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JewishGen Danzig/Gdańsk SIG Presents:
Remembrance About Danzig
by Kurt R. Anker
15 Mar 2006
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My recollections about Jewish life in Danzig are limited as I left in September, 1938 at the age of 19.
I had a Bar Mitzwah at age 13 with a ceremony at a very impressive synagogue in Danzig and lots of relatives from Berlin and East Prussia came to celebrate. My grandfather, Simon Anker, was still alive. I do not believe he participated but I surely visited him on the second floor of our home. He was the grand patriarch of the Jewish community in Danzig and at the time he was 87 years old. His brother lived in San Bernardino California at that time and was a founder of the temple there.
I was involved in the "Jung Juedisher Bund" Young Jewish Club for about five years. We played games, went on day excursions, celebrated Jewish holidays and participated to a limited extent in the Synagogue which separated men and women and therefore was not attractive to the young crowd. Except for Purim and Pesach. We helped build the Succah. The club also provided Jewish education through the efforts of its older members. The club was supported by the members and their families.
I participated in a monthly program to collect funds for poor Jewish families to provide food for them. Later on after 1935 we all became involved in assisting Jewish children to complete their education so that they could support themselves wherever they would be. I was already employed and used my earnings to provide tuition supplements and buy coal to heat the club facilities.
Our activities after 1935 usually involved leaving the territory of the "Free City of Danzig" and entering Poland for hiking, beach activities and social activities. Things were only marginally better in Poland. From 1936 on, Jewish activities were controlled and thereby extremely limited. Most Jews were preparing to leave, but many were not successful due to circumstances beyond their control. Some of my friends perished in the years after 1938.