General information: First Jewish presence: 1723; peak Jewish population: 170 in 1843; Jewish population in 1933: 70
Summary: A private Jewish prayer room is thought to have existed in Ottweiler, on Sammetgasse, in the late 18th century. We know for certain, however, that a synagogue was inaugurated on Schlosshof in 1803, and that it was moved to a larger building in 1840. The community maintained a school, established in 1825 and presided over by a teacher who served as chazzan and shochet, and a cemetery on present-day Maria-Juchacz Ring (consecrated in 1842). In 1933, a Jewish women’s association was active in the community; a teacher from Illingen instructed schoolchildren in religion. After the Saar region was returned to Germany (March 1935), most Jews left Ottweiler: 25 emigrated and 35 relocated within Germany. The synagogue’s interior, furniture and ritual objects were destroyed on Pogrom Night; Ottweiler’s Jewish cemetery was desecrated, Jewish-owned homes and businesses were vandalized and Jewish men were assaulted and sent to the Saarbruecken prison, from where the younger men were transferred to Dachau. The defunct community sold the synagogue site to the municipality after the pogrom. On October 22, 1940, Ottweiler’s remaining 13 Jews were deported to Gurs. At least 34 local Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1945, the cemetery was restored; and in 1992, 30 years after the synagogue ruins were demolished, a combined commercial and residential building, to which a memorial plaque has been affixed, was built on the site.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AJ, EJL
Located in: saarland