General information: First Jewish presence: 1307; peak Jewish population: 268 in 1933
Summary: Jews were murdered in Wittlich during the Black Death pogroms of 1349. In 1419, a Jew who had resettled there was expelled from the area, at the same time when all Jews were expelled from the Trier Archbishopric. Another Jewish presence was recorded in 1620, but it was not until 1890 that a functioning community was founded in Wittlich. Local Jews established several institutions: a cemetery in or around the year 1670; a synagogue—in a building that had once housed a church—in 1833; a mikveh at some point during the 19th century; an elementary school in 1858; and a new synagogue in 1910. In 1933, 20 Jewish children attended the school. Several Jewish associations and branches of nation-wide organizations were active in the community, with which the Jews of Osann were affiliated. On Pogrom Night, the interiors and contents of the synagogue and school were destroyed. Jewish homes were vandalized, property was destroyed and several Jews were imprisoned in the local jail. Later, in January 1939, the synagogue and school buildings were sold to the municipality. Wittlich’s remaining Jews were forcibly moved into two houses, from which the men were often taken for forced labor. The cemetery was sold to the municipality in April 1943. One hundr ed and seven Jews emigrated, 102 relocated within Germany, 19 died in Wittlich and 32 were deported to the East and to Theresienstadt in 1941/42. At least 131 Wittlich Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1977, the renovated synagogue was opened as a cultural center; a permanent exhibition, established there in 1993, commemorates the town’s former Jewish community.
Photo: The synagogue of Wittlich. Courtesy of: Unknown.
Photo 2: The synagogue of Wittlich. Courtesy of: Unknown.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut
Sources: AJ, JIW, JLW