General information: First Jewish presence: 14th century; peak Jewish population: 200 in 1920; Jewish population in 1933: 103
Summary: Beginning in the 1350s, Jews lived on the Judenburg (‘Jews’ hill”), south of the marketplace. Records tell us that although Jews were expelled from Zittau in the 14th century, they established a temporary presence there in the 15th century, paying protection money; this small community congregated in prayer rooms until it, too, was expelled. No Jews lived in Zittau during the 350 years that followed. In 1885, however, Jews from Zittau and from nearby Loeban founded a joint community. The community consecrated a cemetery (on Goerlitzer Strasse) in the 1880s and a synagogue (at 12 Lessingstrasse) in 1906. Most local Jews were merchants or clothing manufacturers; records also tell us that a large local mill was owned by Jews. In 1900, a relief organization was set up in Zittau to provide support to the town’s Eastern European Jews. On Pogrom Night (November 1938), Nazis blew up the synagogue and the cemetery hall. Windows in Jewish-owned shops were smashed, eight Jewish men were arrested and 22 non-German citizens were deported to Poland. Twenty-four Jews lived in Zittau in 1941, and it is assumed that all were deported to the East. We know for certain, however, that at least 12 Zittau Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1989, a memorial plaque was unveiled at the former synagogue site.
Author / Sources: Beate Grosz-Wenker
Sources: AJ, EJL, LJG, SJLZ
Located in: saxony