General information: First Jewish presence: 14th century; peak Jewish population: 836 in 1929; Jewish population in 1933: 652
Summary: Records indicate that Plauen was home to a Judengasse, or “Jews’ alley,” (present-day Nobelstrasse) and a Jewish cemetery after 1943—evidence of the existence of a functioning Jewish community. The cemetery, which was located outside the city walls and near the Stossberger Tor, was probably destroyed when Jews were expelled from Plauen in 1553. It was only 300 years later, when the town was suffering from insufficient industrial development, that Jews returned to Plauen. The modern Jewish community, which was founded in 1884 and included members from nearby Hof, Greiz, Zwickau and Werdau, conducted services in a prayer room in the Zur Pyramide public house. Prayer rooms were subsequently established on Blumenstrasse and in a former factory building on Schillerstrasse. Orthodox Jews used a prayer room on Wettinestrasse and, later, on Alaunstrasse. Finally, in 1930, a modern community center and synagogue were built on the corner of Senefelderstrasse and Engelstrasse. The Jewish cemetery was opened in 1898/9; located near the northern end of Plauen, it was used by Jews from all over the Vogtland area. Anti-Semitic incidents became more frequent in Plauen in the 1920s, as the town had become a Nazi stronghold. Boycotts of Jewish-owned businesses were zealously enforced there, and the community center and cemetery were attacked and desecrated. In March 1933, the community president, Dr. Isidor Goldberg, was taken into “protective custody,” after which, one month later, a Jewish salesman was murdered. In October of 1938, approximately 60 Polish Jews were deported from Plauen to Poland, via Chemnitz and Beuthen. On Pogrom Night, rioters set the community center and synagogue building on fire, and destroyed Jewish homes and shops. All men over the age of 14 were arrested for several days, after which some were sent to Buchenwald. At some point after 1939, the remaining 90 Jews were forced into several so-called “Jews’ houses”; for example, those located at 10 Karlstrasse, 14 Karolastrasse and 80 Karolastrasse, from which those Jews were eventually deported to Theresienstadt. The last transport left Plauen in February 1945. Several hundred Plauen Jews perished in the Shoah; only nine survived. In 1988, a memorial plaque was unveiled at the former synagogue site. The cemetery’s purification hall is now an archive, and a monument honoring the “Jews’ houses” has been unveiled at the Erloeserkirche Protestant church. The Jewish cemetery houses a memorial stele, placed there in 2000, and several Plauen streets have been named after former Jewish citizens of the town, such as Dr. Ewald Simon, Isidor Goldberg and Emanuel Heimann.
Author / Sources: Beate Grosz-Wenker
Sources: AJ, EJL, LJG W-G
Located in: saxony