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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rosengarten and Kristallnacht

     As I explained previously, Edith remembers that Rosengarten, the Stettin street where she lived each summer from about 1937 until perhaps 1945, had a significant Jewish population. Indeed, many shops revealed in old photographs of Rosengarten Strasse appear to be Jewish.
     I've done some reading about the plight of Jews in Stettin, and, as it turns out, the events of Kristallnacht occurred very near Rosengarten. 
     For those who are unaware, Kristallnacht was a night of violence against Jews all across Germany. It is sometimes used to mark the beginning of the Jewish Holocaust. Kristallnacht hit the Stettin Jewish community pretty hard.
     It would be no exaggeration to say that Rosengarten was smack dab in the middle of Stettin's Kristallnacht, which was pretty localized to one large neighborhood.
     One source describes Stettin's "night of broken crystal" as follows:
Rosengarten, 1910
     When the [Nazi] ... Party took over power more and more members of the Jewish Community decided to run away from town, and the migrations increased after the events of Kristallnacht. The riots against Jews became so violent in town as never before. The synagogue was set on fire and 42 workshops and other buildings owned by Jews were destroyed. Windows were broken in department stores at Blumenreich’s in Große Wollweberstraße ..., at The Kargiers’ in Große Domstraße ..., at Rosenbaum’s in Breite Straße ..., at Labbow’s Company in Bollwerk ... and at Dannemann in Adolf-Hitler-Straße .... The chapel in the Jewish cemetery was also set on fire. On that night all the males from the Jewish Community... were taken to the concentration camp in Oranienburg. Many of them were released only after having presented documents authorizing them to leave the country, or after having proved that the community needs their work. (From Szczecin – History [Museum of the History of Polish Jews; Virtual Stetl]) 

     With the exception of the disturbances at Adolf-Hitler-Strasse and the cemetery, all of the violence mentioned here occurred very near Rosengarten:

Map of pre-war Stettin (See area highlighted in red below)

Click on graphics to enlarge (see blue detail below)

The street on which Edith lived (with her aunt, for a month during each summer, from about 1937 until 1945)—Rosengarten—is indicated in pink. The streets affected by Kristallnacht (November, 1938) are in green. (Adolf-Hitler-Strasse is pretty far to the northeast. It does not appear on our map. The old Jewish cemetery is located in an industrial section of town.) 
The Synagogue (also in green) is literally a stone's throw from Edith's aunt's apartment.
Edith's Aunt's apartment was at about the top of the "s" of Rosengarten on the above map. 
Edith was five years old during these events.

Breite Strasse
Jakobi Kirche along Breite Strasse
Edith, in May, on Rosengarten Strasse (modern-day Podgorna St.), with Jacobi Kirche in the background. (The church appears deceptively small. It is actually very tall: 360 feet.)

Music stores in Stettin

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