General information: First Jewish presence: 1592; peak Jewish population: 61 in 1930; Jewish population in 1933: 45
Summary: The modern Jewish community of Leiwen conducted services in a prayer room on the corner of Bahnhofstrasse and Hannagass (later renamed Euchariusstrasse and Laurentiusstrasse, respectively) until 1913, when a synagogue was inaugurated on Roemerstrasse. Local Jews also maintained a mikveh and a school for religious studies, the latter of which was presided over by a teacher who performed the duties of chazzan and shochet. Records do not tell us when the community consecrated its cemetery, but the oldest gravestones are dated 1863. By 1933, the Jews of nearby Loesnich and Kluesserath had been affiliated with the Leiwen community. Later, in 1937, vandals smashed windows on the synagogue’s left side and cut down several decorative trees. On Pogrom Night, SA men and local members of the Nazi party ransacked Leiwen’s synagogue and chased local Jews to the banks of the Mosel River, where they forced the Jews to burn the synagogue’s Torah scrolls and ritual objects. The homes of the village’s 11 remaining Jews were ransacked, after which all Jews left Leiwen. The Jewish cemetery was partially destroyed during the Nazi period. At least 32 Leiwen Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue, which the Nazis appropriated after Pogrom Night, served as a kindergarten and later, as a detention center for French POWs. Sold to a wine firm after 1945 and used for a while as a storage site, the building was eventually demolished. A memorial plaque has been unveiled at the renovated cemetery.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL, FJW