General information: First Jewish presence: 1717; peak Jewish population: 270 in 1910; Jewish population in 1933: 107
Summary: Illingen Jews were able to employ a rabbi during the 18th and early 19th centuries. The community consecrated a cemetery in 1747 (enlarged in 1905 and in 1923); a synagogue in 1768; and a new synagogue, with a schoolroom and an apartment for the teacher, in 1859 (at 11 Hauptstrasse). Illingen’s Jewish school, which was presided over by a teacher who also performed the duties of chazzan and shochet, was closed down in 1933. In 1933, five Jewish associations and a branch of the Reich Federation of Jewish Front Soldiers were active in the community, with which the Jews of Merchweiler, Sulzbach and Querscheid were affiliated. Many Jews left Illingen in 1935, when Germany annexed the Saarland region. On Pogrom Night, Jews were assaulted, Jewish-owned businesses and homes were wrecked, the synagogue was looted and burned down, the cemetery was desecrated and Jewish men were sent to Dachau. The municipality eventually purchased the synagogue and cemetery sites, the latter of which was cleared in 1939. Illingen’s remaining 19 Jews were deported to Gurs on October 22, 1940. At least 61 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The cemetery was renovated in 1949, and a memorial was unveiled there that same year. The remains of the entrance to the synagogue—the site was cleared in 1949—were transferred to the cemetery.
Photo: The synagogue of Illingen after it was destroyed on Pogrom Night. The prayer room was on the first floor and the school rooms were in the basement. Courtesy of: Photo Lorenz, Illingen.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL
Located in: saarland