General information: First Jewish presence: 1823; peak Jewish population: 22 in 1933
Summary: The Jewish community of Zeven, founded in 1842, included the Jews of nearby Rhade, Selsingen and Sittensen. Too small to develop communal institutions—just to hold a prayer service, every Jewish man in the village, only 10 of whom were older than 13, had to attend—the community was often challenged by the district authorities over its independent status. In 1858, after failing to establish (on the orders of the district rabbinate) a Jewish school, Zeven’s Jews were affiliated with the community in Bremervoerde. Zeven’s tiny community continued, however, to maintain a Jewish cemetery on Kleine Ahe. In 1933, a prayer room was established in a private house in Zeven; from 1936 onwards, Bremervoerde Jews, who had been forced to sell their own prayer room, conducted services there. On Pogrom Night (November 1938), all Zeven’s Jews were dragged from their beds and detained in the prayer room building. The prayer room’s silver objects were stolen, its other contents were taken to the market square and burned, and the Jewish men were later sent to Sachsenhausen. Zeven’s Jewish cemetery was desecrated after the pogrom. Two Jewish families from Zeven emigrated from Germany. In 1941, 19 Jews were deported from the village, most of them to Minsk. At least 20 Zeven Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1988, a memorial plaque was unveiled at the cemetery.
Photo: A group of schoolchildren watching the interior of the synagogue of Zeven being burned. Courtesy of: Town Archive of Zeven. Courtesy of: Yad Vashem Photo Archive, 5597/1.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut
Sources: PK-NW, ZGJZ
Located in: lower-saxony