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Jewish Families of Leszno (formerly Lissa)

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  • Heinz Boldes (1914 - 1993)
    . Heinz passed away in 1993 at 81 years old. He only survived as a result of some sort of children's program that took groups of Jewish children to England to be "adopted" by English families. I'm not ...
  • Max Boldes (1880 - 1943)
    Transcription of a personal letter to a relative of Max's. "Today I want to make good my promise namely telling you little bit about the Berwin family. Around 1884 Adolph Berwin married Anna nee Grei...
  • Mendel Berwin (b. - 1814)
    Eva Berwin Niesser has old records that state that this persons name was Mendel and that he died September 19, 1814 and his grave was marked as VI-1117. Grave names and locations were indexed in the 19...
  • Gitte Berwin (b. - 1862)
    Eva Niesser relates that old grave records show that Jette was buried in grave II- 193
  • Mendel Berwin (deceased)

Lissa is a well known birthplace of many Jewish leaders. According to Yad Vashem some 519 persons who were born in Lissa were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. Most were residing in larger towns and cities at the time of WW2, particularly Berlin.

Lissa was a center of Jewish studies. Present day Lissa can be investigated on the web , There is a museum in the town that holds some important Jewish community artifacts and records. A link to this museum is

Additional data on the cemetery history in Lissa can be found here:

There is a Yizkor Book for Lissa, as yet untranslated from German. Listed on JewishGen Yizkor Book project database.

Lissa was known for weaving, cloth making, sewing, clothing manufacturers and tailors to the rich landowners and nobility. Among many others the Berwin family was known for fine tailoring for wealthy patrons.

From Jewish Gen Cemetery project database:

LESZNO: USComm. no. POCE000320

Leszno (known as Lissa in German) is in Leszno. Cemetery location: ul. E. Estkowskiego. The town is located at 16.35 longitude, 51.51 latitude, and is 69 km from Poznan and 96 km from Wroclaw. Present town population is 25,000-100,000; no Jews. Town officials: Prezydent Edward Szzucki, ul. Studzienna 4/4, 64-100 Leszno, tel. 20-45-66. Urzad Miejski w Lesznie, ul. Karasia 15, 64-100 Leszno, tel. 20-36-36, fax. 20-28-20. Regional interests: Ewa Piesiewicz, Panstwowa Sluzba Ochrony Zabytkow w Leszyie, ul. Mickiewicza 5, tel. 20-63-83. The earliest known Jewish community in town was 16th century. Jewish population in 1921 was 299 (1.8%). Noteworthy individuals who lived in this Jewish community: Elia Margolies, Rabbi Abraham Lissa, Rabbi Jacob Lissa, Rabbi Akiba Eiger, Rafal Kosch, Dr. Leo Baeck, Hirsch Kalischer, Ludwik Kalisch. The Jewish cemetery was established in 17th century; last burial 1939. Noteworthy Jews buried in cemetery: Rabbi Izaak ben R. Schalom, Rabbi Izaak ben R. Mose Gerson, and Dawid Tewle. Conservative and Progressive/Reform Jews used this cemetery. Communities that used this cemetery: Wschowa in 1759 (19 km away), Swieciechowa (6 km away), and Zaborowo (2 km away). Cemetery location: urban, on flat land, isolated. No sign or marker. It is reached by turning directly off a public road and is open to all; no wall or gate. The size of the cemetery was 2.7 ha but does not exist now. It is occupied with residential buildings. Stones that were moved are in the district museum in Leszno (4 pieces). about 30 pieces are incorporated into roads. The oldest known gravestone in the cemetery is 18th century. Tombstones are dated 18th-19th century. They are made of sandstone that are flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, and flat stones with carved relief decoration. Inscriptions on tombstones are in Hebrew and German. No known mass graves. The cemetery property is owned by the municipality. It is now used for residential buildings and storage. Properties adjacent to the cemetery are recreational and residential. The cemetery boundaries are smaller than in 1939 due to housing development. The cemetery is rarely visited by private visitors. The cemetery was vandalized during WWII. There has been no maintenance or care. There is a pre-burial house, a gravedigger's house, and residential buildings within the limits of the cemetery. Security, erosion, and incompatible nearby and planned development are moderate threats. The site was visited and the survey was completed 29 Oct 1991 by Dariusz Czwojdrak, ul. Lipowa 22a/4, 67-400 Wschowa. No interviews.

Vital data on births, deaths and marriages is forthcoming as the Jewish Records Indexing project centered on the town of Leszno proceeds. Some data is already available here: