General information: First Jewish presence: 1760; peak Jewish population: 63 in 1863 (14% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 25
Summary: Jews first settled in Erlenbach in 1760, after which the Jewish population experienced modest growth. Although we do not know when this small community established its prayer hall (located in a Jewish residence), mikveh and schoolroom, records do tell us that a synagogue—which would, generally speaking, have housed the schoolroom and mikveh—was built in Erlenbach in 1842. Burials were conducted in nearby Busenburg, whose Jewish community shared the expense of employing a teacher/chazzan/shochet. The majority of local Jews earned a living through agriculture and related commerce. According to records, four Erlenbach Jews died during World War I. The anti-Jewish boycott of 1933 triggered an exodus from the district. Later, in October of 1938 (one month before Pogrom Night), local Nazis broke the windows of the remaining Jewish homes and destroyed the synagogue’s interior. The handful of Jews who did not manage to escape after the outbreak of World War II were deported to and perished in the camps. The destroyed synagogue was torn down in 1948.
Author / Sources: Harold Slutzkin
Sources: EJL, LJG, SG-RPS