General information: First Jewish presence: 13th century; peak Jewish population: 72 in 1865; Jewish population in 1933: unknown
Summary: In 1827, the Jews of Wildeshausen formed the Wildeshausen synagogue community, which intermittently included the Jews of nearby Doettlingen, Kirchatten, Huntlosen and, later, Grossenkneten. Religious services in Wildeshausen were conducted in the Heinemann family home until 1830, when the community procured a shack at 30 Huntestrasse and remodeled it as a synagogue with a prayer room, a schoolroom and an apartment for the teacher. Due to low enrollment numbers, the school was closed in 1876, after which an itinerant teacher from Delmenhorst instructed Wildeshausen’s remaining Jewish schoolchildren. Wildeshausen’s Jewish cemetery was consecrated in 1707. In 1937, Jonny and Frieda de Vries were sent to a concentration camp for so-called “Rassenmischung” (literally, “race mixing”). They both perished. Although the synagogue was sold before the Pogrom Night of November 1938, members of the SA and fire department destroyed the building that night. The SA ransacked Jewish residences and the remaining Jewishowned businesses. Five Jewish men were arrested and deported to Sachsenhausen; they returned in early 1939. In 1940, the remaining 10 Jews were forced to leave town. Sent to a so-called “Jews’ house” in Bremen, most were deported to Minsk on November 18, 1942, where they were shot. Of those Jews who lived in Wildeshausen during the years 1933 and 1940, 12 perished in the Shoah; the death toll, however, rises when former residents are included—in one such family, 29 perished in the Shoah. A memorial stone was unveiled at the cemetery in 1988; in 1997, a granite memorial was erected at the former synagogue site.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: EJL, JGNB
Located in: lower-saxony