We do not have the evidence which confirms that Jews actually lived in Drawsko Pomorskie between 13th and 14th century. However, Gerhard Korth in his article Prześladowania Żydów i “czarna śmierć” w Nowej Marchii (Persecution of Jews and „the Black Death” in the Neumark) claims that during the plague, so called “the black death”, on 3rd February 1351, all of the Jews from the Neumark were burned in Chojno and their properties were confiscated. People blamed the Jews for spreading the plague and forced Ludwik Wittelsbach, Margrave of Brendenburg to give the order of punishing responsible people personally. Also Jewish inhabitants of Drawsko were among the victims of riots.

After 300 years in reports on the presence of Jews in cities of Neumark, Magistrate of Drawsko Pomorskie made the observation: “Cessat von Juden” (“Free of Jews.”) and also the request which concerned avoiding the city by Jews in the future. However, in 1750 the presence of four Jews in Drawsko Pomorskie was noticed, i.e. Israel Lewin, Gabriel Moses, Joseph Hirsch and Jacob Moses the undertaker.

It follows that the first Jewish families arrived in the city  between 1735 and 1740. We know that the Jews called Leiser Lewin lived in Drawsko Pomorskie in 1779. At that time ,it was possible for Jews to receive protective benefits only in return for buying up the particular quantity of commodity from royal porcelain factory and export it as far as it was possible. One of the Jews living in the city probably provided military commands with lanterns. In 1770s the city was inhabited by six Jewish families and at the beginning of 19th century there were seven Jewish families. In 1813, eleven Jews from Drawsko took on official surnames along with Prussian citizenship.

In 1840, the Jewish community in Drawsko Pomorskie  already had 115 members and in the next 10 years increased to 152. Rosenthal served as a religious leader.  In subsequent years, Wolf and Grunauer were employed in the municipality,. Around 1863 – Basch and then in 1869 – Silberstein served in the municipality.  After 1880, S Lewin assumed the position of teacher and cantor. until 1895.

It is estimated that from the 19th century to 1874 and probably a few years later, Drawsko had  71 Jewish families. The birth rate in the municipality in that period  was 184 and the death rate – 132. At that time, 48 couples got married.

In the 1870’s, the number of members in the municipality was constantly increasing and in 1880, it was 179 people who  accounted for 4% of the whole population in the city. However, during the next few years Jewish population began to decrease as a result of mortality and emigration to bigger cities. Marcus Kuschner was the last clerk who served as a rabbi, teacher and cantor.

At the turn of the 20th centuries, there were only 105 members and  the  budget was 2617. A lot of Jewish charity organizations functioned there, i.e. Cgewra Kadisza and Jewish Association of Women (Israelitischer Frauenverein). Up until 1909, Chewra Kadisza had its own statute, which was composed of 8 chapters and 46 paragraphs. Between 1900 and 1905 the number of children attending Jewish school decreased from 10 to 6. The city was inhabited by 33 Jewish families. About 1906 and later around 1910 and 1911, taxes increased and the budget of municipality increased to 3000. 31 people were obliged to pay municipal taxes.

During the First World War, Fritz Feinberg (1895-1915), an inhabitant of Drawsko Pomorskie, was killed on the front. After 1920, the municipality shrank to 50 members. That condition persisted probably until 1931. In contrast, the city was inhabited by 7300 people. The budget of the municipality also increased and it amounted to 1684. In Pomerania, there were not many Jewish landowners at the time. One of them, Kurt Hirsch probably lived in Grabowo property near Drawsko Pomorskie about 1913. That property were supposed to be inherited by Heinrich Kaphan from Środa Wielkopolska near Poznań. He was a soldier who learned agriculture from Hirsch. In 1920, he bought the pen in Żabinek and married the daughter of George Manasse, who was a grain trader. Five years later ,he had to sell the house which had been built before the wedding. He came back to Garbowo as an administrator and he became its owner very soon. His family was more and more isolated from society. That is why he sold his property and emigrated to Brazil, where he established a plantation. As a result of his knowledge in the field of agriculture, he could also help other Jewish emigrants. Unfortunately, there were too few Jews in Rolandia (Parana State), where he settled down. That is why they could not establish their own community.

In the 1920’s, Drawsko, the same as other cities, struggled with  postwar inflation and affects of the Great Depression.  In spite of the dramatic unemployment and poverty which people could meet in the whole Reich, they managed to survive, especially thanks to local agriculture. Despite the difficult situation, Drawsko Pomorskie as a conservative city, resisted adopting Nazi ideology. In 1929, during  the election, National SocialistGerman Workers’ Party (NSDAP) reached only 7 votes in the city. However, during  the next  few years, Drawsko Pomorskiefell sway to  Nazi Propaganda. That is why that party had more supporters locally. Due to the new political situation after 1933, the Jewish community in Drawsko Pomorskie started to disintegrate. In 1935, there were only  9 Jewish inhabitants left  who were professionally active. Nazi processions became increasingly popular. On the night of 9th to 10th  of November 1938, riots connected with the destruction of Jewish properties took place there. This was later called Kristallnacht.

Because the Nazi s were becoming increasingly popular, the riots connected with destruction of Jewish property and intimidating the local  population also took place in Drawsko. In 1939 the city was inhabited by only 7  Jews.  We know that three of them were born in Drawsko and what is more, three of the Jewish women had gentile husbands. Four seven were deported in 1942 from Berlin to Auschwitz and Terezin (Theresienstadt).

 

Bibliographic note:

G. Salinger, Zur Erinnerung und zum Gedenken. Die einstigen jüdischen Gemeinden Pommerns, 2, (2006), 382-395.

Print