Jewish Görlitz

A Guided Tour through Jewish Tradition in Görlitz

1. Jewish cemetery, Biesnitzer Straße since 1850 The number of Jewish Citizens rose from 149 in 1852 to 643 in 1880 (1,18% of the total population in Görlitz). It is estimated that 323 Jewish Citizens were buried in the cemetery. The first Jewish cemetery (after the Jews had been expelled from Görlitz in 1395) must have been situated next to the so-called „Kahle", today Johannes-Wüsten-Straße.

2. Three synagogues can still be visited in Görlitz. The first one was a synagogue where the Jews worshipped Jahwe in private rooms in Nikolaistraße 12 (till 1853). The second one is the Old Synagogue in Langenstraße (from 1853 to 1911). And as the second synagogue turned out to be too small, the New Synagogue in Otto-Müller-Straße was erected. It served its purpose till 1938.

3. Some Görlitz street names remind of Jewish Citizens who influenced economy, social life and culture. These are: Martin-Ephraim-Straße (famous benefactor and ironmonger), Jonas-Cohn-Straße (professor of philosophy in Freiburg), Albert-Blau-Straße (well- known dentist in Görlitz), Hildegard-Burjan-Platz (daughter of the Jewish rhabbi Freund who converted to Catholicism and became a nun), Jüdenstraße.

4. There are several memory stones (Stolpersteine) in the inner city of Görlitz that remind of the cruel fate of Jewish Citizens during Hitler's dictatorship. They mostly can be found in Jacobstraße, Demianiplatz and Berliner Straße.

5. The so called „Mikwe", a Jewish Bath is shown to the tourists by some guides. But in literature it is doubted that the basin in Nikolaistraße 5 served this particular purpose.

6. Jewish shops and department Stores had a high reputation before the Second World War: those were: Abramowitz, Dresel, Fischer, Freundlich, Friedländer, Hörn, Jacobsohn, Kafka, Karger, Meirowski, Meyer, Pese, Rauch, Skala and Totschek. Jewish doctors enjoyed people's trust: those were: Dr. Blau, Dr. Krebs,Dr. Warschawski, Dr. Nürnberger and Dr. Oppenheimer And literature and culture in Görlitz were promoted by: Martin Ephraim (merchant), the family Alexander-Katz, Ludwig Kunz (editor of a literature magazine „Die Lebenden"), Dr. Paul Mühsam (solicitor and writer), Mira Lobe (famous children's book writer, well known in Austria), Paul Cassirer (famous art collector of Berlin, born in Görlitz).

7. The Holy Grave, also called „Jerusalem on the river Neisse" is a perfect replica of the original Holy Grave in Israel.

8. Opposite the Jewish cemetery there was a former Nazi concentration camp „KZ Biesnitzer Grund". It was connected to the KZ Groß Rosen. Jewish prisoners were forced there to work as slave workers for the WUMAG factory (Waggon- und Maschinenbau). One of the former shacks has been transferred after 1945 to a place between the New Synagogue and the Catholic Church.

9. The „Villa Ephraim" at Goethestraße is well-known by many young people. It was up to recently the Görlitz Youth Hostel. Martin Ephraim, a successful ironmonger lived in this beautiful art nouveau castle. He was a member of town Council and most of the museum artefacts of the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum (today: Dom Kultury) were donated by bim. He died in the KZ Theresienstadt.

10. On 29* of March, 1933 the Görlitz court house was occupied by armed SA forces. They forced all the Jewish judges and lawyers to leave the building and march from there to the town hall, ridiculed by passers-by. Evelyn Rau Gudrun Töpfer Rainer Michel