Litmans of Lodz. The early years

The information below comes from the "The Old Cemetery in Lodz: Records and Relic Remains" By Philip Friedman and Pincus Zelig Gliksman with some additions from other sources to help clarify the content. It has been translated from the original Polish using Google Translate, and so there are bound to be some translation errors. Suggestions for corrections welcome.

JewishGen and JRI-Poland both have explanations of the book's contents, at these links:

Family Links

Son of Szmul and Laia Litman:

Daughter of Szlama and Gitla Szumerain:

Littman Family Tree

Central Home Page

About Szmul Litman

Szmul Litman came in 1809 from Gniezno (Alternate name: Gnesen in the Province of Poznan). He was a moderately wealthy innkeeper.

He purchased , a square (plot of land) on ul. Wolborska where he built a wooden house with 8 rooms. He played a role in the social life of Lodz Jewry, as he was an elder of the Kehilla, a member of the Synagogue Supervision and he held the office in Chevra Kadisha.

Map of Lodz (date unknown) . Wolborska street below the Star of David

Wolborska street, Lodz today

1811 Foundation of the Lodz Chewra Kadisza

The Lodz Jewish community was very young. At the end of the 18th century, there probably was no organized kehilla in Lodz, but Jewish

Lodz members belonged to the synagogue in Stryków. Only around 1810 do we find a Jewish community with such a large number (about 100 people) that is able to create and maintain communal and social institutions at its own expense.

We do not have precise data about the time when the Jewish community in Lodz was established. It is certain that as early as in 1807, some ritualistic functionaries, such as a shochet, owned by the Jews of Lodz. However, we are in possession of the exact dates of the foundation of the Cemetery of the Funeral Society in Lodz.

These dates almost coincide: on April 10, 1811, the Elders of the Kahal bought the square for the cemetery, and on May 24, 1811 1811 (Friday, 1 Sivan AD 5571) the Chevra Kadisha was founded. But only two months later (on 21.Vll. 1811-29 Tammuz 5571) the first statute of this institution was adopted, which took the name: "The Holy Brotherhood and the Brotherhood for Nursing the Sick" (Chevra Kadisha u 'Bikkur Cholim), and therefore its act organized.

The signatures of the founding members under the first statute show that the Society was founded by the following 10 citizens.

Mojzesz (FajtIowicz from Piotrków, 43, residing in ?ód? from 1800),
Cwi, son of Izrael from Lutomiersk (Ordynans, 45, from 1792),
Becalel Jehuda Lejb (Heber, from Lutomiersk, 42, from 1801),
Samuel, son of Asher (Grosman, from Nowe Miasto, born in ?ód?,
Pinchas from Przedbórz (ZajdIer, 45, in ?ód? from 1795),

Samuel Lewita (Litman, from Dabie, 29, from 1809) *
Abraham, son of Lewi (MedIowicz?, 32 years old),
Joel, son of I.,
Pinchas, son of Cwi kohen 3) (Zonenberg, from ?ask, aged 44, from 1797),
Mojzesz, son of Izak from Staszów (KromhoItz, from 1811).

* Lewita - Levite. Descendant of the tribe of Levi. Year of arrival in Lodz 1809 matches with the entry on page 298, but his age in 1811 would have been closer to 32. Also place of origin stated as Dabie rather than Gniezno. Dabie - this one  41 km from Lodz ?

The founders of the Brotherhood of the town were granted the position of  honoratiores ( individuals who accept public or administrative tasks free of charge) by the town's Jewish population. They represent a wealthy, "farm" element: out of the eight we have more detailed data, seven own their own houses in the town (Fajtlowicz, Heber, Grosman, Litman, Zajdler, Zonenberg, and Kromholtz). as follows:

4 innkeepers,
1 spice and salt merchant
2 bakers (Grosman and Fajlowicz),
1 poor tailor (Ordynans).

The social composition is quite diverse, which makes it more puzzling as the Holy Brotherhoods are usually aristocratic and as such, in some cities they did not include craftsmen, but only wealthy merchants, scribes and generally people from "good families".  Thus, the "democratic" composition of the founding members of the Brotherhood of Lodz has its justification, probably in specific local conditions. After all, the Lodz commune was still very small and consisted mostly of new arrivals.

The local aristocracy has not yet developed here. It was not so easy to find brave and energetic people in this small community, which is why even poor people, such as Ordynans, young people under 30, or new citizens of the Jewish community, such as Kromholtz, were not excluded.


1820: Szmul Litman holds the post of Elector & Elder

The Governing system of Chevra Kadisha


Old electoral systems, tried out in the tradition of the centuries-old self-government of Jewish communities in Poland, also found their application in the elections of the Chewra Kadisza authorities in Lodz.

Elections were held here every year on Pesach free days. The electors were determined by lot. During the interregnum, after the former Elders had resigned, and before the appointment of new ones, the electors held power and ruled the brotherhood.


As for the people eligible to be elected Elders, the electors were given a great deal of freedom. They could elect completely new Elders, renew the office of outgoing superiors, appoint one of the outgoing Lesser and one new, and finally create the Elders among themselves.

These very extensive competences were also widely used by the electors, they renewed the seniority of the outgoing board several years, and several times appointed Elders among themselves.



There were fierce battles between the enlightened and orthodox Jewish spheres for power over the Jewish community. The fights and riots that were discovered in the administration of a number of Jewish communities in the Kingdom served Alexander I as a pretext to dissolve the Jewish communities by a decree of January 1, 1822. In place of the existing kehillas, the Synagogue Supervision was established. 

As a result of this decree, an inspector came to Lodz on February 17, 1822, inquiring  "where the kehilla is located" and carry out a thorough revision of the kehilla economy  concerning the economy of the cemetery.

At the request of inspector Zawadzki, outgoing Kahal Elders Mosiek Herszkowicz (later he took the surname of Zylberberg) and Samuel Lipman were asked to testify,  as well as the newly elected members of the Synagogue Supervision which included Mendel Orbach, Awigdor Kochanski and Samuel Littman (who was also a member of the outgoing kehilla office).

After the Government vetting procedure and the the newly established Synagogue Supervision had taken over the power in the community, a radical change took place in the cemetery economy.  The management of the cemetery was taken from the holy brotherhood and handed over to the Synagogue Supervision. On February 26, 1822, the Elders of the Synagogue Supervision in Lodz: Mendel Orbach, Samuel Litman and Awigdor Kochanski submitted to the supervisory authorities the "Project of the Synagogue Office for the year 1822", which was approved by the Mazowieckie Voivodeship Committee on May 9, 1822.


1833 Registration of the death of Szmul Litman and Szlama Sumeray

4th July - Szlama Sumeray died at the age of 50
Estimate of year of birth ~ 1783

27th July - Szmul Litman died at the age of 56.
This would mean that he was born ~1777 and moved to Lodz from Gniezno when he was ~ 32 years of age

For more stories on the Litman family involvement with the Brotherhood go to Szlama / Solomon's page

Page references from the original document for the above items:

About Szmul -page 298
1811 - pages 45-47
1820 - pages 54-56 and 59
1822 - pages 24-26
1833 - page 307