General information: First Jewish presence: 15th century; peak Jewish population: 57 in 1880 and 1905; Jewish population in 1933: 52
Summary: When this Jewish community peaked in 1880, most Eldagsen Jews earned a living as cattle traders, butchers and peddlers; later, local Jews also became craftspeople, merchants and bankers. The community consecrated a cemetery (on Gehlenbach) in 1753 and a small synagogue in 1814, the latter of which was erected on the grounds of a private Jewish residence. Records from 1844 mention a rented schoolroom, and we also know that a local mikveh closed in 1866. Finally, in 1868, the community built a new synagogue on Lange Strasse; the building also accommodated a school and an apartment for a teacher who served as chazzan and shochet. Jews were active in the town’s political and social life. Eldagsen was home to a local branch of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith. The Nazis’ anti-Jewish legislation was zealously enforced in Eldagsen, so that, by 1937, most local Jews had either emigrated or relocated within Germany. On Pogrom Night, members of the SS and SA desecrated the cemetery and damaged the synagogue’s interior; Jewish properties were vandalized and looted, and the remaining Jewish men were assaulted and sent to Buchenwald. The synagogue building—it had been sold in 1940—was converted into a church in 1948 and, in the late 1950s, into a residential building. Memorials were unveiled at the cemetery and at the public park in 1953 and 1995, respectively. At least seven Eldagsen Jews perished in the Shoah.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, JG NB1
Located in: lower-saxony