Bad Honnef

General information: First Jewish presence: 1622 (three Jews); peak Jewish population: 68 in 1911; Jewish population in 1933: 34
Summary: The Jewish community of Bad Honnef never exceeded 1% of the total population. Excepting the years between 1887 and 1913, the community was too small to form an independent congregation, and chose instead to join those of neighboring towns. During the second half of the 19th century, services were conducted in rented houses; on or about the turn of the century, however, the community purchased an abandoned church building and established a synagogue (it was inaugurated in 1902) there. Burials were conducted in nearby Selhof. Local Jews were actively involved in public life during the Weimar period, but it was then, too, that anti-Semitism intensified in Bad Honnef. Later, during the 1930s, Jewish- owned businesses were shut down. On Pogrom Night, rioters set the synagogue’s interior on fire and destroyed the furniture and ritual objects. Jewish homes were not plundered that night, but three local Jews were arrested. Of the 34 Jews who lived in Bad Honnef in 1933, 22 immigrated (10 of them to the United States). In 1941 and 1942, at least eight were deported to the East, where they perished. Only three Jews, all of whom were married to Gentiles, remained in Bad Honnef after the deportations; and only one of the deported Jews returned to the town after the war. In 1968, on the 30th anniversary of Pogrom Night, the municipality unveiled a memorial at the 300-year-old Jewish cemetery. In 1979, a bronze plaque bearing a picture of the synagogue and a menorah was placed at the synagogue site.
Author / Sources: Moshe Aumann; Sources: EJL, LJG, SG-NRW