General information: First Jewish presence: 1731/32; peak Jewish population: 127 in 1871 (3.7% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 31-59
Summary: The Osterholz Jewish community established a cemetery on Klosterkamp in 1756/57, a synagogue in 1804 and an elementary school in 1830, the last of which closed at some point between 1918 and 1934. In 1830, the community opened a new synagogue at Teichstrasse; it burned down in 1863/64, after which, in 1865/66, another synagogue was built on Bahnhofstrasse. The Bahnhofstrasse synagogue, renovated in 1897, housed a school and an apartment for a teacher. The Jewish communities of Osterholz nearby Scharmbeck were united in 1927. In 1932/33, a teacher/chazzan instructed three pupils in religion. On Pogrom Night, SA troops destroyed the synagogue— it had been rented out earlier that month—and vandalized homes, shops and the cemetery. Jews were assaulted, and several Jews, including three women, were imprisoned in Lesum, after which the men were deported to concentration camps and the women released. In 1939, the remaining Jews were moved into “Jews’ houses”. The synagogue was sold and converted into a school for the study of aerial defense. Thirteen local Jews emigrated from Germany. Several committed suicide, and others were deported, via Bremen, to Minsk, Theresienstadt and to other camps in 1941, 1942 and 1944. At least 21 Osterholz-Scharmbeck Jews and six from nearby Ritterhude perished in the Shoah. The synagogue was torn down in 2004, and a new building (it bears a memorial plaque) was erected on the site. In 2006, another memorial was unveiled near the synagogue site.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn
Sources: EJL, FGW, JGNB1, SIA, YV
Located in: lower-saxony