General information: First Jewish presence: 1578; peak Jewish population: 44 in 1853; Jewish population in 1933: 5
Summary: In 1578, three Jews lived in Unkel. Although we do not know how many Jews lived there during the 17th and 18th centuries, records do give a peak figure of 44 for 1853. In 1863, Jews from Linz and Unkel formed the Linz-Unkel synagogue association. The community established the following institutions: a synagogue in 1856; a cemetery, on Am hohen Weg, in 1870; a mikveh (located in a private residence); and a new synagogue, at 28 Am Graben (on the corner of Graben and Freiligrath Strasse) in 1874. Five Jews lived in Unkel in 1933. Later, on Pogrom Night (November 1938), two villagers procured the key to the synagogue and set fire to the building, which burned down completely. In 1939, when only three Jews lived in Unkel, the synagogue was sold into private ownership, after which a residence was built on the site. By the end of 1942, the last three Jews had left Unkel; records indicate that they were deported. At least three Unkel Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1985, a memorial plaque was unveiled at the former synagogue site; and in 1989, the cemetery was declared a protected historical site.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, SG-RPS, YV