Poznań’s Jewish community was one of the earliest to be established on Polish soil; the first reference to Jews living in the town comes from 1379. Tradition dates the town’s synagogue to 1367, and the cemetery 1438. In the second half of the fifteenth century saw the establishment of Poznań’s famed yeshiva, known as Lomde Pozna.
Tracing Jewish ancestors from Posen Province is a challenge for many reasons. First, the region changed hands several times since the mid 18th century: from Polish sovereignty, to Prussian, to Napoleonic France, back to Prussian (eventually German), and then back to Polish sovereignty at the end of World War I. Source
In the course of centuries numbers of German Jews fled to Poland; in 1474, emigrants went from Bamberg to Posen. Poznań’s Jewish community began to flourish in the mid-sixteenth century and became a center for learning and publishing.
Poznań’s Jewish clergy not only led the renown local yeshiva but also acted as chief rabbis of Great Poland; among them were outstanding scholars including Yehudah Leib ben Betsal’el (Maharal of Prague), Mordekhai ben Avraham Yafeh (Jaffe) and R' Samuel Marogioth of Posen who was confirmed chief rabbi of Great Poland 1527.
One of the greatest 19th Century Torah scholars was Rabbi Akiva Eger, Chief rabbi in Posen (also known as the Gaon of Posen). An English language biography of Rabbi Eger contains many drawings and photos of Jewish life in 19th and early 20th century Posen, including Posen Synagogues: The Alte Betschule on Dominikanska Strasse, the Alte Betschule on Wroniecka Strasse, and Die Neue Betschule opened in 1907.
- Kurt Lewin. A major German World War I hero and later a Weimar Republic President,
- Paul von Hindenburg was born in Posen (1847).
- Rabbi Akiva Eiger, the great Talmudic scholar was Posen’s rabbi and died there (1837).
- Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Kalischer (1795-1874), born in Lissa and later moved to Torun (Thorn) in the Posen province; he advocated to settle the land of Israel. The famous historian
- Heinrich (Zvi) Graetz (1817-1891), the famous historian and author of the monumental work The History of the Jews (11 volumes), was born in Xions, Posen.
- Arthur Ruppin (1876-1943), an economist and sociologist who later became a important Zionist thinker and leader, was born in Rawicz, Posen.
- Rabbi Leo Baeck, a philosopher and leader of German Jewry was born in the town of Lissa in 1873.
- Juilus Furst of Zerkowo, historian
- Moritz Lazarus of Filehne, philosopher
- Eduard Lasker of Jarotschin, politician
- Louis Lewandowski of Wreschen, composer
- The Posen Years Gidron Ancestry
- Resources for Jewish Genealogical Research Posen (Poznań, Poland)
- Posen Jewish Encyclopedia
- Dov Avron, ed., Pinkas ha-kesherim shel kehilat Pozna (Jerusalem, 1966);
- Zbigniew Dworecki, “Ludność żydowska w Poznaniu w latach 1918–1939,” in Żydzi w Wielkopolsce na przestrzeni dziejów, ed. Jerzy Topolski and Krzysztof Modelski, pp. 189–211, 2nd ed. (Poznań, 1999);
- Sophia Kemlein, Die Posener Juden, 1815–1848: Entwicklungsprozesse einer polnischen Judenheit unter preußischer Herrschaft (Hamburg, 1997);
- Anna Michałowska, Między demokracją a oligarchią: Władze gmin żydowskich w Poznaniu i Swarzędzu: Od połowy XVII do końca XVIII wieku (Warsaw, 2000);
- Adam Teller, Ḥayim be-tsavta: Ha-Rova‘ ha-yehudi shel Poznan ba-maḥatsit ha-ri’shonah shel ha-me’ah ha-sheva‘ ‘esreh (Jerusalem, 2003).
- Sinason, Jacob H. "The Gaon of Posen : a portrait of Rabbi Akiva Guens-Eger". London : J.H. Sinason ; Gateshead : Trade distribution, J. Lehmann, 1989.
Rabbis holding Posen pulpits:
- Pechno (mentioned 1389-93)
- Moses Mariel (c1455)
- Moses b. Isaac Minz (1474-1508)
- Yitzchak Klauber, (b.1475 - c. 1530)
- Shimshon Spira (b. c1480)
- Yehiel Michel Spira (c. b.1540 - d. 1598)
- Chaim Spira (c. b.1580)
- Mahem Mendel Frank
- Mose (1516)
- Samuel Margolioth ( c. 1527-51)
- Schachn (1544)
- Solomon b. Judah Loebisch Liebermann (c. 1551-57)
- Aaron (157)
- Eliezer Ashkenazi (1580)
- Solomon ben Judah Lobisch ll (c 1581)
- Judah Low ben Bezaleel (1585-88, 1592)
- Mordecai Jaffe (c. 1599-1612)
- Aaron Benjamin ben Hayyim Morawczyk (c. 1623-31)
- Simon Wolf b. David Tebele Auerbach (c.1625-29)
- Hayyim b. Isaac ha-Kohen (1630-35)
- Mosen b. Isaiah Menahem, called Moses Rabbi Mendels (1635-41)
- Sheftel b. Isaiah Horowit (1641-58)
- Isaac b. Abraham (1667-85)
- Isaiah b. Sheftel Horowtiz (1688-89)
- Naphtali Kohen (1690-1704)
- Jacob b. Isaac (1714-29)
- Jacob Mordecai b. Naphtali Kohen (1732-1736)
- Raphael Kohen (1774-76)
- Joseph Zevi Hirsch Janow b. Abraham (1776-77)
- Joseph (h-Zaddik) b. Phinehas (1780-1801)
- Moses Samuel b. Phinehas (1802-6)
- Akiva Eger (1815-37)
- Solomon Eger (1839-52)
- Moritz Goldsein (preacher, 1848-53)
- Joseph Perles (at the Brudergemeinde, 1862-71)
- Wolf Feilchenfeld (after 1872)
- Philipp Bloch (at the Brudergemeinde from 1871 - 1905+). . . More