Scandinavia Special Interest Group (SIG)



After the siege of Nakskov during the Dano-Swedish Wars 1658-59 the town was granted special privileges – for example twenty-four years tax exemption and permission for aliens to enjoy the same rights as the inhabitants of the town. Freedom of religion was not specifically mentioned, but nevertheless a contributory cause for the Jews to settle in Nakskov.

The history of the Jews in Nakskov can be traced back to 1674, when Jacob SOSTMAN got permission to establish a ”tobaksspinderi” (tobacco factory). When he died six years later, his partner Abraham Meyer POLACH did not get permission to continue the factory.

Later Isac CANTOR moved to Nakskov with his family and some colleagues and he resumed the manufacture of tobacco. He was prompted to do so by his uncle, who had already lived for several years in Copenhagen where he had been Christened and given the name Friedrich Christian CANTOR and subsequently acquired various privileges. Isac CANTOR took as a partner his brother-in-law Levin SAMUEL – the progenitor of a LEVIN-family in Denmark.

In 1711 Isac CANTOR applied for an entry permit for a 21 years old man from Altona, Moses Abraham NATHAN, who was to marry his daughter Esther.

This young man’s mother belonged to the HENRIQUES-family – a Sephardic family, and some of Moses Abraham NATHAN’s descendants took the HENRIQUES-surname.

Levin SAMUEL’s son-in-law, Lazarus Magnus GABRIEL settled in Nakskov.

When Isac CANTOR’s brother, schächter in Nakskov, died in 1708, his widow married Abraham Moses LEVI.

Thus at the beginning of the 18th century there was a small Jewish community in Nakskov. The Jewish community of Nakskov is as old as that of Fredericia, but it did not have the same good conditions for growth in the 18th century. 

The census of 1787 shows a Jewish population in Fredericia of 165 persons, while there are only 27 in Nakskov. However, around 1800 a number of Jews moved to the towns on Lolland-Falster, and in 1834 there are 118 Jews in Nakskov and in the towns of Maribo, Nysted, Rødby, Sakskøbing, Nykøbing F. and Stubbekøbing – all of which belonged to the Jewish community of  Nakskov.

The Synagogue

As early as in 1714 a synagogue was established in a rented house in Fruegade. The house was later purchased by the merchant Nathan ELSASS, who sold it to the Jewish community. This is considered the first synagogue in Denmark.
In 1845 the synagogue was in very poor condition and had to be pulled down, and it was not till 1880 a new synagogue was built and opened on the corner of Klostergade and Nørre Boulevard. However, there was not much use for the new synagogue in Nakskov, as the Jewish community in Nakskov dwindled as in all other provincial towns in Denmark. At the beginning of the 20th century the Jewish community ceased to exist in Nakskov, and the building was handed over to Nakskov municipality. It has later been torn down.

The cemetery

The Jewish cemetery is situated on Jødevej (= Jew road) on the outskirts of the Sæbyholm forest. It was presumably established around 1700. The oldest still extant tombstone is from 1722. It appears that there have been about 175 burials. In 1815 it was enlarged and in 1847 a mortuary was built..

Unfortunately, no written records of the burials exist before about 1814, therefore only 105 burial plots can be identified and of these 46 has no tombstones.

In the oldest part of the cemetery called ”Carré A” there are 5 rows with apparently 16 burial plots in each. However, in this “Carré” only 6 tombstones are preserved. In the newer part of the cemetery, “Carré B” there are 8 rows of 10 or 11 burial plots. To the left of the entrance to the cemetery there is a single row, “Carré C” with 5 tombstones.

Today the cemetery is kept by Nakskov municipality

The List of burials in Nakskov' Jewish Cemetery has been removed because all those burials can now be found on the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR)

Copyright © 1999-2003 Scandinavia SIG - Reprinting or copying of any of the material on the Scandinavia SIG Website is not allowed without prior permission from the Scandinavia SIG Coordinator

21.5.2004 by the Webmaster