General information: First Jewish presence: 1610; peak Jewish population: 351 in 1905; Jewish population in 1933: 315
Summary: The Jewish community of Harburg (then an independent village) was established in or around the year 1738, when a prayer room was rented at on a street called am Schippsee. In 1773, a wealthy member of the community acquired a building on am Karnapp and converted it into a synagogue. Due to disputes over the conditions he imposed on the synagogue’s construction and use, the congregation split, reuniting only after the donor’s death. The Jewish cemetery on Schwarzbergstrasse was consecrated in the 17th century. In 1860, one of the synagogue’s walls collapsed, necessitating the construction of a new house of worship. Inaugurated in or around the year 1863, the new synagogue at 15 Eissendorfer Strasse contained conference rooms and a schoolroom, the latter of which was used for religious instruction after 1885. A stage for the choir was built in the synagogue in 1889, and we also know that 24 seats were added to the gallery in 1910. In 1930, the synagogue was enlarged. One year after the Nazis’ election victory, the synagogue’s windows were smashed. Services were discontinued in 1936, and in 1938 the community merged with the Jewish communities of Hamburg, Altona and Wansbek. On Pogrom Night, rioters burned down the synagogue, but not before destroying the interior and stealing ritual objects. The mortuary was burned, the cemetery was desecrated and shops and homes were vandalized. Memorial plaques were later unveiled in Harburg.
Photo: The synagogue of Harburg in 1926. Courtesy of: Yad Vashem Photo Archive, 1350.
Author / Sources: Ruth Martina Trucks
Sources: EJL, LJG
Located in: hamburg