General information: First Jewish presence: 13th century; peak Jewish population: 82 in 1885; Jewish population in 1933: 31
Summary: Jews settled in Ahrweiler as early as the 13th century, during which time they enjoyed the protection of the Archbishop of Cologne. By the beginning of the 15th century, Ahrweiler Jews had a designated Jewish street (Judengasse) and their own rabbi and mikveh. The community inaugurated a prayer room in 1773, a second prayer hall in 1844 (both were located in private residences), and a synagogue, on Altenbaustrasse, in 1894. Ahrweiler’s first Jewish cemetery was closed down in 1870, after which, in 1871, the community consecrated new burial grounds. In 1933, the 31 Jews of Ahrweiler ran a women’s association and a literary society. A teacher from Bad Neuenahr instructed schoolchildren in religion. On Pogrom Night, SA men smashed the synagogue’s windows, overturned its benches and hurled furnishings, ritual objects and books onto a bonfire. Jewish-owned stores were vandalized that night, and Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Eleven Ahrweiler Jews emigrated, seven relocated within Germany and 12 were deported to the East in 1942 (six in April, six in July). A Jewish woman and her son survived the war by hiding in Ahrweiler and, later, in Cologne. At least 31 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The former synagogue, renovated in 1990, now houses a permanent exhibition on Ahrweiler’s Jewish community.Amazingly, the original Torah curtain from 1882 was discovered in a Frankfurt art dealer’s shop and returned to the synagogue. Esther Sarah Evans Sources: AJ, EJL, SG-RPS
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans; Sources: AJ, EJL, SG-RPS