General information: First Jewish presence: 1589 (one Jew); peak Jewish population: 69 in 1905; Jewish population in 1933: 44
Summary: Although a number of Jews lived in Freudenburg in 1630, they disappeared from the village during the Thirty Years’ War. A new Jewish presence was established in the late 17th century. The community laid a cemetery in, at the latest, 1694, around which time a Jewish school was opened in Freudenburg. Local Jews initially conducted services in the teacher’s residence on Hintergasse, and we also know that in 1784/85, the community built a synagogue on the same street; renovated on several occasions—records suggest that a women’s balcony with 20 seats was built in 1879—the synagogue seated 25 male worshipers. Freudenburg Jews also maintained a mikveh. In Freudenburg, Jewish teachers performed the duties of chazzan and shochet until the 1920s, after which a teacher traveled around the Jewish communities of Freudenburg, Kirf and Wawern. Two chevra kadisha associations (one for men, the other for women) were active in the community in 1933. Twelve children received religious instruction that year. In 1935, anti-Jewish riots erupted in Freudenburg. Later, on Pogrom Night (November 1938), local Nazis and construction workers destroyed the synagogue’s interior and set the building on fire. Many Freudenburg Jews fled during the Nazi period. In September 1939, when the village was evacuated, four local Jews were brought to Trier. At least 28 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue’s remaining walls were damaged in an air raid in 1944/45 and torn down in 1962; a commemorative plaque was unveiled at the site in 1995. As of this writing, a disused private mikveh still exists in a cellar on Koenig Johann Strasse.
Author / Sources: Bronagh Bowerman
Sources: AJ, EJL, FJG, SG-RPS