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Chemnitz

Chemnitz (kĕm´nĬts), formerly Karl-Marx-Stadt (kärl-märks-shtät), city (1994 pop. 279,520), Saxony, E central Germany, on the Chemnitz River. It is a major industrial center and an important road and rail junction; it has become one of the most heavily polluted cities in Europe. Manufactures include machine tools, machinery, chemicals, private and commercial vehicles, and textiles. Nearby is a large open-pit lignite mine. Of Wendish origin, the city was chartered in 1143, when it was also granted a linen-weaving monopoly. It grew as a trade center, was devastated in the Thirty Years War (1618–48), and recovered its prosperity after the introduction (late 17th cent.) of cotton milling. Noteworthy buildings of the city include two Renaissance-style city halls (one built in 1496 and the other in 1911) and a late-Gothic church, the Stadtkirche (1136). The city was renamed Karl-Marx-Stadt in 1953 but returned to its original name shortly after German reunification in 1990.

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Chemnitz

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Chemnitz

CHEMNITZ

CHEMNITZ (formerly Karl-Marx-Stadt ), city in Germany. Jews are first mentioned in Chemnitz in 1308. In October 1367 the Jew Frondel was assigned a tax of 50 groszy. Later the Jews, once more mentioned in 1423, probably moved to nearby Bohemia and from there to Poland, preserving the town's Latinized name, Caminici, and other medieval versions such as Kamentz and Kempnitz in the family names Kempnitz, Karminsky, and others. In the 1860s a few individual Jews lived in Chemnitz; by 1871 there were 101. A Jewish religious and educational association organized religious services in 1874, founded a ḥevra kaddisha in 1878, and acquired a cemetery in 1879. The first rabbi was appointed in 1881 and the first teacher in 1885, when the community obtained corporate rights from the Saxon state. A synagogue was consecrated in 1899. In 1890, 955 Jews lived in Chemnitz; the numbers were 1,137 in 1905, 2,796 (0.84% of the total population) in 1925, and 2,387 (0.68%) in June 1933. Under the kingdom of Saxony (until the end of 1918) there was a ban on sheḥitah. The community had cultural, social welfare, and youth organizations. Dr. Leo Fuchs (the last rabbi) was editor of the monthly paper Juedische Zeitung fuer Mittelsachsen from 1931 to 1938. Nazi excesses began early in 1933. In September 1935 Jewish children were no longer allowed to attend public schools; as a result a Jewish school was set up. On *Kristallnacht (Nov. 9, 1938) the synagogue was burned down and all male Jews were arrested; with the exception of the rabbi, protected by an Aryan physician, they were all sent temporarily to Buchenwald where one died and two shortly after being discharged. Presumably from the end of 1941, all those unable to emigrate were deported to the East; no records on emigration and deportation are available. In 1945/46, 50 Jews lived in Chemnitz; in 1959 there were 30 in the town, then renamed Karl-Marx-Stadt. Dr. Curt Cohn, who survived the Holocaust, moved to Berlin and became a judge of the Supreme Court of the German Democratic Republic.

bibliography:

H. Ermisch (ed.), Urkundenbuch der Stadt Chemnitz (1879), 8, 19, 82; A. Levy, Geschichte der Juden in Sachsen (1900), 35, 41, 99–111; Fuehrer durch die juedische Gemeindeverwaltung und Wohlfahrtspflege in Deutschland (1932–33), 321–3; Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 387; Juedisches Jahrbuch fuer Sachsen (1931/32); A. Diamant, Chronik der Juden in Chemnitz (1970).

[Toni Oelsner]

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