General information: First Jewish presence: 14th century; peak Jewish population: 270 in 1928; Jewish population in 1933: 192
Summary: The earliest available record of a Jewish presence in Eberswalde is from the 14th century. The expulsion in 1510 of Jews from the Brandenburg region brought this early settlement to an end, and it was not until 1696 that Jews were permitted to return to Eberswalde. The modern community established a prayer room on Rosenstrasse (present-day Kreuzstrasse) in 1720; a synagogue was erected on the same site in 1820. In 1890, as a result of growing Jewish population numbers, a Moorishstyle synagogue was built at 9 Bismarckstrasse; the festive inauguration ceremony took place in December 1891. A Jewish cemetery was consecrated on Oderberger Strasse in 1751, prior to which burials had been conducted in Biesenthal. According to records, the cemetery was enlarged in 1851 and desecrated in 1897. We also know that, in 1911/13, the community purchased new cemetery grounds on Freienwalder Strasse (they had been opened by 1924). Destroyed by lightning in 1931, the synagogue was rebuilt in 1932. In 1933, 192 Jews lived in Eberswalde; twenty-one schoolchildren attended a school for religious studies. Active in the community were a chevra kadisha (founded in 1909), three welfare organizations—a fund for the poor, a Gmillus Chassodim society and a Jewish women’s association—as well as a Jewish history and literature club. In March 1933, Jewish-owned stores were daubed with anti-Jewish slogans; shop windows were smeared with paint. Five years later, on Pogrom Night (November 1938), local members of the Nazi Party and the SA set fire to the synagogue, vandalized Jewish-owned stores and homes and assaulted Jews, one of whom died of his injuries. According to records, the Jewish community’s leader of sermons was taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. In May 1939, the remaining Jews were forcibly moved into “Jews’ houses” on Kirchstrasse and Schneiderstrasse; and in 1942, they were deported to ghettos and camps in Eastern Europe. At least 48 Eberswalde Jews perished in the Shoah. The newer cemetery was desecrated after the war. A memorial plaque has been unveiled on Bismarckstrasse (present-day Goethestrasse), and two streets have been named after former Jewish residents.
Photo: The synagogue of Eberswalde in or around the year 1910. Courtesy of: District archive Barnim.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn; Sources: AJ. EJL, FJG, LJG, W-G, YV www.jg-berlin.org/beitraege/details/juedische-spuren-in-eberswaldei23d- 2007-11-01.html
Located in: brandenburg