Hamburg - Kirchenstrasse, Altonaer Synagogue

Summary: The first synagogue in the Altona area of the city of Hamburg (and therefore known as the Altonaer synagogue) was built in 1684 and destroyed for the last time during a bombing raid in July 1943. The street it was on has since been renamed Kirchenstrasse, and that is how the synagogue is identified today. Referred to as a “magnificent edifice,” the synagogue was, at the time of its construction, the largest in Germany. In 1711, the synagogue was destroyed in a fire that consumed most of Altona. Generous donations enabled the Jewish community to rebuild the house of worship in 1716, after which it was repeatedly enlarged and refurbished. The Altonaer synagogue was the only Ashkenaz synagogue in the city. As a result of its proximity to other structures, the building was not set on fire on Pogrom Night (November 1938); instead, the rioters ransacked the interior. Altona’s remaining Jews continued to conduct services there until 1941, when most were deported. In memory of the former synagogue, a plaque was later unveiled at the local post office (near the former synagogue site). Another plaque, erected on Kirchenstrasse, commemorates the former Jewish community of Altona.
Photo: Rabbi Dr. Joseph Carlebach leads the service during the holiday of Chanukah in the synagogue of Altona. Courtesy of: Leo Baeck Institute Photo Archive.
Author / Sources: Moshe Finkel
Sources: JLH, SIA
Located in: hamburg