General information: First Jewish presence: 17th century; peak Jewish population: 78 in 1848; Jewish population in 1933: 37
Summary: The peak population figure for the Jewish community of Diepholz includes Jews from several neighboring communities. Community members were mainly cattle traders, butchers and textile merchants. A cemetery was consecrated on Schlesierstrasse/ Pommernstrasse in 1774. In 1835, the community replaced its prayer room with a synagogue on Muehlenstrasse; renovated in 1904 and 1907, the building included a school and an apartment for a teacher who, at times, served as shochet and chazzan. Jewish men and women not only donated generous sums to local charities, but also took an active part in the town’s social life, joining local clubs and organizations such as the sports club, the local choir and the fire brigade. A Jewish women’s association was established in Diepholz in 1929. On Pogrom Night, Jewish homes and businesses were severely damaged, their owners arrested; the synagogue was vandalized and plundered, and the cemetery was desecrated. By 1939, only eight Jews lived in Diepholz; they were deported to concentration camps in 1942. After the war, Diepholz briefly served as a transit camp for survivors. Although the synagogue was rededicated in 1946, the building was pulled down in 1953 and replaced by a combined residential and commercial building. Memorials were erected at the synagogue site and cemetery in 1980 and 1997, respectively. At least 17 Diepholz Jews perished in the Shoah.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, HU, JG NB1, SIA
Located in: lower-saxony