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Jewish Families of Ostrow Wielkopolski (formerly Ostrowo)

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This project is designed to identify and collect the Jewish individuals who have a connection to the town of Ostrow/Ostrowo in Wielkopolski, Poland.This town was part of the Grand Duchy of Posen in the 1800's. It was in the Posen Administrative District of Adelnau along with the towns of Adelnau and Raszkow. (Adelnau=Odolanow depending on the language and usage)

There are many towns named Ostrow in present day Poland. This project is only for those individuals that are connected to the town in Greater Poland, NOT the towns in the south of Poland or Eastern Poland with the same name such as Ostrow Lubelski or Ostrow Mazowiecka. Map https://goo.gl/maps/EoBk9

From Jewish Gen we find considerable material on Ostrowo here: http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/Ostrow_Wielkopolski/Home.html

Edward David Luft's book The Naturalized Jews of the Grand Duchy of Posen in 1834 and 1835, Revised Edition, 2004, published by Avotanyu lists 154 people who were made citizens in the town of Ostrowo in Adelnau District of Posen. This paperback book is available for ~$50 US from Avotaynu.

Some common family names include Teichmann, Feibisch, Fränkel, Berliner, Berger, and Zell or Zellner. Additional people were enrolled in Adelnau (14 people, including Joseph Bromberg, Simon Freitag, Hirsch Goldbaum, Moses Hoff and several others) and Raszkow (21 people, including Lobel Ossowski, Marcus Müller, Jacob Nathan, Israel Krotoschiner and others). These smaller towns do not presently have Geni projects as of February 1, 2021. If you want to start a Town Project check carefully for a preexisting project and if none has been created just go ahead and do it.

Additional data on Jewish individuals that were granted Tolerated status in the 1838-1840 era is available in the Documents section of this Project. Tolerated Jews were not able to be Naturalized due to lack of German language skills or lack of money.

From the International Jewish Cemetery Project we find this entry:

OSTROW WIELKOPOLSKI: Wielkopolski Coat of arms of Ostrów Wielkopolski Alternate names: Ostrów Wielkopolski [Pol], Ostrowo [Ger], Ostrów, Ostrov, Ostrów Wlkp., Ostrovia [Lat]. 51°39' N, 17°49' E, 64 miles SE of Poznań (Posen), 13 miles SW of Kalisz. ShtetLink: . Abbreviated Ostrów Wlkp., this town in central Poland with 72,360 inhabitants in 2008 in the Greater Poland Voivodeship and the seat of Ostrów Wielkopolski powiat is one of the most important railroad junctions in Poland. BOOK: Gruber, Ruth Ellen. Jewish Heritage Travel A Guide to East-Central Europe. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1992. p. 77 Normal 0 OLD CEMETERY: Established in 1724 at the corner of current ul. Starotargowej) and Freimann Freimanna (now Placu 23 Stycznia) near the synagogue, a low wall with a gate on the north side surrounded the site. Probably for health reasons in 1780, the city stopped burials here. town information. [High school project. June 2009] NEW CEMETERY: A new cemetery on land 1 morgi [size] eventually enlarged to 2.8 hectares on Placu 23 Stycznia at ul. Konopnickiej and ul Slowacki. Further land purchases came in 1824 and 1905. Fenced on one side with an impressive and decorative iron fence between pillars with the other three sides having a brick wall. In 1873, the tahara was added. The Nazis destroyed both cemeteries removing matzevot for construction work like paving streets or constructing the fence at Placu 23 Stycznia. After WWII, the site was used for horticulture and eventually a park. In the 1970s ,the City Greenery Department built a Schools Team Building. A 2006 renovation of Placu 23 Stycznia revealed many gravestones and more than 1,000 fragments. The discovered matzevot are to become two lapidaria in the local Jewish cemeteries. photos. [June 2009]

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 June 2009 03:02. Accessed August 1, 2017.

Refer to the sidebar of Related Projects for a related important Project listing all of the synagogue head of household members in 1896 which is a fixed date in time project, just for 1896, whereas this project you are looking at now is for Jewish Families of any date in time.

Yad Vashem database includes about 600 individuals with a connection to Ostrowo who perished in the Holocaust. Many records have Page of Testimony documentation, a rich source of genealogical information. Submitters of the Page of Testimony may also be researched to discover additional connections.

The Virtual Shtetl site at www.sztetl.org.pl offer this information in summary, but many more pages are available:

The first Jews appeared in the area of Ostrów Wielkopolski in 1717. They were brought by the town’s owner - Jan Jerzy Przebendowski. A Jewish community was organized in 1724 on the basis of a charter issued by J.J. Przebendowski on the 26th of Sertember IX 1724. On the basis of this charter 12 Jewish families were allowed to live and trade in Ostrów Wielkopolski. They were appointed a separate town zone, where they could build their houses, a synagogue and a cemetery. The first synagogue of Ostrów was a small wooden building, built shortly after the community was established. Another building was put next to it and it initially served as a small hospital and then bacame a rabbi’s house. In 1760 a Jewish school was built. The first cemetery was used in the years 1724-1780. A new one was opened in Spetember 1780 outside the town center, in the district of Krępa. In 1740 there were 79 Jews living in the town. In 1770 they lived in 23 houses. In 1779 the number of Jews increased to 158. They were merchants, tailors, cloakmakers, and two doctors[1.1].

After Ostrów Wielkopolski was taken over by Prussians as a result of the second partition of Poland, the first Prussian census showed that in 1794 there were 381 Jews out of the total population of 2,541 poeple. The most numerous professional group were tailors. During the period of the Dutchy of Warsaw, more than 30 Jewish families lived in Ostrów Wielkopolski (37 in 1803 and 39 in 1815). When the Jewish community in Ostrów became part of Prussia again, there were 40 families in it. This number of Jews living in Ostrów increased quickly and 1833 it reached 1,205 people. They were mostly merchants, traders and craftsmen. For some time the number in decreased in Ostrów in 1848. A substantial number of Jews left the town during the Polish-German fights of the Spring of Nations. Later on it gradually increased to reach its highest number of 1,919 people in 1861.

Jews from Ostrów Wielkopolski received secondary education in the Royal Catholic Gymnasium in Ostrów (Königlich-Katholisches Gymnasium zu Ostrowo).

In 1857 the Jewish community began to build a new synagogue. The inauguration took place in 1860 and in 1900 the synagogue was renovated.[1.2]

At the turn of the 19th – 20th century the Jewish society had their representatives among the town authorities. Members of local self-government were Jakob Krauskopf and Salo Josephi. Town councilors were: court advisor Voss (chairman of the town council) and R.Goldschmidt, Nathan Friedländer, David Goldstein, Heimann Krauskopf, Simon Spiro and Max Spiro[1.3].

After the end of World War I most Jews from Ostrów Wielkopolski moved to Germany, mainly to big cities (Wrocław and Berlin). Some of them were activists in Verein Heimattreuer Ostrowoer (Association of Citizens of Ostrów Wielkopolski Loyal to Their Home Town) organization, which brought together Germans and Jews who used to live in Ostrów Wielkopolski. A magazine “Ostrowoer Heimat-Zeitung” was issued[1.4].

During the interwar era only a few dozen Jews stayed in Ostrów and they did not have a permanent rabbi. They were small time merchants and craftsmen. Traditionally, they lived in Raszkowska Street (where the synagogue was situated) and the so-called Zielony Rynek (Green Marketplace) (former Żydowska Street and Targ Bydlęcy – Cattle Market). Until 1921 a paramasonic Jewish lodge Eger was operating on the territory of Ostrów Wielkopolski. In 1930 there were 51 people in the Jewish community. Adult and self reliant men who were its members were: Arnold Tisch, Juliusz Bober, Dawid Bober, Jakob Beres, Abraham Berenstein, Beno Wollheim, Maksymilian Michlowitz, Heiman Tuch and Jakob Tapper. Adult but non self reliant community members were: Izak Berenstein, Leonard Berenstein, Maks Berenstein, Maurycy Tuch, Samuel Tuch and Abraham Goldstein[1.5].

After Germans took over Ostrów Wielkopolski in September 1939, they destroyed liturgical utensils in the town synagogue and turned it into a warehouse. In the spring of 1940 Jews from Ostrów were deported to a ghetto in Łódź, and from there most of them were taken to an extermination camp in Chełmno upon the Ner River and murdered there. It is known that at least one person survived the war. It was a girl named Betti Bober[1.6].

During the occupation. Germans completely destroyed an old Jewish district in Ostrów Wielkopolski (the so-called Zielony Rynek - Green Market), including the remains of the first Jewish cemetery (the so called Peace Grove). A square-park was created in its place and remained until present day. The Jewish cemetery in Słowacki Avenue was destroyed as well. In its place Germans established a garden. Pieces of broken matzevas were used for building a small wall surrounding a park next to the so-called Zielony Rynek (Green Market)[1.7].

Interesting facts:

1) A German empress Augusta personally got involved in helping victims of the tragedy in the synagogue of Ostrów Wielkopolski in 1872.

2) Hermine Schildberger of Ostrów origin, at the end of the 19th century got involved in a famous dispute with a well known German writer Theodor Fontane. In this dispute Hermine Schildberger protected the good name of her home town and its citizens.

3) Elfriede Spiro (later Segré), who was born in Ostrów Wielkopolski, was introduced in 1959 to a Swedish royal couple, during a ceremony of the Noble Prize in physics. Her husband, a professor Emilio Segré, was a Noble Prize winner.

4) Professor Aron Freimann, son of I. M. Freimann - a rabbi from Ostrów Wielkopolski, was a close friend of Pope Pius XI. Thanks to this acquaintance the Freimann family managed to safely leave from Germany to the USA in 1939.

5) Max Spiro, a merchant and banker from Ostrów was also a commander of a voluntary fire brigade in Ostrów.