General information: First Jewish presence: 1645; peak Jewish population: 231 in 1885; Jewish population in 1933: 131
Summary: Weener’s Jews initially conducted services in a prayer room on Westerstrasse (present-day Hindenburg Strasse). On July 3, 1828, the Jewish community acquired a plot of land on which it built a synagogue in 1828/29 (renovated in 1928). Later, in 1837, the Jews of Weener acquired a house and converted it into an apartment for the teacher, next to which, between the teacher’s house and the synagogue, a school was built in 1853 (closed in 1924). In 1887, after the teacher’s home was deemed unsafe, he was moved to a new building which also housed a mikveh. Burials were conducted in Smarlingen until 1848. In 1850 and 1896, the community consecrated new Jewish cemeteries on Graf Ulrich Strasse and Graf Edzard Strasse, respectively. The following organizations were active in the community in 1933: a society for health-related and burial matters, a sisterhood, and a women’s society, the last of which, established in 1929, concerned itself with the beautification of the synagogue. By 1933, the Jews of Stapelmoor had been affiliated with the Weener community. On November 10, 1938, at half past four in the morning, the synagogue was set on fire. All local Jews were arrested, and although the women and children were released the next day, the men were eventually sent to Sachsenhausen; some were released in late December of 1938, the others in early 1939. Weener was declared “free of Jews” on April 7, 1942, when its last Jew left the town. At least 48 Jewish residents of Weener perished on the way to or in the camps. In 1990, a seven-branched menorah was erected on the former synagogue site; a memorial plaque has been affixed to the former teacher’s house. Of the 30 original headstones in the Smarlingen cemetery, only seven are still intact.
Photo: The synagogue of Weener in or around the year 1930. Courtesy of: Town Archive of Weener.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: EJL, JGNB, LJG
Located in: lower-saxony