General information: First Jewish presence: 16th century; peak Jewish population: 91 in 1861; Jewish population in 1933: approximately 42
Summary: Most Obernkirchen Jews struggled to eke out a living, working as peddlers, merchants or butchers. Records from 1823 mention a prayer room, a school and a cemetery, the last of which was consecrated on Auf der alten Bueckeburg in 1750. The community had established a mikveh in the basement of a private residence by 1831, and we also know that in 1842, another school—it was presided over by a teacher who served as chazzan—was opened in Obernkirchen (closed in 1924). Finally, in 1847, local Jews inaugurated a proper synagogue on Strullstrasse; damaged by fire in 1908, that building was eventually renovated. Other communal institutions included a women’s association, a men’s association, a branch of the Reich Federation of Jewish Front Soldiers and, at times, a youth movement. In 1933, approximately 42 Jews lived in Obernkirchen, many of whom left town or emigrated from Germany as a result of increasing oppression. The community was officially dissolved in 1938. On Pogrom Night, rioters destroyed the synagogue’s interior and damaged Jewish homes and businesses. Seven Jews were arrested and deported to Buchenwald on Pogrom Night; and in 1944, the town’s last Jews were deported. At least 16 Obernkirchen Jews perished in the Shoah. The cemetery was desecrated in 1969. In 1988, a memorial stone was unveiled at the former synagogue site on the corner of Strullstrasse and Bornemannstrasse, now a parking lot.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, HU, IAJGS, JGNB1,
Located in: lower-saxony