Guide to the Records of the Krotoszyn Jewish Community Council
1828-1919

RG 14

Processed by Steven M. Lowenstein. Edited by Rivka Schiller in 2006 with the assistance of a grant from the Gruss Lipper Family Foundation.

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, NY 10011

Phone: (212) 246-6080

Fax: (212) 292-1892

Email: archives@yivo.cjh.org

URL: http://www.yivoinstitute.org

© 2006 YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was converted to EAD version 2002 by Yakov Sklyar in December 2006. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Krotoszyn Jewish Community Council
Title: Records of the Krotoszyn Jewish Community Council
Dates:1828-1919
Abstract: Located in Western Poland in the province of Poznan, the Polish town of Krotoszyn (Krotoschin in German) was annexed by Prussia following the second partition of Poland in 1793. In 1834 Krotoszyn was officially declared a Prussian city. Trade alliances between Krotoszyn and greater Poland came to a halt when Krotoszyn was annexed by Prussia and began to align itself increasingly with Germany and other nearby countries. Krotoszyn reverted to Poland after World War I. The Jewish community of Krotoszyn dates back to the 14th century. During the period leading up to World War I, the Krotoszyn Jewish population began to decline significantly. The Prussian wars of the late 19th century and World War I contributed to this decline; the depletion of the Jewish population was due to the steady stream of emigration to countries including Germany, the United States, and South America. By the eve of World War I, there were 411 Jews in Krotoszyn, and by 1919, only 119 remained. During the inter-war period, when Krotoszyn was returned to Poland, the Jewish community had dwindled to 50 members. As of 12 September 1939, only 17 Jews remained in Krotoszyn, and after the outbreak of World War II they fled to Łódz, where it may be assumed that they were forced into the ghetto. The collection is only a partial representation of the Krotoszyn Jewish community’s archives. The material focuses on the period 1828-1919, when Krotoszyn was under German rule.
Languages: German, Yiddish, Hebrew.
Quantity: 2.5 linear feet.
Record Group Number: RG 14
Repository: YIVO Archives
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Historical Note

Known for its participation in Jewish affairs, Krotoszyn was actively represented at the Council of the Four Lands (ca. 1580-1764). Jews in the city established a matzo bakery, which was famous throughout the province of Poznań. Jewish workers in Krotoszyn were organized in a professional trade union at quite an early date. In 1883 the first Hebrew publishing house was established by Ber Leyb Monash, and within a few years, was joined by a second Jewish publishing house.

By mid-19th century, the Prussians officially required rabbis, as religious leaders of the region’s Jewish communities, to receive academic training. The orthodox rabbis opposed this “decree” and as a result, Krotoszyn was plagued by riots, which demanded the intervention of police forces. In 1894 the Jewish community of Krotoszyn encountered further religious strife over the matter of women singing in the synagogue during prayer time. A decision was ultimately reached to establish a second synagogue, in which women would be permitted to sing alongside those praying. In this manner, the Reform Movement began to take root in the province of Poznań.

The Krotoszyn Jewish community had one elementary school, which was recognized by the government. Another school that was specifically oriented toward religious studies was also successfully established in Krotoszyn. In 1896, 192 students attended the Jewish elementary school.

A number of Jewish public welfare and aid societies existed in Krotoszyn including the “Bikur kholim,” “Ezras noshim,” and the “Khevre kadishe.” In 1907, a local branch of the German-Jewish union, “Ezra Hilfsverein” was formed in Krotoszyn. The organization’s goal was to help establish agricultural settlements and educational institutions in the land of Israel.

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Scope and Content Note

The records contained within the collection are primarily concerned with Krotoszyn’s communal administration. A number of records shed light on the integration of the Jewish community of Krotoszyn into the Prussian (and later, German) presence. The following categories of documents may be found in the collection:

Legal, Government, and Business Records: Tax lists, receipts, bills, 1835, lawyers’ reports concerning the status of property ownership, government summonses to individual taxpayers, 1834-1835, circulars calling meetings, minutes, correspondence re: mortgage matters, 1836-1860, government documents granting rights of marriage, 1838-1841.

Communal Aid and Welfare Societies: Contracts for the distribution of matzo to the poor and to Jewish soldiers, 1859-1874, material pertaining to the Deutsches Central-Komitee fur die russischen Juden, letters concerning and combating anti-Semitism, 1891-1894, 1896, 1905, questionnaires, correspondence, receipts, statutes, and advertisements pertaining to the Deutsch-Israelitischer Gemeindebund; zur Erziehung Der Juedischen Gebrechlichen, Blinde und Geistesschwache, 1905-1912.

Community, Religious, and Education Records: Applications for the positions of cantor and religious teacher, 1904, 1908, 1910, Hebrew school curriculum and miscellaneous school-related material, 1919, constitution of the Raschi Verein, 1828-1830, 1908-1910, voter lists for community representatives, 1838-1845.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged in 43 numbered folders according to provenance, in as far as the fragmentary nature of the collection permits. Most of the documents were already bound into volumes in Krotoszyn. The “government” referred to in this catalogue is the Prussian provincial or local government. The majority of the documents are written in German, which was the dominant language of this region during the given time period (1828-1919). Some documents are in Yiddish or Hebrew.

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Access and Use

Open to researchers.

For more information, contact:
Chief Archivist
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011
email: archives@yivo.cjh.org

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Related Materials

At the present time, the Krotoszyn communal records can be found in several locations. Part of the communal archives for the Jewish community of Krotoszyn was sent ca. 1910 to the Gesamtarchiv der Deutschen Juden in Berlin. Materials were later dispersed among several archival repositories around the world. A portion of the materials spanning the years 1684-1899 found its way to the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem. Another portion of the materials was taken over by the East German state archives and ultimately returned to the German Jewish community. Today these materials can be found in the “Centrum Judaicum,” which is a museum and archives located on Oranienburger Strasse, at the site of the recently reconsecrated Neue Synagoge Berlin. Yet another portion of the materials is located at the Jewish Historical Institute (ŻIH) in Warsaw. Finally, fragments of the Krotoszyn records are located in Moscow, at the former “Osobyi” (Special) archive, a repository for records confiscated by the Red Army from Germany and other countries during World War II.

A Centrum Judaicum catalogue was published in 2001 and contains references to 51 files dating 1825-1901. A listing of the Krotoszyn materials, which were sent to the Gemeindebund in Berlin for placement in the Gesamtarchiv der Deutschen Juden is found in folder #16 of the present collection.

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Custodial History

Prior to 1942, the collection remained in the custody of the YIVO Vilna archives. During the Nazi occupation of Vilna, in 1942, the records were looted by the Einsatzstab Rosenberg and sent to the NSDAP Institute Zur Erforschung der Judenfrage in Frankfurt-am-Main. In 1945 they were recovered by the U.S. army and returned to the YIVO in New York, via the U.S. army archival depot in Offenbach. The records arrived in New York in 1947.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should read as follows:

Identification of item, date (if known); YIVO Archives; Records of the Krotoszyn Jewish Community Council; RG 14; folder number.

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Bibliography

Wein, Abraham, ed. Encyclopaedia of Jewish Communities, Poland: Poznań and Pomerania Districts; Gdansk (Vol. VI). Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1999.

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Container List

 

Records of the Krotoszyn Jewish Community Council, 1828-1919

Folder TitleDate
1Belege Ueber Einnahme Und Ausgabe 1835
  

Recrutensteuer tax list (322 names); lists of amounts and contributors for Passover flour for the poor (196 names); other tax list; communal decisions; list of various types of fees, receipts, bills

 
Folder TitleDate
2 Militair-Angelegenheiten Resp. Beurlaubung Der Juedischen Soldaten Zu Den Feiertagen1891-1910
  

Correspondence with regimental commanders concerning leaves for the holidays; decisions of the community; circulars calling for attendance by community officers at oath taking ceremony held in synagogue and involving soldiers; announcement re: regimentation of patriotic ceremonies in synagogue; correspondence with commanders about patriotic ceremonies; public announcements of patriotic ceremonies (e.g., king’s birthday)

 
Folder TitleDate
3 Matse For The Poor; Contracts 1859-1874
  

Includes case of Louis Bursch vs. community – 1874: letter by Bursch demanding payment for delivered matse, court documents, copy of complaint, circular to Vorstand to decide answer; official answer, annual lists of recipients, communal decisions, contract for deliveries (repeated annually); petitions by individuals asking aid, matses for soldiers, correspondence with contractor, requests from organizations, contracts, attestation of poverty, announcement of auction of contract

 
Folder TitleDate
4Akta Fleischerschul 1828-1830, 1908-1910
  

Government property tax orders, petitions by community and answers, receipt, government correspondence, communal meeting, bills, cost estimates for building projects, plans of Jewish community buildings, description of plots of land belonging to community, list of those who will still make donations (?), Yiddish letters to community, announcement of meeting of government building commission, accompanying letter to fire insurance payment. Lawyer’s correspondence, communal meetings concerning combining Orthodox and main services, letter of Vorstand to Repraesentanten, circular calling meeting, circular announcement of general meeting of Raschi Verein, letter of Raschi Verein to community, constitution of Raschi Verein (alias Fleisherschule), lawyer’s report on Fleischerschule’s property

 
Folder TitleDate
5Recrutensteuer 1834-1835
  

Government orders concerning individual taxpayers and general tax matters, individual petitions (e.g., for exemption), government summonses to individuals, announcement of payment deadlines, attestation of residence for a Jew, government correspondence, account of tax money, lists of names and amounts still owed, tax list (333 names), list of those who moved

 
Folder TitleDate
6 Die Einberufung Der Repraesentanten 1838-1845
  

Many circulars calling meetings, government notices concerning absentees from represaentanten meetings and orders for punishment, minutes re: investigation of absentees by Vorstand, government correspondence, excerpts from minutes, appointment of substitutes

 
Folder TitleDate
7Bewerbungen Um Die Vacante Rabbienr-Stelle 1895
  

Circular calling meeting, letters of application, further correspondence

 
Folder TitleDate
8 Anstellung Des Friedhofs-Diener Jankowski 1873-1913
  

Requests for raises by Zehler Friedhofsdiener, his miscellaneous correspondence, communal decisions, notice to Zehler re: termination of employment, job applications and recommendations, Zehler’s protest; reports of interviewing commission; contract for and correspondence with Friedhofsdiener Royl, his resignation, request from Ostrowo community for information, contract for Casimir Jankowski and renewals, correspondence with Jankowski, bills, request for raise, insurance, letters from town administration, copies of internal correspondence of national government re: gravediggers’ rights in Germany, firing of Jankowski, newspaper advertisement for Friedhofsdiener, requests by his wife, receipt, order that she leave or face trespassing charges

 
Folder TitleDate
9 Die Wahl Der Repraesentanten Und Deren Anstelung 1834-1872
  

(Bound, but a few loose pages out of order). List of those elected, government regulations on Jewish communal administration, meeting minutes, government orders re: specific changes in membership repraesentanten, official inaugurations into office, government correspondence, requests to government, communal decisions filling vacant seats, announcements of elections, lists of eligible voters (252 in 1837), circulars announcing inaugurations, list of those eligible for election as Repraesentanten, government confirmation of choices, petition of newly naturalized Jew, petition of a representative, circulars announcing election of Vorsitzer of Reprasentanten, letters concerning a court case, list of recently naturalized Jews, petitions, announcement of elections, minutes and results of elections, letters from Vorsteher, correspondence, etc.

 
Folder TitleDate
10Die Correspondenz Der Repraesentanten 1834-1842
  

Correspondence; includes government regulations for business and various other kinds of business

 
Folder TitleDate
11 Currenden Des Vorstands Und Representanten 1910-1915
  

Very many circulars calling meetings and other gatherings (with agendas), requests for meetings, communal decisions, newspaper announcement of a meeting

 
Folder TitleDate
12 Sitzungs Verhandlungen Der Repraesentanten 1905-1910
  

Circulars calling meetings, incoming correspondence, public announcements, communal tax notice to a member, minutes of all meetings, outgoing correspondence, petitions and requests, accompanying letters by Vorstand sending documents for meetings

 
Folder TitleDate
13Sitzungs-Verhandlungen Der Representanten 1910-1913
  

Incoming correspondence, circulars calling meetings, minutes of all meetings, requests, cost estimate, building committee minutes, committee reports, requests for meetings

 
Folder TitleDate
14 Die Unterstuetzung Der Russischen Juden 1891-1894, 1896, 1905
  

Lists of various donations, receipts, circulars about founding a local committee to aid Russian Jews and calling meetings of it, letters from Deutsches Central-Komitee fur die russischen Juden, letter from provincial committee, letter asking aid in fight against anti-semitism, meeting minutes, secret letter about anti-semitism, proposed letter by local committee against anti-semitism, bill for Verein zur Unterdruckung d. Anti-semitismus, letters re: book against anti- semitism, correspondence of Verein against anti-semitism, circular asking decision about where to give funds

 
Folder TitleDate
15 Versicherungen 1869-1902
  

Inventory of communal property and gifts to community, insurance policies, premium receipts, correspondence with insurance company, plan of synagogue buildings

 
Folder TitleDate
16 Deutsch-Israelitischer Gemeindebund; zur Erziehung Der Juedischen Gebrechlichen, Blinde Und Geistesschwache 1905-1912
  

(Title is not totally accurate). Contains a catalogue of Krotoschin archive materials (materials not found in the YIVO collection, presumably those that were sent to Gesamtarchiv). Blank questionnaires from Gemeindebund, correspondence with Gemeindebund concerning blind, retarded, and archive, pleas for aid from other organizations, receipts, letter advertising Israelitisches Familienblatt, letter re: reorganizing Jewish community organization in Germany, letters and statutes from Vereinigung fur das liberale Judentum, requests from individuals, rules for Jewish schools, letters from English consulate re: a birth certificate, advertisement for esrogim, newspaper ad for 2nd cantor for Krotoschin

 
Folder TitleDate
17 Die Heiraths-Sachen Und Die Nachsuchung Resp. Ertheilung Der Trauscheine 1838-1841
  

Requests, government permission for individual marriages, correspondence, information on amounts of dowries, communal decisions, attestations of marriage bans, government waivers of various requirements

 
Folder TitleDate
18 Schulden Tilgungs Commission 1836-1860
  

Court correspondence about mortgage, correspondence with court, correspondence between Vorstand and representnanten, letter from collector for Thurn and Taxis, government correspondence, new mortgage, ground plans, request for sale of land by community, correspondence and decision not to sell, correspondence and decisions concerning land

 
Folder TitleDate
19 Freihan’sche Legat Zu Breslau 1828, 1834-1839
  

Government correspondence, mortgage on two manors in Silesia, petition, apprenticeship contract, correspondence with curators concerning Freihan’s yortsayt, pleas for aid, communal decisions on who should receive aid, lists of recipients with receipts, bills, receipts

(some material in Yiddish letters) 
 
Folder TitleDate
20 Das Freyhansche Legat 1858-1899
  

(Bound nut with a few loose pages, some in Yiddish). Petitions for payments or aid, communal decisions, annual lists of recipients with receipts, correspondence with curators of the fund, money order stubs, bills, receipts, public announcement, apprenticeship contracts, school diploma, questionnaire about communal life

 
Folder TitleDate
21Process-Sache Der Krankenverpflegungsanstalt Zu Breslau VS. Krotoschin Community 1837-1840
  

Correspondence with Breslau Khevre kadishe; court documents in the case

 
Folder TitleDate
22 Die Einziehung Der Korporations Beitragen 1858-1870
  

Correspondence with government mainly concerning individual tax bills, attestations of receipt of Steuerbekanntmachungszettel by individuals, petitions, correspondence between post office and government offices, lists of amounts collected from members who moved to Breslau, government documents concerning dues owed the community, receipts, lists of arrears owed by individuals, circulars calling meetings, communal decisions, tax bills from Krotoschin community and others, amounts due from migrants (e.g., Berlin), government orders, orders for liens on property, documents in court cases

 
Folder TitleDate
23 Miscellania 1834-1837, 1870
  

Government documents, petitions, government correspondence, communal decisions, circulars calling meetings, correspondence (also contains one loose letter from 1870)

(bound volume)
 
Folder TitleDate
24 Die Ertheilung Der Todtenscheine Und Der Correspondence Hierueber 1834-1858
  

Requests for death certificates by individuals and government institutions, outgoing correspondence, certificates of death with names of heirs

 
Folder TitleDate
25 Die Repartition Der Aufzubringenden Comunal Beitraege 1834-1837, 1852
  

Government correspondence, announcements, petitions (e.g., for reduction), tax lists and lists of those in arrears, communal decisions (1852?)

 
Folder TitleDate
26 Praeparationsbeschwerden (?) Wegen Korporationsbeitraege 1863-1869
  

Government correspondence, petitions, government answers to individuals, tax notices, list of petitions with results, circulars calling meetings of Reklamations Kommission, Insinuations-Document

 
Folder TitleDate
27 Der Verein Zur Bekleidung Armer Elternloser Schulkinder1834-1836, 1852-1853
  

Government correspondence, statutes of newly founded Verein, lists of members, communal decisions, correspondence, accounts of Verein, pay orders, bills, list of recipients, list of children not attending school

 
Folder TitleDate
28 Satzungen Des Unterstuetzungs-Vereins Fuer Juedische Armenundated, 1905
  

Statutes with amendments (last amendment dated 1905)

 
Folder TitleDate
29 Bewerbungen Der Cantor Und Schaechter, Religions-Lehrer Stelle Sowie Chorleiter 1904, 1908, 1910
  

Letters of application, curricula vitae and further correspondence and telegrams, recommendations and diplomas and other material including concert programs

(some material in Hebrew) 
 
Folder TitleDate
30 Justiz-Kommissarius Kubale 1850-1853
  

Printed rules for sale of synagogue seats with results of auction and signed contract; court documents in case of Jewish community vs. Sh ? including accusation and verdict

 
Folder TitleDate
31 Plan Zur Tilgung Der Schulden Der Israelitischen Corporation Zu Krotoschin 1839-1874
  

Amortization accounts arranged both by year and by name of creditor (mostly owed to various Catholic churches)

(oversize, 65 pp. bound)
 
Folder TitleDate
32 Gutachten 1859
  

Lawyer’s legal opinion concerning government subsidy for school

 
Folder TitleDate
33 Accompanying notes for contributions for Russian Jews1891
  (in envelope) 
Folder TitleDate
34 Accompanying letter to Vorstand by bank concerning 1,000 mark bond 1915
  (in envelope) 
Folder TitleDate
35 Letter of thanks from Rabbi Berger1918
  (in envelope) 
Folder TitleDate
36Letter from Provinzial Kasse fur jud. Wanderarmenfursorge – Posen 1913
  (in envelope) 
Folder TitleDate
37 Blueprint for renovation of Jewish school 1913
Folder TitleDate
38 Curriculum of Hebrew school in Krotoschin; fragment of Texte zu den synagogalen Gesangen in Krotoschinundated
Folder TitleDate
39 Letter from Posen community concerning Passover foods; letter from Krotoschin town administration about aid to Jewish poor 1919
Folder TitleDate
40 Letter of application for post as cantor 1905
Folder TitleDate
41 Miscellaneous 1844, 1892, 1902, 1909
  (5 loose items) 
Folder TitleDate
42Religionsschule 1900-1902
  (bound, 3 items) 
Folder TitleDate
43School1919
  

Invitations to meetings of teachers’ association, government letters, orders and circulars (in German) from the Polish government concerning the Jewish school, orders to pay Jewish teacher, attendance lists

 
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