General information: First Jewish presence: 13th century; peak Jewish population: 130 in 1895; Jewish population in 1933: 50
Summary: Jews were persecuted in Diez during the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49; it was not until 1643 that a new Jewish presence was established there. The Jews of Diez established the following communal institutions: a cemetery in the 17th century; a synagogue in 1706; a new synagogue, at 36 Altstadtstrasse, in 1760; another new synagogue, at 9 Kanalstrasse, in 1863; a Jewish orphanage—it had its own synagogue and was located at 23 Schlossberg—in 1888; and finally, a new cemetery in or around 1890. We also know that the community maintained a mikveh, and that it hired a teacher of religion who functioned as chazzan and shochet. By 1933, the 26 Jews of Balduinstein, Birlenbach, Freiendiez and Cramberg had been affiliated with the community. Anti-Jewish demonstrations in 1935 forced the management of the orphanage to evacuate the children living there (50 in 1933), after which, in August of that year, the municipality appropriated the building. Later, on Pogrom Night (November 1938), the interior of the synagogue was destroyed; one Jewish man was arrested. During the Nazi period, five Jews from Diez and its affiliated communities emigrated and 63 relocated within Germany. In May 1943, one elderly Jewish woman (the only Jew who remained in Diez after 1939) was deported to Auschwitz. At least 33 Diez Jews perished in the Shoah. The old cemetery was destroyed by the Nazis; a governmental building was erected on the site and the gravestones were used in the construction of sidewalks. The synagogue—it had been appropriated by the air corps after the pogrom—was demolished in 1951. A memorial was erected on the site in 1986.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut
Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-HNF