Jewish Traces in Gdańsk date back to the 15th century.


However, Gdansk played a very special role among Jewish communities in the interwar period (1920-1939) Tas there were made  considerable efforts to aid and protect Eastern European Jews living in or passing through Germany. Because of its port and its close economic connections with Poland and Russia, Danzig always had a resident nucleus of Eastern European Jews. Danzig Jews had a distinguished record in protecting these Jews from the harassment of Prussian official.31 Particularly noteworthy are the actions of Rabbi Dr. Robert Kaelter in this regard. During World War 1, he personally secured the release of Russian Jewish prisoners of war. He also helped prevent the expulsion of civilian Russian Jews from Danzig. These Russians, mostly merchants, greatly aided the German war effort by helping to secure supplies from occupied areas of Russia.32 But although they aided their Eastern European brethren, Danzig Jews also wanted to maintain their German-Liberal style community. Because Eastern European Jews often sympathized with Zionism, the leadership of Danzig Jewry made several attempts to limit non-citizen participation in Synagogen-Gemeinde elections.33 These incidents left a residue of bitterness between the two groups that exacerbated the social and cultural differences which were never totally overcome even in the final days of the community.

THE FREE CITY OF DANZIG

We have noted several times how the special nature of Danzig had profound effects on the development of its Jewish community. At no time was this relationship more evident than during the period of the Free City (1920-39). During the peace conference after World War 1, Danzig became a major point of contention between defeated Germany and the newly independent Polish state.

The Allies had declared as one of their war aims the establishment of an independent Poland with access to the sea. As Poland's traditional outlet to the sea, Danzig seemed destined to become part of Poland. Yet another principle clashed with the desire for an independent Poland, namely the principle of national self-determination. Danzig was overwhelmingly German, and the local citizenry, including the Jewish community, had publicly stated their opposition to inclusion of Danzig in the Polish state. The solution that the peace conference eventually came up with, the creation of a Free City of Danzig under the supervision of the League of Nations, satisfied none of the parties most directly concerned. Despite significant concessions to them regarding the operations of the port, the Poles felt that a city administration antagonistic to Poland could render these concessions worthless, The Germans regarded the Danzig settlement as another distasteful part of an imposed peace. The Danzigers had no desire for an independent "national" existence, even though in earlier eras Danzig had just such a semi-autonomous existence. However undesirable the new situation was to them, the Danzigers quickly took up the tasks of running the city and maintaining order, lest the Poles find some pretext for intervention.34 The Free City as constituted included Danzig proper, the resort of Zoppot and three rural districts with a total population of 325.000 people.

In addition, some information on the Gdansk synagogues


The Great Synagogue (Polish: Wielka Synagoga, German: Neue Synagoge), was a synagogue in the city of Danzig, Germany (later Free City of Danzig, now Gdańsk, Poland). It was built in 1885-1887 on Reitbahnstraße, now Bogusławski Street. It was the largest synagogue in the city, and was demolished by the authorities in April 1939.
The synagogue was built in the Neo-Renaissance style on the basis of a long rectangle. It was one of the most distinctive buildings in Danzig, with its large dome, two towers and a lantern seen at night. In the middle of a front row there was a large stained glass window with the Star of David, and all spires were topped with meshed Stars of David.
The spacious interior was topped with a sail vault, from which enormous chandeliers were hung. The main chamber was located underneath the dome. The Aron Kodesh ark was on a pedestal behind a parokhet curtain in an apse. Above the ark, the tables of the Decalog were supported by two stone lions. Behind it were large organs and the choir of 100 members. The bimah was behind the pedestal.
Over 2.000 people could participate in the services. In the main chamber there were two rows of benches seating over 1600 people. Along the sidewalls and over the western entrance there were massive arcade galleries for over 300 women, supported by multi-sided pillars. The walls were decorated with motifs of plants, geometric symbols and Biblical verses. The entire synagogue had an electric heating system and lighting , relatively uncommon in the late 19th century.

The synagogue was financed by the five reform kehillas: Winnicy, Wrzeszcza, Szopy, Starych Szkotów and Szeroka Street. It was built by a Berlin company , Ende and Boeckman, chosen by the city council.
It was opened with a ceremony on 15 September 1887, by the Danzig rabbi Kossman Werner, in the presence of the city council and the faithful. The scrolls of Torah were transported in from the Old Synagogue and two other synagogues (the Great Synagogue was seen as a building uniting the Gdansk Jews), placed in the Aron Kodesh and the Eternal Light was lit. The first service was held on 8 December 1887.
At the beginning of the 20th century the synagogue became one of the most notable centres of Reform Judaism. A large museum of Judaism contained many rare and old items-judaica , particularly the collection gathered by Lesser Giełdziński. Many concerts were held here, and rabbis and professors from all around the world gave lectures.

The 1920s saw the rising anti-Semitism and the increasing strength of the Nazi Party in Germany. Danzig was closely tied to Germany, from which it was officially separated by the Treaty of Versailles, and it became an increasingly unpleasant place for Jews, particularly after March 1933, when the local Nazi party won control of the city government. The synagogue thereafter was a target of two arson attempts. Both were stopped by a local militia formed by the local Jewish population to protect the building. While the Constitution of the Free City of Danzig offered Danzig Jews greater protection than their brethren in Germany, Nazi sympathizers invaded the synagogue in August 1938 and trampled the Torah scrolls. The kehillas' leaders decided to safeguard some of their relics — the archives were shipped to Jerusalem, the library to Vilnius, and the museum to the United States.



At the same time, mounting fiscal pressure forced the synagogue to sell the organs to Kraków, candlesticks to Warsaw, and the benches to Nowy Port. This was not enough, and in early 1939 the synagogue was sold to the senate of Danzig. On 15 April 1939, the last service was held in the building, and soon thereafter the senate took control. A banner was hung on a fence surrounding the building with the text: "Come, lovely May, and free us from the Jews". On 2 May, the Nazi-dominated government began demolishing the building.After the German invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, Nazi troops moved into the city, eradicating any resistance and claiming the city for Germany. During the Second World War many of the Jews of Danzig died in the Holocaust; although after the war Danzig was incorporated to Poland and became Gdańsk, many of the survivors left Europe to settle in Israel.
The site of the synagogue is vacant. Part of the land is held by the new Gdańsk kehilla, part belongs to the Urząd Ochrony Państwa (Office for State Protection) and on the rest a Shekspearean Theater is under construction.
There are no realistic plans to rebuild a new synagogue.


Synagogue in Pańska Street in Gdańsk - at present  non -existent .
Was built in 1818 by the reform kehilas from Stare Szkoty.It was located very close to city walls.Synagogue it was the house of prayer for men until 1851.After modernization and realized reforms of the community by rabin Abraham Stein was added a special gallery for women. All liturgy was in German. Unfortunately, In 1878 this synagogue was burnt and very soon reconstructed.
In 1887 it was closed as The Great Synagogue was opened. During WW2 the building was damage in 70% and finally in 1960 ruines were pulled down.


Synagogue in Lawendowa Street in Gdańsk - non-existent today.
It was built in 1818 by the reform kehilas from Winnica, opened in 1880, and 1890 was pulled down 10 years later.
Nowadays there is a dwelling- house.

Synagogue Na Piaski Street in Gdańsk - today non-existent.One of two built the othodox synagogues in Gdańsk.Was built in 1932 roku. Together with House of pray it was opened school.. On night 29 August 1938 the Nazi-dominated government began demolishing the building . At the beginning of WWII building was pulled down.

The Old Synagogue Szeroka Street in Gdańsk - today non-existent .Was opened at the end of 19th century at the end of Szeroka Street, building of old granary.Was closed in 1887, when was opened The Great Synagogue.Later was opened soap factory, today there is a park.
.

The New Synagogue in Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz
As of 1945 the main house of prayer for Jewish Community in Tricity.
The idea of a new synagogue dastes back to 1922 when a huge group of Jewish refugees from Russia arrived and from the part of Poland -Wielkopolska.In 1926 they got a permit to build a new house of prayer in Wrzeszcz.

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