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Heymann Arzt’s Memoirs

Heymann Arzt was born in Trzemeszno in 1866 and spent the consecutive 16 years there. In 1888 he wrote down his memories rendering his life in Trzemeszno, as well as the history of his father who had spent about 30 years in the town. The original memoirs were handed over to the Jewish Museum Berlin. Heymann’s grandson, Fritz Philippsborn, has translated the memoirs from German into English. The text presented below has been translated from the English version of the memoirs by Anna Błasiak. The entirety of the English text consists of 180 typed pages. The memoirs also cover Heymann’s later years, after having left Trzemeszno, caused by the lack of sufficient funding for him to continue his studies in a gymnasium in Gnesen. He worked in Berlin, but he did come for short visits to Trzemeszno to see his family, which he also described in his memoirs. Quite a good token of those visits are dry lime leaves in the shape of a pierced heart, on which he confessed his love for his future wife and which he sent to her. Today these artefacts are in the collection of the Jewish Museum Berlin.

Thanks to Ronald Philippsborn’s kindness we are able to present the first part of the memoirs which in themselves are an incredibly valuable testimony from Heymann Arzt’s times and provide a close-up of the life of the Jewish residents of Trzemeszno in the 19th century.

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1. From left to right: the Arzt family home in Trzemeszno (source: a postcard from Rafał Nawrocki’s collection).
2. Nathan Arzt and Johanna née Szetschki (source: Ronald Philippsborn’s private archive).
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3. Nathan Arzt’s Certificate of Toleration of 1840 (source: Ronald Philippsborn’s private archive).
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4. Nathan Arzt’s and Auguste Itzig’s marriage certificate (source: the State Archive in Bydgoszcz, Inowrocław branch;
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5. Nathan Arzt’s and Johanna née Szetschki’s family tree (source: Ronald Philippsborn’s private archive)
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6. The building of the former Jewish school at 5 Wodna Street, contemporary view (source: Zygmunt Nowaczyk’s photograph)
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7. The building of the gymnasium in Trzemeszno (source: Rafał Nawrocki’s private collection).
8. Heymann Arzt with his wife, Sophie (source: Ronald Philippsborn’s private archive).
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