Living environments and remembrance of Jews in Silesia, East and West Prussia
A seminar of the “Juden in Ostpreussen e.V.” (Association Jews in East Prussia, History and Culture Society). in cooperation with the Academia Baltica. e.V., Luebeck
The remembrance of the Jews in Silesia, East and West Prussia – both in the large communities and in small places – and of their suppression and destruction by the National Socialist regime seemed to be virtually lost during the Cold War. In Poland, Lithuania and the Kaliningrad area, on the other hand, the Jewish history of the formerly German provinces was seen as a part of the German tradition. This explains why the descendants of the Jewish inhabitants of Silesia, East and West Prussia, who today live scattered over the whole world, can find only little new literature on this topic when they are searching for the traces of their forefathers.
With contemporary witnesses and academics from Kaliningrad, Poland, Israel and Germany, we discussed in detail some aspects of Jewish living environments in Silesia, West Prussia, Mazury, Prussian Lithuania and Königsberg – from the Jewish immigration, the culture of day-to-day life and community life right up to the Holocaust.
Only a few items of the Jewish history of the former German Eastern provinces and the lifetime achievements of their former Jewish inhabitants are known today. No research apparatus is devoted expressly to these aspects.
The seminar consisted two parts: on the first day the focus was on the history of the Jewish minority in the 19th and 20th century in Silesia, East and West Prussia. Both social, local, community and family-based historical depictions can contribute towards closing gaps in historiography. Moreover, there was a panel on “reconstructed history” in which Jewish contemporary witnesses of the second or third generation reported on their research of the living environment of their parents and grandparents. On the second day, together with participants from Poland and Kaliningrad, it was discussed which approaches and opportunities exist to document and to preserve the remembrances of the former Jewish inhabitants.
Berlin, European Academy, 31 August – 2 September 2007
- Dr. Christian Pletzing, Director of the Academia Baltica
- Dr. Ruth Leiserowitz, Juden in Ostpreußen e.V.
Friday, 31 of August 2007
- Welcoming speech and introduction by Dr. Ruth Leiserowitz, Berlin; Dr. Christian Pletzing, Lübeck
- “The Mendelssohn-House” in Allenstein – a Forgotten Place of Commemoration – by Dr. Rafal Zytyniec, Berlin
- “Jews in and around Memel/Klaipeda” Dr. Ruth Leiserowitz, Berlin
Saturday, 1 of September 2007
- “Ruth Goldbarth from Bydgoszcz/Bromberg in the Warsaw Ghetto 1940/41” by Dr. Klaus-Peter Friedrich, Marburg
- “Jewish Traders in Breslau and Silesia, from the First World War to the Holocaust (1918-1941)” by Dr. Ingo Loose, Berlin
- “Social Divisions in the German Jewish Community in Breslau in the First Decades of the Twentieth Century” by Joanna Tegnerowicz, Wroclaw
- “The Jewish Museum of Breslau as Central Place of Commemoration of the Silesian Jews Between 1928 and 1938” by Dr. Jens Hoppe, Frankfurt a.M.
- “Which is the Way to the Synagogue, Please? The Forgotten Jewish Heritage of Breslau and Its Slow-Going Rediscovery in the Afterwar Wroclaw” by Maren Röger, Gießen
- “Jews in Gleiwitz” (a projekt of the Museum of Gleiwitz) by Bo¿ena Kubit, Gliwice/Gleiwitz
- Presentations by Jewish Genealogists, part 1 “From Westprussia to Suwalki (working title) Ralph Salinger, Kfar Ruppin
Presentations by Jewish Genealogists, part 2 “The Wasbutzky Family in and around Tilsit”. A talk between Evelyn Waldstein, Ramat HaSharon and Ruth Leiserowitz
- Presentations by Jewish Genealogists, part 3 “Film about the Perlman family (Königsberg) Perry Izack, Rishon Le Zion
Sunday, 2 of September 2007
- “The Life of Else Pintus” (working title) by Miloslawa Borzyszkowska-Szewczyk, Gdañsk/Danzig”
- “How to Read the Language of Stones. Jews in Kashubia”. Report of a project by Dr. Christian Pletzing, Lübeck
- “Jews in Tilsit/Sovetsk” (The collections of Isaak Rutman) by Sinaida Maksimova, Sovetsk/Tilsit
- concluding discussion
Seminar took place at the “Europäische Akademie” in Berlin Grunewald, Bismarckallee 46/48 (www.eab-berlin.de)