General information: First Jewish presence: 1390; peak Jewish population: 104 in 1895; Jewish population in 1933: 60
Summary: The Jewish community of Rhaunen, although never able to establish a proper synagogue, conducted services in prayer halls set up in private residences. Rhaunen Jews were, however, able to employ teachers of religion; during the years 1898 to 1936, Josef Klein held the post of teacher, chazzan and shochet. We also know that the town was home to two Jewish cemeteries, the first of which was consecrated in 1829, the second in 1885. In 1933, 60 Jews lived in Rhaunen. Six children received religious instruction that year, and a women’s association and a men’s charity association were active in the community. Earlier, in 1932, the Jews of Hottenbach and Stipshausen had been affiliated with the Rhaunen community. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s interior was destroyed; Jewish-owned homes and businesses were looted and damaged, and Jewish men were arrested and sent to the Wittlich prison. The synagogue building was demolished a few days later, after which the property was sold, for much less than its actual value, to a local resident. Most Jews managed to leave Rhaunen. In October 1941, the remaining 17 Jews were deported to the East. At least 20 Rhaunen Jews, 15 Hottenbach Jews and one from Stipshausen perished in the Shoah. The cemetery was desecrated in 1975.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut
Sources: AJ, BJGR, DZG, EJL, FJG