and poor alike,
their store a source for fresh meat and poultry. By 1912 the ball room and billiard room had
become a favorite place for Schönlanke's Jewish society.

In 1936, following countless attacks by the town's low life and Nazi followers,
Ludwig Hirsekorn, wife and son Siegfried abandoned everything
they possessed in Schönlanke
to immigrate to the USA.


(Photo copyright © Fred Hirsekorn, USA)

Heymann Grunwald's cigar factory, adjoining Hirsekorn's Hotel,
survived the destructions of the war.

The elderly widowed Rebecca Grunwald, together with her daughters Frieda, Hertha,
and son Marcus relinquished everything that had been achieved by her late husband over
decades — cigar maker since the late 1800s — and immigrated timely to the United States.

(Photo courtesy Tomasz Jurczyk, Trzcianka, Poland)

One of Schönlanke's oldest hotels, established in the late 1800s by Isak Samuel Tobias,
long-time elder of the kehila. The hotel was subsequently owned and managed by his son Sally Tobias,
indefatigable member of the kehila.
Following the November pogrom of 1938,
Sally Tobias had been incarcerated in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp;
released on 29 November that year, he perished in a labour camp in 1941.


(Photo courtesy Tomasz Jurczyk, Trzcianka, Poland)

The furniture factory ‘Steinhagen & Hirsekorn’ at Wilhelmstrasse 30.
 The enterprise had been established by Max Hirsekorn and taken was over by his son Martin in 1929
before he immigrated to the Netherlands in 1934 where,
together with his Dutch-born wife Sara Selma Elburg, he settled in Arnheim.
Alas, this branch of the Hirsekorns, together with the twenty-seven other emigrants from
Schönlanke who had hoped to find succour in the land of the friendly Dutch, were not allowed to see
liberation — Holland ultimately became their illusive haven. Unable to hide nor avert arrest and
inevitable detention in Westerbork by the end of 1942, Martin Hirsekorn’s was murdered
in 1944 in Auschwitz where his wife had met the same fate the year before.


(Photo courtesy Tomasz Jurczyk, Trzcianka, Poland)

Adolf Levy's sprawling furniture factory and steam saw complex, established in 1902


Villa of Adolf Levy - one of Schönlanke's wealthiest entrepreneurs


Shoe store Hugo Anschel
Bahnhofstrasse 15 (today's ul. Gen. Wlad. Sikorsiego)

Hugo and Franzel Anschel immigrated to America in 1938.


'Fashion magazine' Gustav Gerson      
     Bahnhofstrasse 28 (today's ul. Gen. Wlad. Sikorsiego)

Gustav Gerson, wife and daughter were deported to Auschwitz.
The family is survived by their sons Hans Hermann in Israel
and Günther Josef in Brazil.

(Photo courtesy Tomasz Jurczyk, Trzcianka, Poland)

Kaufhaus Levy (right), opposite of Naumann Goldstein's men's outfitters on Bahnhofstrasse


Advertisement for Hermann Levy’s elegant ‘Kaufhaus at the Markt’

Hermann and Hedwig Levy were deported from Berlin to the
Theresienstadt Ghetto in
1943 where Hedwig perished on 5 June 1944;
Hermann Levy was subsequently deported
to Auschwitz on 1 October 1944 .

Back to top

Early emigrants

Class struggle and demands for a greater measure of freedom were but some of the
seeds of the Revolution of 1848. Prussia’s populace was still deprived of constitutional guarantees. 
The subsequent turmoil that spread in Posen did not pass without its effects on
Posen’s numerous Jewish communities.
Countless young people in many a kehila assessed
the dearth of economic opportunities that gave
little encouragement to stay and live
within the constrictions of their parents' mundane lives
whom they perceived as
locked in a parochial mindset. After the mid-1800s, not infrequently swayed
by hearsay,
they yearned for prospects of life with more success.

Of the doubtless many, Lewin Magner, wife Hanna and their children Moritz, Hanna and
Max are the earliest emigrants from Schönlanke of whom records could be located.
In the late
1840s the family first moved to Berlin, thence to Hamburg before
leaving for England,
arriving in Hull in 1850.
Lewin Magner continued his work as tailor, while his sons were
engaged in the jewellery and general trading businesses.

Joseph Dannenbaum was another early emigrant whose history has been transmitted to us.


(Copyright © Lorraine Wulffe, USA)

At the age of twenty-four in 1861, Joseph Dannenbaum, eldest son of Nathan Jacob and
Ernstine Dannenbaum, left
hearth, family and friends for a future in the still ‘United’ States of America,
knowing possibly naught
of that country’s growing disunity over the thorny political subject
of slave ownership. Ironically, having
barely settled in Houston, Texas, he enlisted in the
Confederate States Army in October that year, stationed
in Galveston—highly unlikely out of patriotism
but possibly as a condition for his stay in the country
—only to desert three years later.
In time, Joseph and his growing family prospered
— never abandoning the faith of his ancestors nor
forsaking the descendants of his family in Jewish historiy's darkest hour — two generations later.

Joseph Flesch, not yet twenty,  resolved in 1872 to loosen the constraints of his family and
take leave of the
staid atmosphere of the kehila, with a vision for a more promising life in the United States.
In New York he
soon began a new life together with Laura Berg, a lass from the ‘old country.’

(Copyright © Michael Flash, USA)

Carl Ehrlich twenty-five-year old grandson of Joseph Levin Nathan Ehrlich — decided to join
the exodus of Jews from Posen for a life beyond the horizon. Sailing via Hamburg he arrived in New York’s recently created immigration hub of Ellis Island on 18 August 1892 where he rubbed
shoulders with desperate immigrants who had fled Russian pogroms.
In time he married Rebecca Berg, his cousin’s sister-in-law, thus linking with his
early Ehrlich-Flesch ancestors of Schönlanke.

(Copyright © Rick Ehrlich, USA)


Emigrants of the 1930s

An excerpt from the list of the more than one hundred members of the kehila who were able to
emigrate timeously — flights
not without lasting trauma for many.

DANNENBAUM, Ernst, born 4 April 1881 —> 1941 Spain/USA

ENGEL, Minnie, born 1 February 1925 —> 1939 France

FENSTER, Regina, née Koerpel, born 9 December —> 1892  USA

FRÄNKEL, Louis Jean, born 10 February —> 1882

GRUNWALD, Rebecca, née Philipp, born 8 June 1869 —> 1941 USA

HIRSEKORN, Siegfried, born 3 May 1924 —> 1936 USA

MOTTEK, Eugen, born 14 November 1860 —> 1934 Holland/Brazil

MUNTER, Reinhold Arnold, born 18 July 1896 —> 1939 Bolivia

ROSENSTRAUCH, Louis, born 26 February 1902 —> 1937 Palestine

RUSCHIN, Fritz, born 1 February 1877 —> 1938 Palestine

SCHEIGE, Leo, born 11 March 1905 —> 1934 Palestine/USA

SIMONSTEIN, Hermann, born 15 September 1891  —> 1938 USA

SIMONSTEIN, Ruth, née Levy, born 29 May 1907 —> 1938 USA

SINASOHN, Harry, born 1881 —> 1938 Shanghai

SINASOHN, Max Mordechai, born 21 October 1887  —> 1942 Belgium

TOBIAS, Hermann, born 19 September 1904 —> 1937? Palestine

WEILE, Georg, born 15 September 1880 —> 1939 Holland

WEILE, Hedwig, née Engel, born 8 January 1886 —> 1939 Holland

WILL, Louis, born 14 January 1871 —> 1938 England

Back to top

The kehila's Cemetery

On 26 February 1822, during Rabbi Moses Michel’s time in the rabbinate, level grounds for a
new cemetery
on the northern outskirts of Schönlanke
were leased
by the kehila from
the town’s municipality
— a short distance from Zasker
See, slightly westerly of Gartenstrasse,
ul. Ogrodowa of old, near the later junction of Seestrasse and Schützenstrasse, today’s ul. Piotr Skarga
and ul. Parkowa ( JewishCemetery ).
A contractual option, which the kehila exercised four decades later,
allowed for the cemetery —
demarcated by a customary brick wall that also enclosed the
mortuary — to be extended by more than an additional one morgen, effectively doubling the size of the new necropolis


(Copyright © Lorraine Wulfe, USA)

Hallowed ground abandoned and left to natural deterioration for more than seven decades,
this wooded parcel of land on the outskirts of today's town of Trzcianka is where

generations of
the kehila's members had found their last place of rest.
Bereft of even
a single gravestone or marker since the years of the Nazi regime and the gratutious
violence and plunder by Schönlanke's burghers, n
eglected and without visible bounderies,
although protected by Polish state law, this is what a visitor beholds of the once fondly known
Der gute Ort —
the Beth haKevaroth that epitomized this locale, where everything was allowed
that honours the dead, at once prohibiting everything that disturbs the peace of the dead...

.                     (Copyright © Lorraine Wulfe, USA)

One of the very few known photographs of a gravestone that once stood in the cemetery — of Henriette Levy, born 24 May 1838 in Stieglitz, widow of Josef Levy, daughter of the Inn keeper Nathan and Ernestine Dannenbaum.

                     Death record, 11 July 1913, of the widowed Henriette Levy.

The Shoah

We know of at least three-hundred and twenty-seven men, women and children of the Schönlanke kehila
who were silenced in the hells of ghettos, concentration camps and extermination camps.
Extant records
like the one below speak of the early years of persecution.

   Archival evidence

     — transcript of Nazi bureaucratic efficiency in the immediate aftermath of the pogrom
of 9 November 1938

.District administrator I                             Schönlanke, 11 November 1938
Re: Evacuation of Jews in protected custody to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. 

Telephon Instructions of 10 November 1938


"The evacuation of Jews in protected custody to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, as ordered by telephone yesterday, was executed today at 00.10 hours by way of a scheduled passenger train. 
The medical examination regarding the viability of detention was done by Medizinalrat Dr. Scheil. Of the 53 Jews in protected custody a total of 49 detainees were declared competent to be deported. These 49 detainees were transported under supervision of six SS-men. 
The evacuation occurred without incident.The local department for external matters will be notified about the detainees by way of required lists regarding this Aktion within the Netze district [Netzekreis]. For the implementation of the transport I have provided the leader of the transport with an advance of 300 Reichsmark from local expense accounts. 
Further, the local welfare office issued vouchers for the railway transport of the detainees as well as for the two-way travel expenses of the guardsmen.
I hereby wish to put on record that additional yet unknown expenses are to be expected."
.          .
                                                                  [signed]  von Wuthenau
To Staatspolizei in Schneidemühl



Max Badt
The Badt family, originally from Rogasen, had settled in Schönlanke in the early 1800s. 
Max Badt was the eldest of four sons of Emanuel and Rosalie/Röschen Badt, née Ascher. 
Together with his wife Bertha, née Sternberg, Max Badt was deported to the Theresienstadt
Ghetto in 1942 where both perished; only three of Max's six siblings survived the Shoah.

Commemorated by their granddaughter in Israel — on 21 July 2012 two Stolpersteine (memorial stones) were embedded in the sidewalk in front of the building Frankfurter Allee 89, their last known address in Berlin.
               Max-Badt-stone        Bertha_Badt_stone
(All photograps Copyright © — by kind permission of Mrs. Dorit Badat-Cohen, Israel)


The tragedy of the family of Simon Berlin, his wife Eva and daughter Lotte
     Berlin.S     Berlin.E     Berlin.L
(Photographs Copyright © — courtesy of Ninón Munter, La Paz, Bolivia)

Trapped in Schönlanke during the Aktion of 21 February 1940, deported to
Transit Camp Głowna in Poznan
for nearly one month, the family was subsequently sent
to do forced labour at the so-called Jüdisches
Umschulungslager in Bielefeld.
On 1 November 1941, together with their daughter Ruth, the family was deported to
Łódź Ghetto. Surviving the deprivations of the ghetto for six month, they were deported to the
Chełmno extermination
camp on 9 May 1942, together with
their daughter Minna and
husband Georg Keil
. Of
the Berlin family's three sons, Sally perished in Auschwitz,
Siegismund was killed in Riga, only Berlin was able to escape to Chile,
while daughter Berta with husband
Reinhold Munter and young
daughter Marga could immigrate to Bolivia in 1939/1940.


The Weile family's illusive haven on Holland

Copyright ©  Eric Weile, New Zealand)
Horst Siegfried Weile, eldest son of Georg and Hedwig Weile, née Engel —
having immigrated with his family to the Netherlands
was able to evade Nazi persecution
until his arrest by the Gestapo on 3 August 1944.
Deported from Westerbork to Auschwitz together with his fiancée on 3 September 1944
the same fate that befell Anne Frank —
(uncorroborated reports state that) he too may subsequently have perished in Bergen Belsen.

Pictured here during the war in Nazi-occupied Holland — the Weile family (Rolf, Horst and parents)
In 1948 Horst's surviving family was able to emigrate — beginning a new life in New Zealand.


(Copyright ©  Eric Weile, New Zealand)


At least nine men and women of the Schönlanke kehila are known to have
been driven to leave this world by their own hands.
Elsbeth/Elisabeth Lesser was born 23 September 1892 in Schönlanke,
daughter of Naumann and Rosalie Lesser, née Schachnow.
nmarried, living in Berlin, despair and fear of deportation led her
to take her own life on Friday, 12 April 1940. 
The Jewish community of Berlin-Weissensee gave Elsbeth/Elisabeth a ritual burial, alas, only this simple stone was to mark her grave. 


Seventy-six years later - in a solemn private ceremony on 28 November 2016 - this newly dedicated matzeva, together with the original stone,
was placed on her grave by her relative Mrs. Florence Springer-Moehl.



In memory of Elsbeth/Elisabeth Lesser,
on 23 September 2016 this Stolperstein ('Stumbling stone')
was embedded in front of the building
Salzburgerstrasse 8
in Berlin-Schöneberg, where last she had lived.
(All photographs Copyright © — by kind permission of  Mrs. Florence Springer-Moehl)


The tragic fate of Eugen Sinasohn and his family


Born 2 June 1889 in Schönlanke, 
husband of Erna Sinasohn, née Heide,
father of Hermann, Gerda and Rita.

SINASOHN, Erna, née Heide
Born 31 March 1895 in Schlagenthin, 
wife of Eugen Sinasohn,
mother of Hermann, Gerda and Rita.

Born 27 May 1926 in Schönlanke, 
son of Eugen and Erna Sinasohn, née Heide, 
brother of Gerda and Rita.

Born 22 September 1927 in Schönlanke, 
eldest daughter of Eugen and Erna
Sinasohn, née Heide, sister of Rita and Hermann.

Born 11 January 1930 in Schönlanke, 
youngest daughter of Eugen and Erna Sinasohn, née Heide, 
sister of Gerda and Hermann.
The large family of Jacob Heymann and Rebekka Sinasohn had been living in Schönlanke since the late nineteenth century. At the time of the 1939 census, of their ten children who had lived through childhood, only Eugen Sinasohn with wife and daughter Gerda, as well as his sister Else still lived in Schönlanke.
  The family was arrested during the Aktion of 1940, deported to Schneidemühl, kept prisoner in the Jewish community building and subsequently deported to Transit Camp Głowna in Poznan before being sent
to labour camp Neuendorf.
In 1942 — with the exception of their only son Hermann who had been sent to Berlin earlier from where he was able to join a Kindertransport to the United States — this entire branch of the Sinasohn family was deported from Berlin
to the Warsaw Ghetto. 

(Excerpted from History of the Jewish Community of Schönlanke: 1736 – 1940   
A Memorial to the Vanished)   

Streets — Memories



(Photo courtesy Tomasz Jurczyk, Trzcianka, Poland)

Markt — the ubiquitous cobblestone market square of every town (Protestant church in the background)


(Photo courtesy Tomasz Jurczyk, Trzcianka, Poland)

Markt — (with Post Office)

(Photo courtesy Tomasz Jurczyk, Trzcianka, Poland)

Every town's obligatory War Monument commemorating Prussia's victories of 1866-1871
(at Bahnhofstrasse/Bismarckstrasse)