General information: First Jewish presence: 1603 (see below); peak Jewish population: 300 in 1762; Jewish population in 1933: 103
Summary: Jews settled on the outskirts of Peine in 1603, but it was only in 1807/13 that a Jewish presence was established inside the town. The community maintained a synagogue, an elementary school (1838-1873) and a cemetery, the last of which was located in Telgte and enlarged in 1803. In 1907, a new synagogue—it also housed a schoolroom and a teacher’s apartment—was inaugurated on Bodenstedtstrasse/ Goethestrasse (present-day Hans-Marburger Strasse). The old synagogue was demolished. In 1932/33, 16 Jewish schoolchildren received religious instruction. A teacher and chazzan were employed, and the community maintained a women’s welfare organization (established in 1919) and a branch of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith; records from 1899 and 1924 mention a chevra kadisha, but we cannot say for certain that it still functioned in 1933. On Pogrom Night, rioters damaged the synagogue, the cemetery and Jewish-owned stores. Sixteen men were arrested the next morning, and SS troops vandalized Jewish homes; Hans Marburger, a sixteen-year-old teenager, was murdered. The synagogue was set on fire, after which, in 1939, its ruins were pulled down. Peine’s Jewish cemetery was destroyed at some point after 1942, the same year during which a housing company bought the synagogue site. By August 1939, two-thirds of the Jewish population of 1933 had left Peine. The remaining Jews were forcibly moved into a barracks on Woltorfer Strasse in 1941/42. In 1942, 1944, and 1945 Jews from Peine and Haemelerwald were deported to Warsaw and to Theresienstadt. At least 60 Jews originally from Peine and nearby Hohenhameln perished in the Shoah. (Haemelerwald and Hohenhameln were affiliated with the Jewish community of Peine.) Today, the synagogue site serves as a park. Memorial stones and slabs were erected at the synagogue site (in 1948 and 1979, respectively), at the cemetery (before 1947) and at the Marburger and Perel family homes (in 1999 and 2000, respectively). Several memorials were desecrated in 1950, 1971 and again in 1990. The film Europa Europa is based on the autobiography of Solomon Perel, a native of Peine.
Photo: The synagogue of Peine in or around the year 1910. Courtesy of: City Archive of Peine.
Photo 2: Curious onlookers in front of the burned synagogue of Peine on November 11, 1938. Courtesy of: City Archive of Peine.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn
Sources: EJL, FJG, JGNB1, SIA, YV
Located in: lower-saxony