Achim Wörn studied History and German philology in Würzburg (Germany) and Kraków (Poland), he graduated in 2010. Since 2011 he is a doctoral student at Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung (Center for the Research on anti-Semitism) at TU Berlin. He is doing his research on Jews in Stettin (Szczecin), 1945-50.
Several research visits and language courses have taken him toPoland,Lithuania,Great Britain, theUnited StatesandIsrael.
| Auf gepackten Koffern. Jüdisches Leben in Stettin nach 1945 [Sitting on Packed Bags. Jewish Life in Stettin after 1945], published in: Osteuropa (10/2012)„Die jüdische Bevölkerung in Stettin in den Jahren 1945-50 und ihr Weg via Bayern nach Palästina“ [The Jewish Population of Stettin, 1945-1950 and its Way via Bavaria to Palestine“], published in: Einsichten und Perspektiven (2010/2)
„Geschichte und Bedeutung der Wetterau-Main-Tauber-Stellung, Abschnitt Kleinwallstadt im Zweiten Weltkrieg“ [History and Significance of the Wetterau-Main-Tauber-line, Sector Kleinwallstadt, during World War II], published in: Spessart (4/2002)
Jews in Stettin, 1946-1950
Between April and June 1946 about 28,500 Polish Jews were settled in the former German port Stettin (Polish:Szczecin) at the estuary of theOderriver. These Jews were mainly so called repatriates from Soviet Russia but also former partisans and soldiers of Polish or Soviet armies.
The reasons of the settlement must be seen in the need of qualified rural population in the depopulated city. Furthermore a new German expansion to the east was expected to be abandoned by the settlement of a populace with anti-German attitudes.
For the Jews arriving inSzczecinafter a several-week lasting journey in freight-railway cars the “book of [their] past” was closed. They had to realize that their families had been exterminated and that their property in the east was lost or taken over by Poles.
In Stettina Jewish Committee was established which was led by a chair of Jewish parties that were rooted in the pre-war time. Landsmanshaftn of people with the same native cities were launched to distribute help from overseas.
However, favoritism and assignation of false priorities led to a dramatic situation as people could not get sufficient foodstuff after their arrival. Life during the first weeks inSzczecinwas characterized by hunger and deprivation but also hurts of the loss of families. Anti-Semitism was rampant inSzczecineven if there were no “pogrom moods”. As a consequence an armed guard service was established to protect Jewish facilities. Though, interviews with eye-witnesses show that seen from a child`s perspective not all experiences were bad.
In postwar Polanda program called “productivisation” was introduced that modeled on the Produktivierung der Juden in Prussia during the 19th century. Cooperatives of craftsmen, farmers and even fishermen were formed inSzczecin and its surroundings. Not only to make people live on their own but also to create “adequate citizens” working “honestly”.
Soon however, Stalinization set all independent Jewish parties, organizations and schools under pressure to either consolidate or disband.
Many Polish Jews used Szczecinas a jumping-off point for illegal emigration to the American Occupation Zone in Western Berlin. A major role played the Zionist flight-organization Brichah but also paid facilitators. In 1950 only about 4,000 Jews remained inSzczecin. However the anti-Semitic government campaigns in 1956 and 1968 made most of them emigrate, too.