General information: First Jewish presence: 14th century; peak Jewish population: 136 in 1861 (7.4% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 53
Summary: The Jewish community of Zierenberg established a synagogue on Lange Strasse at some point during the 17th century (the synagogue had 35 seats for men, 17 for women). In 1898/99, the dilapidated building was replaced by a new synagogue on Mittelstrasse; renovated in 1930, that building housed a mikveh and a schoolroom. Burials were conducted in Meimbressen until 1846, when the community consecrated a cemetery on Ehlener Strasse. We also know the Zierenberg community ran a Jewish elementary school from 1837 until 1922; both Jacob Gutkind and Siegmund Rosenmund served as teacher, shochet and chazzan for over 40 years. In 1933, 53 Jews lived in Zierenberg, a Nazi Party stronghold. Two Jewish welfare associations—one for men, the other for women—were active in the community, and a teacher from Meimbressen instructed eight Jewish schoolchildren in religion. On the night between November 8 and 9, 1939 (namely, the night before Pogrom Night) SA and SS troops destroyed the synagogue, assaulted Jewish residents, vandalized Jewish homes and desecrated the cemetery. In 1939, Zierenberg’s mayor purchased a section of the leveled cemetery. By 1938/39, at least 28 Jews had left Zierenberg; three emigrated from the country and others relocated within Germany. At least 27 Zierenberg Jews perished in the Shoah. A memorial stone was unveiled at the former Jewish cemetery in 1946. The synagogue site—the building was eventually torn down—is now used by an organization that supports children suffering from cancer. In 1988, a commemorative plaque was affixed to the new building.
Photo: The synagogue of Zierenberg was inaugurated in 1899 and destroyed on Pogrom Night, 1938. Courtesy of: Town Archive of Zierenberg.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn
Sources: AJ, DJGH, EJL, FJG
Located in: hesse