General information: First Jewish presence: Middle Ages; peak Jewish population: 126 in 1913: Jewish population in 1933: 87
Summary: Jews lived in Hachenburg in the Middle Ages but were liquidated in the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49. It was not until the 17th century that Jews returned to Hachenburg. The community established two cemeteries long before it had a synagogue: the first cemetery was already in use in 1587, and the second was consecrated in the 1780s. Prayers were conducted in a privately-owned home that was regularly filled to capacity, for the Jews of Alstadt, Alpenrod, Hirtscheid, Dehlingen, Hoechstenbach, Kirburg, Kroppach and Nister were affiliated with the community. Hachenburg was also home to a mikveh (a new one opened in 1908) and a school for religious studies whose teacher acted as chazzan and shochet. Philip Bamberger held that post for 50 years (1788-1838). In 1897, the community inaugurated a synagogue at 6 Alexanderring. In 1933, seven children attended classes in religion, and several Jewish associations were active in the community. On Pogrom Night, SA troops looted Jewish homes, smashed the synagogue’s windows and destroyed its interior; police confiscated ritual objects, including 16 Torah scrolls. Jews were marched through town, beaten and mocked. The synagogue was sold to the town authorities shortly afterwards. Forty Jews emigrated (half of them went to the United States); the rest relocated within Germany. By March 1940, all Jews had left Hachenburg. At least 39 Hachenburg Jews perished in the Shoah. After the pogrom, the synagogue was appropriated by the German Air Defense Association. In 1945, it was handed over to the Jewish community of Koblenz. The building, which later housed a vocational school and a retail store, now contains a memorial.
Photo: The synagogue of Hachenburg; probably in the 1920s. Courtesy of: Town Archive of Hachenburg.
Author / Sources: Bronagh Bowerman