General information: First Jewish presence: 16th century; peak Jewish population: 109 in 1871 (9% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 69
Summary: Two Jewish families settled in Nieder-Ohmen in the late 16th century. Records indicate that the community established a prayer room in, at the latest, the 18th century. We know for certain that the prayer room burned down in 1827, after which local Jews consecrated a new prayer room in a private residence (at 34-35 Elpenroeterstrasse), with 85 seats and a women’s gallery. The community was affiliated with Giessen’s Orthodox rabbinate, and maintained its own school for religious studies, a mikveh and a cemetery (1845-1894). A new cemetery was consecrated in 1889. In 1933—by which point the six Jews of Merlau were affiliated with the community—Nieder-Ohmen was home to 69 Jews. Eleven schoolchildren attended a school for religious studies, presided over by a teacher who also served as a shochet. In September 1935, young Nazis shattered windows and doors in Jewish homes and destroyed the prayer room’s interior. The prayer room was sold in 1937, but daily services continued there until November 1938. That month, on Pogrom Night, rioters smashed the prayer room’s windows and threw out the furniture and ritual objects. The building served as an apartment building after 1938. By September 1940, 45 local Jews had emigrated. At least 37 Nieder-Ohmen Jews perished in the Shoah. A memorial plaque has been affixed to the entrance of the new Jewish cemetery. In 2012, memorial stumbling stones were unveiled in Nieder-Ohmen.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn
Sources: AJ, EJL, FJG, LJG, SIA
Located in: hesse