General information: First Jewish presence: 14th century; peak Jewish population: 64 in 1895; Jewish population in 1933: see below
Summary: Jews were expelled from Kastellaun in the 1380s, and although we do not know when, exactly, another Jewish presence was established there, records point to 1862 as the year in which the modern community began to emerge. The official Jewish community of Kastellaun was founded in 1899. Local Jews established the following communal institutions: a Jewish cemetery (1879); a prayer room (1891); a school for religious studies (founded on an unspecified date); and, finally, a synagogue on Eifelstrasse (1892). Although 85 Jews lived in Kastellaun at the beginning of 1933, that number had dropped to 66 by June of that year. A teacher from Hasenthal instructed 11 children in religion, and the community maintained a Jewish women’s association and a welfare society. Surprisingly, a Jew was elected to the local council in 1933. On Pogrom Night, rioters demolished the Kastellaun synagogue; several Jewish men were sent to Dachau. In 1942, after the synagogue ruins had been cleared, the town council appropriated the synagogue site. Approximately 20 local Jews managed to immigrate to the United States. Nine Jews, the town’s last, were deported to Auschwitz in April and August of 1942. At least 20 Kastellaun Jews perished in the Shoah. A memorial stone was unveiled at the Jewish cemetery in 1986.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL