General information: First Jewish presence: 1600; peak Jewish population: 234 in 1835; Jewish population in 1933: 80
Summary: Abterode (Hesse) During the 17th and 18th centuries, local Jews held services in a prayer room at 7 Hinterweg. The community established a cemetery on Rehbergstrasse in the mid-17th century; a Jewish elementary school at 47 Steinweg in 1840; and a 4 A Memorial to the Synagogues of Germany Achim (Lower Saxony) new synagogue on 1 Hinterweg, in 1871. Abterode also had a mikveh. The welfare organization Chewro Gemilus Chasodim and a women’s charity group were active in Abterode in 1933. The school was closed down in January 1934, after which, in 1937, it was reopened as a private school. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s interior and contents were destroyed. The school building, a Jewish-owned business and eight homes (including the teacher’s apartment) were damaged heavily. Jewish men were beaten and humiliated in the synagogue’s yard, but a Christian minister prevented the crowd from pushing a Jew off the synagogue’s gallery. The Jewish men were then deported to Buchenwald; all other Jews were taken to Eschwege. Twenty-six Jews emigrated and 60 relocated within Germany; the others were deported to the East. At least 83 Abterode Jews perished in the Shoah. Sold to a bank in 1944, the synagogue was used as a storage room. Between 1992 and 2007, the building was restored in cooperation with Germany’s State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments. During the restoration work, a geniza was discovered there. A memorial plaque has been affixed to the building, which is now a bank.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn; Sources: AJ, DJGH, EJL, PK-HNF, SIA; www.gemeinde-meissner.de
Located in: hesse