General information: First Jewish presence: 1104; peak Jewish population: 800 in 1928; Jewish population in 1933: 669
Summary: The Jewish community of Koblenz was annihilated during the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49. Although Jews resettled in Koblenz at some point after the pogroms, they were expelled from the town in 1418, and it was not, in fact, until 1518 that a lasting Jewish presence was established there. The community of the Middle Ages maintained houses of worship and a cemetery, the latter of which was consecrated in 1303 and later used by the modern community. Many prominent rabbis lived in or were associated with Koblenz, including Yair Chaim Bacherbach (1638-1702), the renowned rabbi and scholar. In 1702, the community inaugurated a synagogue on the Kleine Judengasse (“small Jewish alley”). Later, in 1851, a new synagogue (renovated in 1923) was established at 13 Florinsmarkt; located in a complex of buildings known as the Buerresheimer Hof, the new synagogue housed the rabbi’s living quarters, the Jewish school and two health clinics. Koblenz Jews also employed a teacher/chazzan, a synagogue caretaker and a shochet. In 1933, several Jewish associations and branches of nationwide Jewish organizations were active in the community, with which the Jews of Metternich, Ehrenbreitstein, Pfaffendorf, Guels and Horchheim were affiliated. The synagogue’s interior was destroyed on Pogrom Night, as were ritual objects, 40 Jewish homes and 19 Jewish-owned businesses. The cemetery was desecrated, and approximately 100 Jewish men were sent to Dachau, where two died. In 1939, 308 Jews still lived in the town, most of whom were deported to the East in 1942/43. At least 224 Koblenz Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue building—it was used by the municipality during the war—was destroyed during a wartime bombing raid. The building was later renovated as a library, in which a memorial room to Koblenz’s former Jewish community has been established. Another memorial was erected in the cemetery in 1947. A new Jewish community emerged in Koblenz in 1948. In 1961/62, a community center and prayer hall were built at 5 Schlachthofstrasse.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AJ, EJL, FJG