24 – The Purim Feast at Wielka 19



Assimilated Poznan Jews, living usually like the people around them, celebrated their holidays in the intimacy of their homes or synagogues. If they obeyed any religious rules, they were often in a watered-down form. Fira remembers that they closed their shop for such holidays as the New Year and Jom Kipur because it was a shame to work on these days. However, during the Passover Feast (Pesach) they put common sourdough bread next to matzo on a table, which was absolutely unacceptable for religious Jews.

It was Thursday, March 18, 1937. Three students who rented a room at a Jewish hostess at Wielka 19 organized the Feast of Purim in the third floor flat no 13. It is a one-day holiday of Jewish carnival and joy, during which Jews play, dress up, dance and drink alcohol. Adek Lewin, Jozio Lustyk and a student from Sroda Wielkpolska living in the room next door dressed up in pyjamas. They also dressed up little sons of the Jewish hostess they lived at. The children must have got some candies and took part in a masquerade. Fira took their pictures but she didn’t participate in those antics. She didn’t like to dress up and the Melamedzons, like many others, didn’t celebrate this holiday at all.

We place here several photographs of that March party. The other ones can be found in the book. These are unique documents as there are no more known pictures showing the Jews celebrating their holidays in interwar Poznan.