General information: First Jewish presence: 18th century; peak Jewish population: 282 in 1905; Jewish population in 1933: 155
Summary: By 1815, Zweibruecken was home to a synagogue (thought to have been opened a few years before). In 1833, a building on the Judengasse (“Jews’ alley”) was converted into a synagogue. In 1879, the community inaugurated another synagogue—with 150 seats for men and 50 for women—on the corner of Wallstrasse and Ritterstrasse (that synagogue was renovated either in 1927 or in 1929/30). Local Jews also maintained a mikveh and a school, the latter of which was presided over by a teacher who performed the duties of chazzan and shochet. Although a Jewish cemetery had been consecrated in Zweibruecken in 1821, a new one was laid inside the town’s general burial grounds in 1893. Fifteen Jewish schoolchildren received religious instruction in 1933. A men’s association, a women’s group, a social club and a branch of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith were active in the community, with which the Jews of Niederauerbach were affiliated. On Pogrom Night, SS men set the synagogue on fire; two Jewish-owned stores were destroyed, and 20 Jewish men were arrested. The synagogue’s ruins were demolished in 1939, after which the land was appropriated by the treasury office. Thirty Jews left the city; 16 for the United States. On October 22, 1940, 16 Jews, Zweibruecken’s last, were deported to Gurs, France. At least 79 Zweibruecken Jews perished in the Shoah. After 1950, the synagogue changed ownership several times; the official regional Jewish community owned the site at one point, as did a Catholic order and, finally, a Protestant congregation. A plaque was unveiled at the site in 1970.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn