General information: First Jewish presence: 1411; peak Jewish population: 287 in 1846; population in 1933: unknown
Summary: The modern Jewish community of Schwarza was founded in the 17th century. In 1680, the community built a synagogue on Huettenstrasse (present-day Irma Stern Strasse), prior to which Jews presumably conducted services in a prayer hall. Although the synagogue was renovated in 1754, the growing congregation inaugurated a larger house of worship in 1841. The community also maintained a school, a mikveh and a cemetery, the last of which was consecrated on Lindenrain and was in use either from 1693 until 1936, or from 1791 until 1936 (sources provide differing information). As a result of dwindling membership numbers, the community was dissolved in 1930, after which, in 1932, the remaining Jews were affiliated with the community in Suhl. Although the synagogue had been sold in 1935, the SA nevertheless broke into the building on Pogrom Night, ransacking its interior and burning Torah scrolls, ritual objects and furniture. The town’s few remaining Jews were deported in 1942. At least nine Schwarza Jews were murdered in the Shoah, among them Irma Stern. In honor of Stern and the former Jewish community, the street on which the community’s first synagogue had been located was later named Irma Stern Strasse. What remained of the synagogue building attacked on Pogrom Night was torn down in 1978 (or possibly 1981/82). The cemetery, which was restored in 1987/88 and declared a historical site, was desecrated in 2004 and in again in 2008.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn
Sources: AJ, DJKT
Located in: thuringia