Salomon Rosenbaum & Jewish life in Sweden

Jewish immigrant Rosenbaum ran a drapery store in Sundsvall for decades

Angelica Ruckstuhl (opens in new window) (Judiska Museet)

Jewish people have lived in Sweden for centuries. This blog explores Salamon Rosenbaum who owned a fashion store for decades in Sundsvall, a city in northern Sweden.

The history of the Jewish minority in Sweden started in 1774 when the first group of Jewish immigrants came from Northern Germany.

They mostly worked as merchants and manufacturers. The Swedish king welcomed them because they had valuable contacts and 'know how'. The legislation at the time obliged people to convert to Protestantism to stay in the country, but the king made an exception. In 1779, this legislation was abolished to be replaced by the Jewish Ordinance which, between 1782 and 1838, decided where Jews could live and which occupations they could have.

During the second half of the 1800s the conditions for the Jewish minority in Sweden changed for the better. By the end of the 1800s, Jews could live more freely and immigrants did not need a visa to enter. This led to a new wave of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.

One of those was Salomon Rosenbaum.

Salomon Rosenbaum was born in Garvas, Poland in 1848. He came to Sweden in 1869.

After a year in Stockholm, he moved to Sundsvall to work as a traveling salesman for a Jewish-owned clothing store, Nasielsky’s, where he worked for several years.

Rosenbaum was married to Carolina, neé Adelsohn, who was born in Suwalki - a city in northeastern Poland - in 1863. They had four children, three sons and a daughter.

In 1897, he received trading privileges that enabled him to open his own haberdashery, Rosenbaum’s, in Sundsvall which for decades supplied the city with fashionable quality clothes.

Rosenbaum applied for citizenship several times, but his application was declined every time. The authorities used different arguments to deny his citizenship.

On one occasion, they wrote that he didn’t have enough money. Another time the authorities said that even though Rosenbaum had an impeccable record, his application was declined because 'the Polish Jews as a group' caused trouble and were of no value for the country.

This shows clearly how views of this immigrant group were at the time and how they faced discrimination from the authorities.

After Rosenbaum’s death in 1910, his family continued to run the store until the 1970s. His relatives still live in Sweden today.