My Genealogy Home Page:Information about Gerschen Ollendorff
Home Page |Surname List |Index of Individuals | |Sources
Gerschen Ollendorff (d. date unknown)Gerschen Ollendorff738 was born in Rawicz739, and died date unknown.
Notes for Gerschen Ollendorff:
An Historical Sketch
ALFRED JULIUS BRUCK
History of the Jewish Community of Rawicz.. 6
The Breslau Jewish Community ..9
The Ollendorff Families ..11
Joseph Gerschel Ollendorff ..14
Jacob and Nathan Ollendorff ..28
Henry Godfrey Ollendorff ..39
Marcus Ollendorff ..41
Loebel Ollendorff ..43 .
Jews have always shown a strong feeling for genealogy. The bible is full of genealogical lists and the Talmud also contains allusions to extant genealogical tables. Interest in genealogy however, declined completely after the destruction of the Second Temple and did not awaken among the Jews until modern times, due to the fact that the period between the 14th. and 17th. centuries saw great social and economic shiftings within Jewry which induced the new rich to prove the legitimacy of their new social position by searching their ancestry to try and find a link with some noble or famous ancestor.
But however successful one might be in tracing back one's ancestors, the year 1348 calls for a definite limit. With the year 1348, the year of the Black Death and the year of one of the greatest persecutions in Europe, all ties are broken off. Even if Medieval Jewish families survived that year, the persecutions under the Franciscan monk Capistrano in the 15th. centurywith their wholesale expulsions and slaughter, wiped out all further traces.
Another great difficulty in following up the generations of Jewish families is the fact that very few had fixed family names, and all the time we are confronted with first names that could applyto many families. As far as Ashkenezim are concerned, present-day Jewish families can rarely go back beyond the year 1500, and most Jews who originated from Eastern regions, i.e., roughly east of a line running along the Oder, the Carpathians and across to the Danube at Budapest, will hardly be able to trace their ancestors further back than to the end of the 18th. century.
Sephardic Jews will be more successful and can find ancestors back to the Middle Ages. Also Jews originating from Prague or Vienna will generally be able to go back as far as the 16th. century, and in many cases to the 15th. century or even further still, if they had ties with Italy, the Provence of Spain.
It was in compiling the history of my own family BRUCK, which belongs to the few that can go back beyond the year 1348 and has Sephardic blood in its veins, that I decided to add a record of the collateral relatives. To the many and partly famous families with which mine is intermarried, belong the OLLENDORFFS, due to the fact that my fathers mother Amalie Ollendorff, originated from this family.
Years of patient research work lie condensed in these pages. I have a huge correspondence with relatives, from whom I obtained further information of the various branches. I have searched in archives, in libraries, in books, I have travelled to various places where my ancestors have lived, I have read up the history of these places, and in time I collected a volume of notes which I have now put into this present form.
The statements made herein have been verified as far as possible in reference to synagogue records, tombstones, wills, family bibles, state and municipal and Jewish archives, records of the Chevra Kadiisha, schel books, but this had not been possible in every case, particularly since many records have been destroyed underthe Nazi regime and during World War 11, and I should therefore be grateful to be informed of any error that may be found.
I may add that I was in RAWICZ in April 1939 to visit the home of the OLLENDORFF's, when of the old Jewish community only one old lady, an octogenarian, was still living there, a certain Mrs.Bucslaner ?. I visited on this occasion the cemetery, which is situated a few miles out of the town and found all the graves intact. In the sunnyspring the old Ollendorffs were resting peacefully under the lichen-covered tombstones, little aware of the catastrophe that was soon to overtake European Jewry and affect many of their descendants.
Sexa Lequunter, but the story must be read up in books.
ALFRED J. BRUCK
December 20th. 1945.
ANN, M.Geschichte d. Gesellschaft der Brueder.Breslau 1880
Geschichte der Juden Schlesien.Breslau 1892-7
Geschichte der Landesrabbinats in Schlea.Breslau 1888
?? JGeschichte der jued.Gomeinde Rawitsch.Berlin1915
??TTE,A.Alte schlesische Judenfriedoofe.Berlin 1927
??AUER,J.Die Gasellschaft der Fraunde in Breslau.Breslau 1871
?????,A.Jued. Persoenlichkeiten in u.eus BreslauBreslau 1932
?PPNER &HERZBERG. Aus Verganenheit u.Gegenwart der Juden
in den Posner Landen.Foschmin 1904-28
AUSS, S.Festscrift Adolf SchwarzBerlin1917
?IN,L.Deutshe Einwendering in polnische Ghatti;
aus Jahrbuch jued. lit. Ges. Frankfurt a.l.Frkft. 1906-7
?IN.L.Geschichte der Israelit.Krankenvorffle-gungsenstalt Breslau1926
YER,L.Bibliographis Genesloguca Judaica. Jerusalem1942
ESNER, L.Sur Gaschichte der Juden in SchlesienBrieg 1862
BIN, I.Aus Dyhernfurtha jued.Vergungenheit.Breslau 1920
BRN, M..dER preussische Staat und die Judea.Berlin 1925
Magazin fuer die Wissenschaft des Judenturs.Berlin 1874-93
Zeitschrift fuer die Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland. Berlin1929-37
Encyclopedia Judaica.Berlin 1928-34
Jewish Encyclopedia.London 1901-06
Juedisches Lexikon. Berlin1927-1930
HISTORY OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF RAWICZ
Rawicz, from where the Ollendorffs originate, is one of the youngest towns in the province of Posen and was founded by Protestant refugees from Silesia during the Thirty Years War, who had settled near the village of Sierakowo, the present Wilhelmsgrund near Rawicz where the tolerant lord of the manor Adam Albrecht of Przyma-Przyjemski welcomed them with open arms and offered them a temporary refuge.
When after the Prager Separat Frieden of 1635 the Protestant inhabitants of Silesia had the choice of either returning to the Catholic Faith or of leaving the country within three years, this newly founded community received an ever-growing influx of Silesian Protestants into a stable community and thus bind them to their new homes. To be able to carry out this plan of founding a new town it was necessary to get the permission from the Polish King Wladislaw IV, and this was granted on 24th. March 1638. The actual foundation deed, was given by the Lord of the Manor in his castle of Sterchnest, is dated 26th. April 1639. The new town as a purely German city within Polish territory and surroundings was given the Magdeburg "Staedterecht" (municipal charter) and the inhabitants were guaranteed full religious rights according to the Augsburg Confession.
The founder of the city died in 1645; his successor confirmed the rights, and on this the first Jews are mentioned. It was a complaint made by the citizens. Jews must therefore have settled in the town shortly after its foundation, and on June 8th. 1648 a law was passed which prohibited permanent residence, but allowed a temporary stay within the city. But in spite of that they managed to settle there and the Lord of the Manor after the disastrous Swedish-Polish War was in a way quite pleased that they helped to restore trade and wealth. Further complaints were made by the citizens and in 1674 a new Jewish Law was passed which permitted the settlement of two Jews for life, but stated that the other Jews could only remain temporarily in the town.
In a document of the year 1698, hardly 25 years later, the Lord of the Manor speaks of "mainen Juden, die er ceinus Schutzes versichert" (his Jews whom he guarantees his protection) ; however, they had to pay their protection money. What the original amount was is not known; in 1719 it was fixed at 600 Tynfs, before 1731 it was already 1200, and from that year onwards 3000 Tynfs. (one Tynef or Tynph equals ten cents.)
In 1791 the jews of Rawicz at last succeeded in obtaining from Johann Sapichn, who was then the Lord of the Manor, an annulment of the previous regulations; at the same time they obtained a charter for commerce and industry. These rights were confirmed by his son and successor Count Peter of Sapiche in 1731 and extended to cloth manufacturing. A few names are mentioned in this charter among them MOSES GERSCHEN , the later OLLENDORFF
family. They were entitled to trade in cloth and to act as brokers in the town.
The chief industry of Rawicz was cloth manufacturing. In 1793 of all those engaged in industry 355 were cloth makers and 250 wool card? The Jews were in large numbers carrying on the intermediate trade, procuring the wool and exporting the finised cloth.
The Jewish community in its first years, was in charge of a few distinguished men who were called plojbe? (Parnaasim). During the first decades after the foundation there was no Rabbi; it appears that a teacher filled the gap, who at the same time was a butcher. In 1731 the community had a rabbi-adsministrator. As Lissa was still considered the mother community of Rawicz, to which she was subordinate in all matters of Beth Din, Rawicz was not allowed to have her own rabbi. It was not until 1755 that the first rabbi was installed.
As the Jews were protected by the Lord of the Manor the community enlarged more and more through influx from outside. While the community had only 60 tax papers in 1740, the number of Jews in 1793, when Rawicz was incorporated with Prussia, was 1087 out of a total population of 7290. The influx came, as the names indicate, from nearby places; Breslau, Glogeu, Kalisch, Kobylin, Krotoschin, Lencczye, Lissa, Meseritz, Opstov, Posen, Preusnitz, Sarne, Schrism, Schwersenz, and other districts. All new arrivals had to pay a fee for the settlement permit to the Lord of the Manor and an incorporation tax to the community.
In the year 1793, the year of the Third Partition of Poland, Rawicz became Prussian. During the Napoleonic Period it belonged to the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, in 1815 it became Prussian again. Now very heavy taxes had to be paid. In 1817 a certain PINCHAS OLLENDORFF from Sarneis mentioned in connection with a neat? pardon; there existed some special agreement between the small Jewish community of the nearby Sarne and Rawicz.
The community had 198 independant members in 1797. This number increased to 242 in 1804, to 334 in 1817 and 401 in 1835, when the total number of Jews was 1574. The number of Jewish families in 1834 is stated in a municipal record as 357. Many Jews came to Rawicz from Lissa after the Great Fire of 1790, when the Lissa community of 4000-5000 decreased to 3311 in the year 1795.
Among the 401 members of the Jewish community in 1835 there were 99 merchants, 86 shopkeepers, 33 tailors, 14 furriers, 7 wadding manufacturers, 5 haberdashers, 8 factors, 2 brokers, 9 drivers, 3 glaziers, 1 baker, 1 second hand bookseller, 2 bookbinders, 1 lending librarian and agent, 7 day labourers, 2 porters, 3 nurses, 1 doctor, 5 rabbis, 14 teachers, and 91 without a profession, among them 48 widowers.
Until 1848 the membership of the community remained about the same. In 1847 there were 405 independant members, but then a steady decline set in.The figures for the tax paying members were:-
18681701914 the entire community
1874190consisted of 363 Jews.
German family names are occasionally met with before1800, but in greater numbers only since 1806, when the name OLLENDORFF appears, than in after1811, but before 1819.
The Jew Law of 1813 meant a complete change in the administration of community affairs; so far the elders were responsible for the smooth working, but now a proper, responsible board with all rights and responsibilities had to be elected for a certain period. We find a J.P.
OLLENDORFF as a member of the first board.
The Jewish community had a Great Synagogue since 1753, which, however, suffered much from the smaller synagogues and private religious services. It was therefore necessary in 1837 to stop all private religious services under the law of the 9th. March 1834. In 1889 a new synagogue was consecrated, which was erected on the site of the old one.
There were quite a number of Jewish social institutions, first of all we might mention the school which was first private and since 1836 under the control of the community, which received a certain subsidy from the town council. The number of pupils dropped from 384 in 1844 to 92 in the year 1872, and when the school was closed down in the following year there was only34. The children were then transferred to the municipal schools.
The oldest institution of the community was the Chowra Kadishe, which probably goes back to 1728, The cemetary is already mentioned. Then there was the Mikweh, built in 1815 and later enlarged and furnished. In 1838 the community decided to build a hospital and a ?-house. In 1891 and 1895 two alms houses were opened. Poor members received assistance from about 1800-1908 from the society Haspakath, and the society Hachnessath Kallah provided for the poor until 1908, when both these societies ceased to exist. The various agencies which were to be used for all kinds of assistance must also be mentioned.
During the 19th. century Rawicz had a flourishing Jewish community, which like most communities in Eastern Germany decreased by migration to the large cities, particularly to Posen, Bresl;au and Berlin, and then by emigration to America. The World War 1 sealed also the fate of Rawicz. In 1918 it again became Polish; most Jews left the town, the Jewish community was dissolved, and some two decades later there were no more Jews left. In 1939 the synagogue was converted to a church, and the cross replaced the Mogen David on the dome.
THE BRESLAU JEWISH COMMUNITY
Breslau, the capital of Silesia, was founded by Miecislaw in 1278 and came under the rule of Bohemia in 1335, Austria 1527, Prussia 1741 and Poland 1945. The history of the early Jews of Breslau is linked up with that of Silesia in general until in 1455 King Ladisleus isssued a decree banning Jews from Breslau "until eternity".
In the second half of the 16th. century Polish Jews began to come to Breslau for business purposes and in 1630 some received the permission to settle there. Silesian Jews, however, were still denied the right to reside until 1688, when the beginning of a new Jewish community was founded by Zuelz Jews. It was the Jews ofZuelz who had founded the first synagogue, the Zuelzer Schul. It aroused the envy of the Jews ofGlogau, who built two of their own.
By 1697 five Jewish families had settled in Breslau, by 1737 they had increased to sixteen, and in 1776 the figure had increased to twenty-five. The edict of tolerance of1713 somewhat eased there conditions. Their status was further improved in the 18th. and 19th. centuries, and Breslau became an important Jewish centre with many famous men and the first Jewish theological seminary, which became the model of all similar institutions throughout the world. For centuries it has been the third largest Jewish community in Germany, until the Hitler regime wiped it out completely.
The Breslau community was not allowed to have a cemetery until 1761 so the first Jewish residents are mainly buried in Krotoschin, Zuelz, and Dyhernfurth, apart from a few other places. The oldest Jewish cemetery in Breslau is in the Classenstrasse and contains the dead for 1761-1856. The other two Jewish cemeteries are in the Lohestrasse and in Cosel. All of these, including Dyhernfurth, cotain OLLENDORFF tombstones.
Breslau was rather fortunate with regard to reference material. The Geneindearchive had a large collection of registers and papers, including complete death registers of the Breslau Jews buried in the Krotoschin and Dyhenfurth of the period 1688-1791, then the register and tombstone inscriptions of all graves in the Classenstrasse cemetery. The death registers of the Germinde begin with the year 1791 and so far as 1874.
The oldest registers which are actually census registers of Jews, were in the Staatsarchiv and Stadtarchiv. The oldest register in possession of the Geneindearchiv dated back to the year 1776. It is called the "Einwohnerliste aus der Jahre 1776"; it consists of two volumes. This register from the time of Frederick the Great gives exact details about all the Jews in Breslau, their names, age, profession, place of birth, date of sojourn pass. It gives at the same time a grand picture of the social and professional life of a large Jewish community in Prussia in the 18th. century.
It contains the names of 17 "Generalprivilegierts" with 55 family members and 447 Famulizpersonen, and 34 "Fix-Entristen" with 148 members and 29 Famulizpersonen. This gives the figure of 2254 Jews, among them 1069 Famulizjuden. There were also in this figure 152 "Tolerierte" with 879 members and 447 Famulizpersonen. The Famulizpersonen include servants, employees, relatives and people who declared themselves to the authorities as such to enjoy the right of stay in Breslau. From time to time many of the latter had to leave by order.
The next Jewish Register was compiled in 1791-92. A new grouping was made with only three classes; Generalprivilegierte, Stemmnumeranten, and Tolerierte. Then there was the group of "Polnische Grenzjuden" (Polish frontier Jews), who could come to Breslau, but were not allowed to live there. This register is bound in two volumes and also contains all the details.
Then comes the famous register of 1812, which again gives all particulars of the Breslau Jews.
Other data are contained in the birth registers, marriage records, Mohel books, and also in the lists of of Jews attending the Breslau Fairs during the period 1651-1738.
What has happened to all the above mentioned records during the Hitler regime I do not know, but it is barely likely they have survived.
The first official records in Rawicz appeared in 1834, when on 30th. of September 1834 the Jews were naturalised and became Prussian citizens. This naturalisation list contains the following names:-
No. 81CHOWIENo. 85 KALSMAN
82JACOB 86SOLOMON PINKUS
All the above mentioned names have been traced except CHOWIE. The list of OLLENDORFF,s is a very small one, as many had already left Rawicz and gone to Breslau and othr places.
The 1812 Breslau Register contains 3 OLLENDORFF families in the Staatsbuergerrolle, as follows:
JACOBWaranhaendlerborn. 6.7.1764married 26.11.1794
Urania geb. Paniel, wife..29.2.1782 died 20.11.1815
Rahel, geb. Loebel, wife..26.4.1766
According to the register Jacob was born in Breslau. He is one of the "Stamm-Numerenten" and received his No. 106 fromhis father-in-law, the merchant Leffmann Joel Painer, who was born in 1744. The same source tells us that PETZOLD had been in Breslau since childhood and that the marriage license for SKELIG was made out for Breslau in 1790,which might indicate that it was in that year that he came to Breslau. I have never been able to find out whether or how they are related to the other OLLENDORFF,s
We shall now see how the OLLENDORFF,s who originated from Rawicz, spread from there to Pleschen and Paris. During the 19th. century Breslau became the magnet and we find more OLLENDORFF,s there than in any other town. A few settled in other towns in Silesia and also Berlin, some ventured further ahead, some went to England and America. A new wave of migration set in in the20th. century, particularly under the Nazi regime. To-day we find all the OLLENDORFF,s on the European Continent gone. England and America have become their new homes.
(Further research has shown different)(R.J.)
These notes have been transcribed page by page as written by Alfred Julius Bruck.(R.J.)
OLLENDORFF FAMILIES IN RAWICZ
III I II
JacobJoseph GerschelHeinrich NathanMarcus Henry Godfrey) b.1784 Rawicz
Id. 1861 Rawiczb. 1802 Rawicz moved to Pleschen
Id. 1865 Paris
b. abt. 1740
PinkusSalomonMannchen Heinrich Ludwig
b. 9.8.1851 Rawicz
More About Gerschen Ollendorff:
A.K.A.: Abt. 1760, Gerschen (Gerson).
Children of Gerschen Ollendorff are:
- +Jacob Ollendorff, b., Rawicz739, d. date unknown.
- +Nathan Ollendorff, b., Rawicz739, d. date unknown, Rawicz739.
- +Marcus Ollendorff, b. 1784, Rawicz, Posen, Prussia.739, d. date unknown.
- +Joseph Gerschel Ollendorff, b. 10 Apr 1794, Rawicz, Posen, Prussia.739, d. 17 Apr 1861, Rawicz, Posen, Prussia.739.
- +Hermann G. Ollendorff, b. Abt. 1802, Rawitsch, Posen, Prussia.739, d. 08 Apr 1865, Paris, France.739.