General information: First Jewish presence: 1177; peak Jewish population: 168 in 1911; Jewish population in 1933: 101
Summary: In 1853, the Jews of Bruehl were recognized as a semiindependent Jewish community within the regional community of Frechen. The independent Jewish community of Bruehl was founded in 1874. Records from 1371 mention a Jewish cemetery, and we also know that the town was home to prayer halls (in private residences) in 1425 and in 1450. The modern community established a synagogue—it seated 150 worshipers—in 1882 and an elementary school in, at the latest, the 1820s. The school closed in the 1830s, after which the community employed a teacher of religion who also served as chazzan and shochet; beginning in the 1920s, religious instruction was provided by teachers from Cologne. In 1933, 12 schoolchildren studied religion in Bruehl. A women’s association and a chevra kadisha were active in the community, with which the 11 Jews of Pingsdorf were affiliated. Bruehl’s synagogue was burned down on Pogrom Night, and property and furniture in Jewish businesses and homes were destroyed. Several Jews were beaten, and all men under the age of 60 were arrested and forced to board up broken windows, after Dachau. In 1939, the synagogue site was sold to a local resident who cleared the ruins. Local Jews were used as forced laborers beginning in 1939. Later, in 1941, the remaining Jews were moved into three so-called “Jews’ houses.” More than 50 Jews moved to Bruehl after 1933. Twentyone local Jews emigrated, 81 relocated within Germany and four passed away in Bruehl. In 1942, 22 Jews were deported, via Cologne, to the East; and in 1944, local Jews who were married to Christians were deported to Theresienstadt. At least 69 Bruehl Jews perished in the Shoah. A memorial plaque was unveiled at the former synagogue site after 1960. The cemetery was desecrated in 1981.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut
Sources: EJL, JB