General information: First Jewish presence: 1671; peak Jewish population: 191 in 1895; Jewish population in 1933: 134
Summary: The Jews of Saarwellingen conducted services in a prayer room, first mentioned in records from 1771, until 1832, when a synagogue was inaugurated at 10 Engelstrasse (construction commenced in 1829). The community also maintained an elementary school (which became a public Jewish school in 1891), a mikveh and a cemetery. Saarwellingen’s Jewish cemetery was consecrated in 1725, desecrated in 1884 and enlarged in 1920. Sixteen children attended the school in 1933. In 1935, after the Saar region was annexed to Germany, many Jews left Saarwellingen (63 emigrated). On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s interior was destroyed, Jewish homes were vandalized and Jews were assaulted. A few days later, Jews were loaded onto a bus and sent to the French border, where they were refused entry by the French authorities. Saarwellingen’s remaining Jews were forcibly moved into one house from which, on October 22, 1940, they were deported to Gurs concentration camp, in France. At least 66 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue—the municipality appropriated the building after Pogrom Night—was damaged severely during the war; a residential building, built during the years 1951 to 1954, now stands on synagogue’s original foundations. In 2002, the former Jewish school (a memorial plaque is affixed to the building) was named Leo Gruenfeld House, after a Jewish teacher who perished in Auschwitz. Saarwellingen’s Jewish cemetery, which had been leveled at the end of the war, was later partially restored.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, DGJS, EJL
Located in: saarland