General information: First Jewish presence: 1661; peak Jewish population: 410 in 1910; Jewish population in 1933: 281
Summary: Although the Jews of Neuwied were able to employ a series of rabbis from the 17th until the mid-19th century, they never established their own cemetery, choosing, instead, to use the regional cemetery (consecrated in the 17th century) in nearby Niederbieber. In 1748, the community replaced its prayer room on Untere Schlossstrasse with a synagogue on Engerser Strasse (later renamed Synagogenstrasse, or “synagogue street”); the new synagogue, which was renovated in 1844 and again in 1883, seated 42 men and 42 women. Neuwied was also home to a mikveh. In 1844, the town’s Jewish elementary school (established in 1818) moved to the renovated synagogue building; the schoolteacher sometimes served as chazzan, and a second chazzan performed the duties of shochet. In 1933, 281 Jews lived in Neuwied; this figure does not include 50 converts to Christianity, who were later classified as Jews under the 1935 Nuremberg Laws. Eighteen pupils attended the Jewish school, and several Jewish associations and branches of nation-wide Jewish organizations were active in the community, to which the Jews of Heddesdorf, Irlich, Fahr, Rodenbach, Rockenfeld and Wollendorf were affiliated. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s ritual objects were taken outside and burned. The building itself was blown up, the burial hall was damaged and Jewish- owned homes and stores were destroyed. In early 1939, 111 Jews remained in Neuwied, most of whom were eventually deported to the East. At least 101 Jews originally from Neuwied and 20 from its affiliated Jewish communities perished in the Shoah. The post-war Jewish community established a prayer hall in 1947. Neuwied’s Jewish cemetery was renovated in the mid-1980s, and a memorial has been built on the site of the former synagogue.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AJ, EJL, FJW