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Grodzisk Wielkopolski


GRODZISK WIELKOPOLSKI (Ger. Graetz; Yid. גריידיץ), town in W. Poland, formerly in the province of Posen (Prussia). Jewish merchants frequented the town in the middle of 16th cantury and settled there at the end of the century The Jewish population numbered 374 in 1663, 812 in 1765, 1,156 (half the total population) in 1793, and 1,634 in 1820. In 1820 the existing synagogue collapsed and a new one was opened in 1822. Rabbis of Grodzisk include Judah Loeb b. Solomon of Prague, who had to flee during the Northern War (1700–21); Gershon b. Jehiel Landsberger (c. 1726–40); Ẓevi Hirsch b. Benjamin (c. 1768–70), author of Tiferet Ẓevi and rabbi in Brody and Hamburg; and Benjamin Schreiber (c. 1820–39). In the second half of the 19th century the noted talmudist and ẓaddikElijah *Guttmacher, among the founders of Hovevei Zion, forerunner of Zionism, lived in Grodzisk and was famous as an admor. Many ḥasidim, mainly from Congress Poland, used to visit him and get his blessing. Kibbutz Sedeh Eliyahu is named for him. In 1898 a society for the study of Jewish history and literature was founded there. Toward the end of the 17th century Jews from Grodzisk visited the Leipzig fairs. Beginning from the 19th century Jewish merchants contributed to the economic development of the town, establishing business connections with various towns in Germany.

Toward the end of the 19th century the Jewish population declined, numbering 240 in 1905, and 61 in 1921 (out of a total population of 5,604), and 71 in neighboring Buk (out of 3,408). In 1922 the community ceased to exist. On the eve of World War ii there were around 50 Jews in the town. Many fled, and on September 7, 1939, the last 13 Jews were expelled to Buk and from there to the General Gouvernement. In 1940 the synagogue and Jewish cemetery were destroyed and the site became a public garden. The communal archives (including Guttmacher's correspondence) were transferred to Jerusalem. Rudolph *Mosse, the well-known publisher of the Berliner Tageblatt, who was born in Grodzisk, founded a hospital there in the name of his father who practiced as physician in the town.


A. Heppner and I. Herzberg, Aus Vergangenheit und Gegenwart der Juden… in den Posener Landen (1909), 420f.; Główny Urząd Staystyczny, Skorowidz miejscowości Rzeczypospolitej Polski, 10 (1926), s.v.; I.T. Eisenstadt et al., Da'at Kedoshim (1897–98), 45; D. Tollet, "Dzialalnosc gospodarcza Zydow w Grodzisku Wiekopolskim za panowania Wazow w latach 1558–1668," in: bŻih 2:98 (1976).

[Shlomo Netzer (2nd ed.)]

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