General information: First Jewish presence: 12th century; peak Jewish population: 77 in 1890; Jewish population in 1933: 42 (Oberlahnstein), 15 (Niederl.), 4 (Braubach)
Summary: Oberlahnstein Jews were persecuted in 1266 and 1287. Although the community was annihilated during the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49, another Jewish presence was established there in 1367. Jews were expelled from Oberlahnstein in 1509/10, and it was not until 1662 that they returned to the area. The Jews of Niederlahnstein, Braubach and Camp were affiliated with Oberlahnstein’s modern Jewish community. Services were conducted in a prayer room until 1852, when a synagogue was inaugurated at 65 Hochstrasse. The community’s teacher of religion not only taught Jewish children from the affiliated communities, but also performed the duties of chazzan and shochet. The Jews of Oberlahnstein had consecrated a cemetery by 1732; a new cemetery opened in 1877 and closed in 1908. On Pogrom Night, rioters destroyed the synagogue’s interior and ransacked Jewish homes. In Niederlahnstein, the five remaining Jewish homes were vandalized; a Jewish woman and her daughter were assaulted. And in Camp, the home and business of a Jewish butcher were destroyed. Between 1933 and 1938, eight local Jews emigrated and 14 relocated within Germany. In early 1941, the remaining Jews were sent to Friedrichssegen, after which they were deported to the East (via Frankfurt). At least 57 Jews from Oberlahnstein, 11 from Niederlahnstein and four from Braubach perished in the Shoah. The Oberlahnstein cemetery was desecrated during the Nazi period (and in 1979); in Niederlahnstein, the cemetery was cleared. Oberlahnstein’s synagogue was converted into a residential building at some point after 1945.
Photo: The entrance to the synagogue of Oberlahnstein. Courtesy of: Collection Joseph Thiel, Lahnstein.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL, FJG, PK-HNF