Jews had already lived in Bisztynek by the early XIX century. The first members of the local diaspora must have been rather rich and active, because already in 1821 a religious cemetery was established in the town. After 1847, a Jewish community was set up but most likely without a separate synagogue. The population was not higher than 70 people.

The Jews of Bisztynek mainly worked as traders. In the first decades of the twentieth century, the following people had their shops on the market (Markt, nowadays Chopin’s Square): L. Petzall and Jenny Jablonski were selling china, toys, haberdashery; Julius Lurie owned a department store, trading handmades, and fabrics. Max Rosenstein lived and traded by Bartoszycka Street (Bartensteinstrasse, today Żeromskiego Street). The  Jabłoński and Lurie families emigrated from Bisztynek before The Second world War broke out However, not all of the Jewish inhabitants of Bisztynek manage to emigrate - in 1938 Leo Joseph and Markus Löwe were incarcerated in concentration camps in Dachau and Sachsenhausen. Twenty-two people related with Bisztynek by birth or by inhabitancy were on lists of Holocaust victims.  In most cases they were captured in the capital or in other big cities in the Reich. They were then deported to the places of detention and extermination. These included ghettos in Theresienstadt, Riga, Minsk, Litzmannstadt (Łódź) and concentration camps in Auschwitz, Treblinka, Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Kulmhof (Chełmno). Members and relatives of families Jabłoński, Joseph, Lurie, Perl, Victor, survived the Holocaust. They are currently living in Israel, Great Britain and the United States.

Bibliography:

  • Führer durch die jüdische Gemeindeverwaltung und Wohlfahrtspflege in Deutschland: 1932–1933, Berlin 1933, s. 25.
  • Grabowski A., Spacer po Starym Rynku w Bisztynku, Moje Mazury [online] 28.02.2012, http://mojemazury.pl/93141,Bisztynek-spacer-po-starym-rynku.html#axzz31lmDlx1z [dostęp: 28.02.2019].
  • Kabus R., Juden in Ostpreussen, Husum 1998.
  • Knercer W., Cmentarze żydowskie na terenie województwa olsztyńskiego. Historia, stan obecny, [w:] Cmentarze żydowskie, Studia z dziejów kultury żydowskiej w Polsce, t. 2, Wrocław 1995.
  • Sommerfeld A., Juden im Ermland – Ihr Schicksal nach 1933, „Die Zeitschrift. für die Geschichte und Altertumskunde Ermlands” 1991, z. 10. 
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