The Jews of Kraków and its Surrounding Towns

Rabbi Simcha Alter Fraenkel–Teumim

Thanks to ongoing cooperation with the Kraków Archives we have been fortunate to obtain scanned material dealing with Rabbi Simcha Alter Fraenkel–Teumim, the Chief Rabbi of Kraków and Skawina during the early part of the 20th century. After lying for sixty years in the Kraków Archives, we are pleased to make some of this material available to the public. The documents all appear to be part of Rabbi Fraenkel's personal file, and cover a wide range of subjects — from marriages and engagements, to the sale of chometz on Passover. Some of the documents still need to be identified and deciphered, and these will be made public in due course. In the meantime, the viewer is invited to go through these documents. Not only will you begin to understand the day–to–day life of Rabbi Fraenkel, but you may just discover a signature of one of your ancestors on these documents. (Click on any thumbnail to see a larger image).

(This material has been made available largely due to the efforts of both Robert Bogusz, of the Kraków Archives, and Miriam Romm. All material is copyrighted.)


This was probably Rabbi Fraenkel's most prized possession. It is his rabbinic ordination document (smicha).
It was signed here by Rabbi Meier Arik (sometimes spelled 'Arak'), the Rabbi of Tarnow.

The four images at right are all part of one document known as a hechsher, which certifies a certain product(s) as being kosher. These hechsherim are signed by several luminaries of the Rabbinic world at that time. They include Rabbi Meier Alter Shapira, Rabbi Nachum Zalman Schneerson, Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam (the 'Bobover' Rebbe), Rabbi Yechezkiel Hakohen, Rabbi Avraham Moshe Emanuel, Rabbi Elimelech Aaron Twersky, and Baruch David Twersky.

The document at left is signed by numerous members of the Kraków community who had undertaken to accept Rabbi Fraenkel as their Rabbinic authority.

This printed document is for the sale of chometz (leavened produce) during Passover.

A hand-written marriage document (ketuba)

A hand-written engagement certificate (tanoim)


A document dealing with the breaking off of an engagement


The image at left is a hitherto unseen photo of the Munkatcher Rebbe also known as the 'Minchas Eleazar' (after the title of his book). The individuals in the photo at right remain unidentified (can anyone help?). Please note: these photos are subject to copyright.


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Compiled by Eilat Gordin Levitan. Updated March 12, 2020 Copyright © 2007 Eilat Gordin Levitan (