Gemuenden im Hunsrueck

General information: First Jewish presence: unknown; peak Jewish population: 147 in 1858 (15% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 55
Summary: Although we do not know when Jews first settled here, records do tell us that the village was home to a Jewish community in the early 19th century. The Jews of Gemuenden maintained a synagogue (on Provinzialstrasse) and a cemetery, the latter of which was closed down by the police in 1819. In 1850, the community consecrated another cemetery, this time with the permission of the local police. Gemuenden’s Jewish elementary school closed down in 1874, after which a teacher who performed the duties of chazzan and shochet instructed schoolchildren in religion; after 1931, religious instruction was provided by a teacher from nearby Simmern. In 1933, six children received religious instruction, and the community ran a charity and a women’s association. On November 8, 1938—one day before the pogrom took place in the rest of Germany—the synagogue was burned down together with all its contents; neighboring residents later purchased the site. The Jewish cemetery was desecrated during the Nazi period. In January 1942, a Jewish merchant from Gemuenden, Jakob Metzler (he was a World War I veteran and an invalid) died after he was beaten and thrown down a staircase by a local Nazi. Five Gemuenden Jews were deported to the East. At last 11 perished in the Shoah.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut
Sources: DZG, EJL, FJG, YV