Welcome to the
memorial website dedicated
history of the former
pages are in
memory of this Jewish community
that existed for 300 years in the heart of Wielkopolska,
the culture of Ashkenaz
flourished for centuries,
the area that later became the Prussian province of Posen.
We remember the men, women
and children of the community
who became ensnared in the
and did not survive.
Z'Chor - זכור —
(Photo courtesy František Bányai, Prague)
was the venerable old synagogue of Schneidemühl, consecrated on 15
when Rabbi Plessner added these words:
“May this house serve also as a monument
to the unforgettable man and father of our country,
the late King Friedrich Wilhelm
During the pogrom
9/10 November 1938, later flippantly called 'Kristallnacht,'
this House of God, a government-protected monument in the center of
was desecrated, burned and destroyed by notorious Nazi
hundred years ago this town was known to Polish-speaking people by
such names as Pyła or Piła. The early Low German-speaking settlers called
their town Snyde-Mole,
Schnyde-Möhle, or Schneyde-Mühle.
Schneidemühl was the German name that was given to the Polish
town of Piła by the Prussians in 1772, after their annexation of the
town’s Polish name Piła — derived from the Polish root word 'pila,'
meaning ‘saw’ — referred to a place where rushing water powered a device
used for sawing wood. The word Schneidemühl is a literal
from Polish to German. But the Jews of the area simply wrote
the name of their town פילה
in Hebrew letters.
the late 1700s until 1940, Schneidemühl was the home of
generations of this webmaster's ancestors, the Simonstein
(Photo courtesy Bella Rothenberg, Kfar Giladi,
'Valley of the
* * *
at Yad Vashem, on
the Mount of Remembrance in Israel.
The community of
Schneidemühl — one of 4,500 destroyed communities —
commemorated here in stone, together
with others of Pomerania, Posen and West Prussia.
* * *
- What happened to the Jews of Schneidemühl during
the Nazi period?
- The Jews of the community were rounded up
in 1940 and fell victim to the mass deportations 1941-44. (see article
- Is there a Yizkor
book for Schneidemühl?
But a comprehensive book on the community's history has recently been
written. (see article below)
- How large was the Jewish community in its heydays,
and before the Nazi period?
- Approximately twelve hundred members
during the 1850s;
- six hundred and twenty-five members in the
- Are there any Landsmannschaften
for the Jewish
Landsmannschaften were rarely formed for communities that used to be
located in the former Prussian province of Posen.
- What is the current name of Schneidemühl?
- Since the end of
the Second World War the town, situated in the
province of Wielkopolskie in north-western
is known again by its original Polish name PIŁA.
- Are there any extant Mohel books (detailed
chronological name lists of circumcisions performed by a Mohel)
for the Jewish
the only Mohel book that was kept by the community during the 19th
century was destroyed
during the pogrom night of 9/10 November 1938.
- Are there any extant Jewish birth, marriage or death
available for Schneidemühl?
of the Jewish records that were begun in 1821 have been located yet. It
is feared that they did not survive the Nazi
- Where can one find any civil birth, marriage, death
records of Schneidemühl?
truth about the deportations and fate
of the Jews of Schneidemühl
Over the past fifty
numerous accounts concerning the fate of the Jews of
appeared in print. However, none of them accord with historic record. They were but
historical facts. Regrettably,
errors have been perpetuated to this day in numerous books, articles
and websites that deal
with this period of the Holocaust.
erroneos claim that the
Jews of Schneidemühl had been deported together with the
more than 1,200 Jews of Stettin (who were subsequently
sent to Piaski,) is not
supported by evidence found in the extant volume of files of
the former Reichsvereinigung
Juden in Deutschland.
[Cf. file 75 C Re1, No. 483,
Bundesarchiv Berlin, and USHMM Archives: RG-14.003M; Acc. 1993.A.059.
therefore be stated that —
deportations of the Jews of
Schneidemühl had indeed been planned by the Gestapo
coincide with the terrible events that occurred in Stettin — those
were NOT carried out together.
of the Jewish
Community of Schneidemühl:
1641 to the Holocaust
Peter Simonstein Cullman
Avotaynu, Inc. USA
7" x 10", hardcover, 390 pp.
ISBN 1-886223-27-0 - 2006
recently no memorial book existed for the destroyed Jewish community of
Schneidemühl, the recent publication of this new comprehensive
to life again the
true history of this 300-year-old community.
In documenting the growth of this community—from the arrival of Jews in
this part of Poland in the 16th century to its destruction in the 20th
century—this book offers any reader who has a keen interest in
history a fine portrayal of this now vanished Jewish community. Viewed
against the background of major European
historical events and of Haskalah
the Jewish Enlightenment of the late
18th century, the reader is also given a detailed
description in word and picture of the Tempel
, the once splendid
synagogue of Schneidemühl.
As a result of many years of painstaking research by the author, the
lives and the fate of most members of this Jewish community — as it
existed in the 1930s — could be traced. The chapter Z'Chor
features chronologies of
all those who were caught in the Nazis' web. Here their fate is
documented in detail to ensure that their memory is preserved.
The complete data of the 1939 German Minority
Census for Schneidemühl, several lists of
emigrants and survivors, as well as an annotated burial register,
period 1854-1940, with names and
data of more than nine hundred members of the community, are just some
of the many archival records found in this work.
Although not the slightest trace of a Jewish presence remains in
renamed town Piła — this book brings back to memory a once notable,
vibrant and sizable Jewish community.
The book can
purchased directly from the publishers by visiting:
155 N. Washington Avenue, Bergenfield, NJ USA
Tel. 1-800-286-8296 FAX: 201-387-2855