General information: First Jewish presence: 1580s; peak Jewish population: 80 in 1905; Jewish population in 1933: 73
Summary: In Rinteln, most Jews earned a living as pawnbrokers, moneylenders, cattle traders or merchants. Services were conducted in private residences until 1848, when the community inaugurated a synagogue on Brennerstrasse, in the Katz family home. The house of worship was moved to the rear of a community-owned building in 1917; the building was sold in 1921, after which the community rented the premises. We also know that, in 1848, the Jews of Rinteln replaced their 16th-century cemetery with new burial grounds on Ostertorstrasse. A Jewish school was established in Rinteln at some point during the 19th century. In 1899, however, Jewish children started attending the local school, where a Jewish teacher instructed them in religious studies. The 19th-century community was not only active in local politics, but also maintained a Jewish youth organization and a branch of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith. Anti-Jewish measures, enjoying the full support of the mayor, were implemented in Rinteln immediately after the Nazis’ election victories in 1933. Many local Jews emigrated or relocated within Germany during the following years, and in 1936 the synagogue was moved to another private residence (on the same street). On Pogrom Night, rioters plundered Jewish homes, desecrated the cemetery, vandalized the synagogue and set ritual objects on fire. Jewish men were arrested. Later, in 1941, the remaining Jews were forcibly moved into a designated house. Rinteln’s last Jews were deported during the years 1942 to 1944. At least 31 local Jews died in the Shoah. In 1988, a memorial plaque was unveiled opposite the former synagogue.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, JGNB1
Located in: lower-saxony