German Beginnings

The story of Jakob’s Torah begins in the town of Forst (Lausitz), a small town in Brandenburg, Germany, known until the late 1980’s for its booming textile industry. The history of Jews in the area is long and mirrors the patterns of immigration and expulsion seen across the country as laws were more and less antisemitic over the centuries.

Forst (Lausitz) in 1919 Source: Wikimedia Commons

A synagogue opened in Forst (Lausitz) in 1920. While the Jewish population had initially swelled in the late 19th century, the number of Jews fell progressively through the 1920s and 1930s; in 1925 census records showed 469 Jewish families in the town, a number which was nearly halved to 253 families by 1939.

Forst (Lausitz) on a map of Germany; located on the country’s Eastern border, near Poland. Source:

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