City in the district of Königsberg, East Prussia. It has a population of 19,796, including 1,214 Jews (1900). The earliest mention of the Jews of Memel occurs in connection with the adjournment of the diet by Duke Albrecht April 20, 1567, when he decreed their expulsion from the city. In 1664 the Great Elector granted the Dutch Jew Moses Jacobsohn de Jonge the right of residence in the city. De Jonge, who carried on an extensive business, was finally compelled by financial difficulties to leave, and after that Jews were permitted to enter only during the fairs. Furs and Hebrew books were important articles of trade. The Prussian edict of 1812 enabled the Jews again to settle in Memel, and the extensive commerce in wood carried on with Russia attracted many Polish and Russian Jews, among others, to the city. The community was not organized until 1862, when the ḥebra ḳaddisha was established. The first rabbi was Dr. Isaac Rülf (1865-98), who established the parochial school and the hospital, as well as the method of religious instruction, and was actively interested in behalf of the Russian Jews. He was succeeded by Dr. Emanuel Carlebach.
- Rülf, Zur Gesch. der Juden in Memel, in the first Bericht der Israelitischen Religionsschule, Memel, 1900.