General information: First Jewish presence: 14th century; peak Jewish population: 112 in 1925; Jewish population in 1933: 110
Summary: The town’s first Jewish residents were expelled in 1571. The nucleus of the modern community arrived in Rathenow in or around the year 1700, mostly from Vienna. Although most Jews were small-time merchants, one prominent businessman, Levin Pintus, was a textile contractor for the army. The community attained official status in the mid-18th century, but it was not until 1926, prior to which services were conducted in a private residence, that the community built a synagogue. The cemetery, whose oldest tombstone is dated 1692, was replaced by a new burial ground in 1905. Rathenow’s rabbi and several local Jews were arrested in 1933. As a result of its proximity to other buildings, the synagogue was not burned down on Pogrom Night; instead, the thugs contented themselves with wrecking its interior and burning the Torah scrolls. Homes were wrecked, and Jewish men were taken to Sachsenhausen. In 1941, 29 Jews, crammed into so-called “Jews’ houses” from which they would later be deported, lived in Rathenow. Plaques were later unveiled at the cemetery and at the former synagogue, the latter of which is now a children’s home.
Photo: The synagogue of Rathenow. Courtesy of: The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, Art. No. 7355/7.
Author / Sources: Harold Slutzkin
Sources: EJL, LJG
Located in: brandenburg