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The Jewish Community of Soetern

Soetern

Sötern 

A village in the Sankt Wendel district in Saarland, Germany.

First Jewish presence: early 17th century (possibly earlier); peak Jewish population: 233 in 1846; Jewish population in 1933: 90

Records are not clear about when Jews first arrived in Soetern, but we know for certain that it was before the Thirty Years’ War. An old synagogue and mikveh, consecrated in or around the year 1650, were the oldest in the region. Soetern’s modern Jewish community established a private Jewish school in 1830 and a synagogue (at 30 Hopstaedten) in 1840. After 1910, the year in which the school was officially recognized as a public school, the rabbi from Hopstaedten instructed Soetern’s Jewish children in religion. In 1933, windows were smashed in a Jewish-owned business; the owner was later arrested for “communist agitation,” after which he disappeared. On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), Jews were forced to destroy the synagogue’s interior and its ritual objects. Businesses and homes were ransacked, Jews were assaulted, the cemetery was desecrated and several Jews were sent to Dachau. Twenty-seven Soetern Jews emigrated and 36 relocated within Germany. In April 1942, 24 Jews were deported to the East; and in July 1942, 10 Jews, Soetern’s last, were deported to Theresienstadt Nazi concentration camp. Only one Jew (he/she was married to a Christian) remained in Soetern after the deportations. At least 60-65 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue was remodeled as a combined residential and commercial building after the war. Soetern’s Jewish cemetery was renovated in 1946 and desecrated in 2008.

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This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Place Type:
Village
ID Number:
16750408
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Related items:

The fortress of Terezin (in German Theresienstadt) in north-west Czechoslovakia was founded during the reign of Kaiser Joseph II and named after his mother, Maria-Theresa. In 1941, the Nazis decided to concentrate in Terezin most of the Jews of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, including the elderly, prominent personalities and those with special privileges, and gradually to transport them from there to the death camps. They transformed the town into a ghetto, and between November 24, 1941 and April 20, 1945 some 140,000 Jews were brought there. In September 1942, the ghetto population reached a peak of 53,000. Of the Jews who passed through the ghetto, approximately 33,000 died there, while 80,000 were transported from there to the extermination camps. In the fall of 1944 only 11,000 Jews were left alive in Terezin.

Most of the inmates of Terezin were assimilated Jews, many of them artists, writers and scholars, who helped to organize intensive cultural activities: orchestras, an opera group, theater, light entertainment and cabaret. The Germans had established the ghetto with the aim of misleading world public opinion regarding the extermination of European Jewry, by presenting Terezin as a model Jewish settlement.

Sankt Wendel

St. Wendel

A town in northeastern Saarland, Germany.

First Jewish presence: 1358 (perhaps earlier); peak Jewish population: 143 in 1923; Jewish population in 1933: unknown (130 in 1932)

The earliest available record of a Jewish presence in Sankt Wendel is from 1358. We do not know when or why Jews left the area, but records do tell us that it was not until 1862 that a Jewish presence was re-established in Sankt Wendel. The Jewish community of Sankt Wendel was officially recognized in 1920. Jews conducted services in a prayer room, established in a private home in 1869, until 1902, when the community inaugurated a synagogue on Kelsweilerstrasse; the synagogue, which seated 84 men and 52 women, was renovated in 1932. The community also maintained a cemetery (consecrated in 1871), a school and a mikveh. After the Saarland region was returned to the German Reich in March 1935, most Jews left: 19 Jews lived in Sankt Wendel in 1937, nine in 1938. On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), the synagogue’s interior was demolished, after which the building was burned down. The municipality purchased the site, which had already been cleared, in 1942. On October 22, 1940, Sankt Wendel’s last four Jews were deported to Gurs concentration camp in France. At least 32 Sankt Wendel Jews perished in the Shoah. The former synagogue, sold in 1951 to a private individual, was converted into a residential building, to which a memorial plaque was affixed in 1981. Earlier, in 1972, a memorial stone was unveiled at the cemetery.

-------------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Thalfang

A spa town in the Bernkastel-Wittlich district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

First Jewish presence: unknown; peak Jewish population: 113 in 1843 (21% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 37

The Jews of Thalfang and its nearby villages belonged to the community of Trier until 1920, when Thalfang was recognized as an independent Jewish community. Local Jews consecrated a cemetery in 1800 and a synagogue—it housed a schoolroom and a teacher’s apartment—in 1822 (renovated in 1867). Thirty-seven Jews lived in Thalfang in 1933. The Jews of Talling, Dhronecken, Berglicht and Deuselbach were affiliated with the Thalfang community. In 1938, 22 Jews still lived in Thalfang. On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), rioters smashed the synagogue’s windows, threw out the benches and ritual objects and, in a particularly crude show of contempt, hurled the curtains and candle holders onto a nearby manure heap. The Jews themselves were forced to take the sacred books to the marketplace and burn them there. Thalfang’s Jewish cemetery was also desecrated that night. Twelve Jews emigrated, 19 relocated within Germany and nine, Thalfang’s last, were deported to the Lodz ghetto in October 1942. At least 21 Thalfang Jews perished in the Shoah. Several gravestones removed during the Nazi period were returned to the cemetery in 1945. In 1950, the Jewish regional community sold the synagogue building to a neighbor, who had it torn down in 1956. A memorial stone has been unveiled at the cemetery.

-------------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

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The Jewish Community of Soetern

Soetern

Sötern 

A village in the Sankt Wendel district in Saarland, Germany.

First Jewish presence: early 17th century (possibly earlier); peak Jewish population: 233 in 1846; Jewish population in 1933: 90

Records are not clear about when Jews first arrived in Soetern, but we know for certain that it was before the Thirty Years’ War. An old synagogue and mikveh, consecrated in or around the year 1650, were the oldest in the region. Soetern’s modern Jewish community established a private Jewish school in 1830 and a synagogue (at 30 Hopstaedten) in 1840. After 1910, the year in which the school was officially recognized as a public school, the rabbi from Hopstaedten instructed Soetern’s Jewish children in religion. In 1933, windows were smashed in a Jewish-owned business; the owner was later arrested for “communist agitation,” after which he disappeared. On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), Jews were forced to destroy the synagogue’s interior and its ritual objects. Businesses and homes were ransacked, Jews were assaulted, the cemetery was desecrated and several Jews were sent to Dachau. Twenty-seven Soetern Jews emigrated and 36 relocated within Germany. In April 1942, 24 Jews were deported to the East; and in July 1942, 10 Jews, Soetern’s last, were deported to Theresienstadt Nazi concentration camp. Only one Jew (he/she was married to a Christian) remained in Soetern after the deportations. At least 60-65 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue was remodeled as a combined residential and commercial building after the war. Soetern’s Jewish cemetery was renovated in 1946 and desecrated in 2008.

--------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Thalfang
Sankt Wendel
Theresienstadt - Terezin

Thalfang

A spa town in the Bernkastel-Wittlich district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

First Jewish presence: unknown; peak Jewish population: 113 in 1843 (21% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 37

The Jews of Thalfang and its nearby villages belonged to the community of Trier until 1920, when Thalfang was recognized as an independent Jewish community. Local Jews consecrated a cemetery in 1800 and a synagogue—it housed a schoolroom and a teacher’s apartment—in 1822 (renovated in 1867). Thirty-seven Jews lived in Thalfang in 1933. The Jews of Talling, Dhronecken, Berglicht and Deuselbach were affiliated with the Thalfang community. In 1938, 22 Jews still lived in Thalfang. On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), rioters smashed the synagogue’s windows, threw out the benches and ritual objects and, in a particularly crude show of contempt, hurled the curtains and candle holders onto a nearby manure heap. The Jews themselves were forced to take the sacred books to the marketplace and burn them there. Thalfang’s Jewish cemetery was also desecrated that night. Twelve Jews emigrated, 19 relocated within Germany and nine, Thalfang’s last, were deported to the Lodz ghetto in October 1942. At least 21 Thalfang Jews perished in the Shoah. Several gravestones removed during the Nazi period were returned to the cemetery in 1945. In 1950, the Jewish regional community sold the synagogue building to a neighbor, who had it torn down in 1956. A memorial stone has been unveiled at the cemetery.

-------------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Sankt Wendel

St. Wendel

A town in northeastern Saarland, Germany.

First Jewish presence: 1358 (perhaps earlier); peak Jewish population: 143 in 1923; Jewish population in 1933: unknown (130 in 1932)

The earliest available record of a Jewish presence in Sankt Wendel is from 1358. We do not know when or why Jews left the area, but records do tell us that it was not until 1862 that a Jewish presence was re-established in Sankt Wendel. The Jewish community of Sankt Wendel was officially recognized in 1920. Jews conducted services in a prayer room, established in a private home in 1869, until 1902, when the community inaugurated a synagogue on Kelsweilerstrasse; the synagogue, which seated 84 men and 52 women, was renovated in 1932. The community also maintained a cemetery (consecrated in 1871), a school and a mikveh. After the Saarland region was returned to the German Reich in March 1935, most Jews left: 19 Jews lived in Sankt Wendel in 1937, nine in 1938. On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), the synagogue’s interior was demolished, after which the building was burned down. The municipality purchased the site, which had already been cleared, in 1942. On October 22, 1940, Sankt Wendel’s last four Jews were deported to Gurs concentration camp in France. At least 32 Sankt Wendel Jews perished in the Shoah. The former synagogue, sold in 1951 to a private individual, was converted into a residential building, to which a memorial plaque was affixed in 1981. Earlier, in 1972, a memorial stone was unveiled at the cemetery.

-------------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

The fortress of Terezin (in German Theresienstadt) in north-west Czechoslovakia was founded during the reign of Kaiser Joseph II and named after his mother, Maria-Theresa. In 1941, the Nazis decided to concentrate in Terezin most of the Jews of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, including the elderly, prominent personalities and those with special privileges, and gradually to transport them from there to the death camps. They transformed the town into a ghetto, and between November 24, 1941 and April 20, 1945 some 140,000 Jews were brought there. In September 1942, the ghetto population reached a peak of 53,000. Of the Jews who passed through the ghetto, approximately 33,000 died there, while 80,000 were transported from there to the extermination camps. In the fall of 1944 only 11,000 Jews were left alive in Terezin.

Most of the inmates of Terezin were assimilated Jews, many of them artists, writers and scholars, who helped to organize intensive cultural activities: orchestras, an opera group, theater, light entertainment and cabaret. The Germans had established the ghetto with the aim of misleading world public opinion regarding the extermination of European Jewry, by presenting Terezin as a model Jewish settlement.