SEESEN, town in Lower Saxony, Germany. Throughout its history the Jewish community of Seesen was small, its numbers never exceeding 200. In 1801 the financier and Court Jew Israel *Jacobson founded and richly endowed the Jacobson Schule in Seesen as a means of implementing his humanistic and reform ideals. Modern subjects and vocational instruction were emphasized. The school began to accept Christian pupils in 1805, and later in the 19th century lost its Jewish character. In 1810 the Seesen synagogue (the controversial Jacobsontempel), featuring for the first time in Germany an organ, choir, and sermons in German, was consecrated as an offshoot of the school. There were 54 Jews in Seesen in 1819; 178 in 1871; and 209 in 1895. In 1852 a nonsectarian orphanage was founded by Jacobson's son Mayer. It was closed in 1923 and reopened in 1929 as a Jewish youth sanatorium. Only 30 Jews lived in Seesen in 1933, when Jewish teachers and pupils were expelled from the school and its foundation funds confiscated. After World War II, a short-lived community of 60 was established, but by 1952 only nine remained. A liberal Jewish community was founded in 1997. It numbered 43 in 2005. All the members are immigrants from the former Soviet Union. They use a room in the original Jacobson school. The community is a member of the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany.
M. Eliav, Ha-Ḥinnukh ha-Yehudi be-Germanyah (1960), index; M. Kreutzberger (ed.), Bibliothek und Archiv, 1 (1970), 255; FJW, 416; G. Ballin, in: Genealogie (1969). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Ballin, Geschichte der Juden in Seesen (1979); Z. Asaria, Die Juden in Niedersachsen (1979), 444–56; Germania Judaica, vol. 3 (1987), 1362; M. Berg, Juedische Schulen in Niedersachsen (Beitraege zur historischen Bildungsforschung, vol. 28) (2003).
[Larissa Daemmig (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.