General information: First Jewish presence: 1557; peak Jewish population: 130 in 1890; Jewish population in 1933: 84
Summary: Although Jews lived in Holzminden in the 16th century, the modern community emerged in 1736, when a modest prayer hall was established in the home of Isaac Gerson. Other prayer halls were consecrated in Holzminden during the ensuing decades, and in 1836 the community built a large synagogue with a women’s gallery, schoolrooms and an apartment for a teacher. By 1836, members of this moderately prosperous community were involved in many trades, including livestock trading, dry goods, textiles and moneylending. Jews later branched out into other occupations; some entered the banking and railway industries, and the town was home to a Jewish-owned bookbindery and tannery. Local Jews were active in civic life, enlisted in the army during World War I—25 enlisted and four died—and established numerous clubs and organizations, for example, a club for Jewish war veterans and a sports club. Jewish-Christian relations were good in Holzminden, and anti-Semitism was vigorously resisted there during the 1920s. In 1933, however, the nation-wide anti-Jewish boycott ended nearly two centuries of peaceful coexistence. The synagogue interior was destroyed on Pogrom Night, the contents were burned outside. In 1942, Holzminden’s few remaining Jews were deported to the camps, from which only two returned. The synagogue was returned to the Jewish community after the war. A memorial was later unveiled at the site.
Author / Sources: Harold Slutzkin
Sources: EJL, LJG
Located in: lower-saxony