General information: First Jewish presence: 13th century; peak Jewish population: 94 in 1861; Jewish population in 1933: 31-33
Summary: Although we do not know when Jews first settled in Schleusingen, records do tell us that they were persecuted there in 1298 and in 1349. The modern community, established in 1725, maintained the following communal institutions: a synagogue at 2 Wachstrasse; a cemetery at Judengrund, or “Jews’ ground” (1710-1937); and a school (established in 1725). In 1881, five years after the synagogue was destroyed in a fire, local Jews inaugurated a new house of worship. In 1933, Schleusingen was home to 31-33 Jews; a teacher from nearby Themar instructed three schoolchildren in religion. The cemetery was desecrated soon after the implementation of the anti-Jewish boycotts of 1933. On Pogrom Night, SS men vandalized the synagogue, destroyed its furniture and burned holy books and ritual objects to the accompanying cheers of bystanders. Jewish men aged 16 and 60 were arrested, taken to a local gym and, later, deported to Buchenwald. Deportations from Schleusingen were completed in 1942. At least 22 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue was converted into an apartment building in 1950. A plaque (unveiled in 1988) and a stele (erected in 2008) commemorate Schleusingen’s former Jewish community. The synagogue has been declared a historical monument.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn
Sources: AJ, DJKT, EJL, FJG
Located in: thuringia