Sankt Wendel

General information: First Jewish presence: 1358 (perhaps earlier); peak Jewish population: 143 in 1923; Jewish population in 1933: unknown (130 in 1932)
Summary: 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, 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. 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.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL, SG-RPS
Located in: saarland