General information: First Jewish presence: 15th century; peak Jewish population: 74 in 1847; Jewish population in 1933: unknown
Summary: According to records, the presence of a “protected” Jew in Rhens was documented for the first time either in 1441 or in 1498. The Jewish community, established at some point in the 19th century, numbered 36-38 in 1808, 44 in 1895 and 44 in 1925. In Rhens, a synagogue (possibly a prayer hall) was inaugurated in, at the latest, 1808. In 1832, because the old synagogue building was in a state of dilapidation, the community inaugurated a new synagogue at 9 Langgasse. It was not until 1864, however, that the Jews of Rhens consecrated a cemetery on Auf dem Luetzelforst. In 1932, the Jewish cemetery was desecrated. Later, on Pogrom Night, rioters vandalized (and possibly torched) the synagogue building. SA men and members of the Hitler Youth mockingly paraded the ritual items through town, affixing a Torah scroll to the community’s hearse and, after setting the scroll on fire, pushing both into the River Rhine. By August 1939, all Jewish families had left town. At least nine Rhens Jews perished in the Shoah. The Jewish cemetery was vandalized in 1945 and in again in 1992. The former synagogue was converted into an apartment building, to which a memorial plaque has been affixed.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn