- great poland following the decline of poznan after 1736. The "sages of Leszno" were renowned throughout Europe. At the end of the 18th century students came to the Leszno yeshivah from Germany as well as from central and southeastern Poland. Rabbis who served the town included Mordecai b. Ẓevi Hirsch (1721?–53), who was requested to be the main arbitrator in the dispute between jacob emden and jonathan eybeschuetz . After his death his brother and successor, abraham abusch lissa (1753–59), continued the attempt at arbitration. David Tevele, rabbi from 1774 to 1792, gave strong and eloquent expression to the Orthodox opposition to Haskalah trends of assimilation. In a trenchant sermon he castigated the subservience of N.H. Wessely to an alien culture, drawing attention to the human and humanistic values inherent in the traditional Jewish culture and way of life. From 1809 to 1821 jacob lorbeerbaum was rabbi, and from 1864 to 1912 Samuel Baeck, father of leo baeck . akiva eger studied in Leszno from 1780 to 1790. Raphael Kosch, a native of Leszno, was first vice president of the National Council in Berlin in 1848 and headed the procedural committee of the Prussian Parliament. Ludwig Kalisch (1814–1882), the humorist who participated in the revolution of 1848 and later moved to Paris, was also a native of the city. The Jewish population in Leszno rose from 400 families in 1656 to 4,989 persons in 1765. However, after the partition of Poland and the Prussian annexation of the town in 1793, the community began to decline. Deprived of their commercial markets in the Polish interior and in Russia, many Leszno Jews moved to central Germany. The numbers fell from 3,960 in 1833 to 2,578 in 1858, 1,206 in 1895, 804 in 1913, and 322 in 1921. (Jacob Rothschild) -Holocaust Period Under Nazi occupation, Leszno came under the Regierungsbezirk Posen (Wartheland). No ghetto was created in the town, but a judenrat existed. The Jews were obliged to appear daily before the German authorities for hard labor. Jews were driven out of their houses and the synagogue was transformed into a storehouse. In December 1940, 300 Jews were deported to grodzisk mazowiecki in the General Government and in February 1941 were taken together with the Jews of that town to the Warsaw ghetto. In Leszno itself or the vicinity a Jewish labor camp functioned from April 1941 until August 1943, with about 250 inmates. (Danuta Dombrowska) -BIBLIOGRAPHY: L. Lewin, Geschichte der Juden in Lissa (1904); idem, in: MGWJ, 73 (1929), 179; Jacobson, ibid., 64 (1920), 282; 65 (1921), 45, 47, 158, 162, 235; I. Trunk, in: Bleter far Geshikhte, 2:1–4 (1949), 64–75, passim; D. Dabrowska, in: BŻIH, 13–14 (1955), 122–84, passim.
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.
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