General information: First Jewish presence: 1690; peak Jewish population: 67 in 1852 (total population: 892); Jewish population in 1933: unknown
Summary: The earliest record of a Jewish presence in Lemfoerde, dated 1690, mentions one Levi Heidemann. Jews conducted services in a prayer room until 1817, when the community purchased a building on Hauptstrasse and converted the structure into a synagogue and school; behind the synagogue, in a separate building, the community built a mikveh. The cemetery, located on land purchased in 1731 (at Quernheim) was used until 1934. We also know that the community, with which, beginning in 1875, the Jews of Deibergen, Holden, Hunteberg and Wehdem were affiliated, maintained an elementary school between 1853 and 1912. On Pogrom Night, SA men ransacked the synagogue and burned its contents in the marketplace; the synagogue’s inscription, “My house is a house of prayer for all peoples,” was also destroyed. A former resident of Lemfoerde, then living in Bassum, committed suicide after Nazis destroyed her home and arrested her husband, In all, 12 Lemfoerde Jews perished in Auschwitz, eight in Warsaw, seven in Theresienstadt, three in Riga, two in Trostinec Maly, one in Sobibor and three in combat. We also know that one local Jew died on the transport to Auschwitz, and that another was murdered in Minsk in July 1942. After the Shoah, silver ritual objects from the synagogue— the synagogue is now privately owned—were discovered in the attic of the Martin Luther Church. The cemetery, which contains a mass grave (marked by a memorial stone) of Russian slave laborers, also houses graves that were moved there from Diepholz in 1942.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: JGNB1, PK, YV
Located in: lower-saxony