General information: First Jewish presence: 1695; peak Jewish population: 182 in 1925; Jewish population in 1933: unknown
Summary: In 1838, this community established a synagogue—the building accommodated a prayer room, a schoolroom and an apartment for the teacher—on 2 Gartenstrasse. As stipulated by the authorities, the building was half-timbered and scarcely recognizable as a synagogue. Delmenhorst’s Jewish cemetery, acquired in 1848, was also used by the Jews of Ganderkesee and Berne. We also know that the Jewish school became an elementary school in 1894, and that a new synagogue was built in 1928. Between 1909 and 1937, during which time the school was closed, Alexander Freund served as teacher and chazzan. In 1933, the community established a gymnastics club for youth and a Pfadfinder (pathfinder) club. On Pogrom Night, Nazis burned down the synagogue and broke the windows of the remaining Jewish business; 16 men were sent to Sachsenhausen, after which (a few days later), they were released on condition that they leave Delmenhorst immediately. The Jewish population dropped from 51 in November of 1938 to 21 at the end of 1939. Approximately 105 local Jews managed to immigrate to the United States, South America and Palestine. Approximately 75 were murdered in the Shoah, of whom 33 perished in Minsk and 8 (at least) in Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. The cemetery was vandalized in 1966 and 1970. In 1979 a monument was unveiled in Delmenhorst. The remains of the synagogue (the new one) were converted into a residential building which bears no trace of its former purpose; the old synagogue was torn down in 1972. Ganderkesee houses a memorial stone. The new Jewish community of Delmenhorst, founded by immigrants from the former USSR, numbered 160 members in 2000.
Photo: The synagogue of Delmenhorst in 1929. Courtesy of: City Archive of Delmenhorst.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Located in: lower-saxony