MALMÖ, port in S. Sweden. The Jewish community, the third largest in Sweden, was founded by Polish Jews in 1871, when it numbered 250. In 1900 the congregation appointed its first rabbi, Dr Josef Wohlstein, and in 1903 the first synagogue was built. Most of Malmö's original Jews came from Germany and during the first two decades of the 20th century, many Jewish immigrants arrived from Poland, Russia, the Ukraine, and the Baltic countries. Many of these new arrivals settled in the nearby town of Lund, creating a separate but related Jewish community there. The closing stages of World War II saw the large-scale rescue of Danish Jews from German-occupied Denmark to Sweden by sea and at the end of the war, many thousands of survivors of Nazi concentration camps were brought to Sweden via Malmö. Many of these survivors, however, were in such poor health that they died on reaching Swedish soil, which explains the large number of Jewish "refugee graves" in Malmö. A monument to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust was later created at the cemetery by Willy Gordon, a well-known Swedish-Jewish artist. Over the decades the community grew considerably, reaching a peak of around 1,700 in the late 1960s but subsequently declining to a 2004 figure of 1,200 despite the influx of immigrants from the former Soviet bloc, in particular from Russia, the Ukraine, Estonia, and even Kirgistan.
Haquinus Stridzberg's Kohen Gadol sive Pontifex-Maximus Ebraeorum was printed in Malmö in 1689.
H. Valentin, Judarna i Sverige (1964); L. Herz, in: JJSO, 11 (Dec. 1969), 165–73; I. Lomfors, in: S. Scharfstein, Judisk historia från renässansen till 2000-talet (2002). WEBSITE: http://www.ijk-s.se/jfm/jfmintro.htm.
[Ilya Meyer (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.