General information: First Jewish presence: Middle Ages (see below); peak Jewish population: 112 in 1850; Jewish population in 1933: 19
Summary: It is likely that Jews lived in Goellheim during the Middle Ages, but the earliest available record of a Jewish presence there is from the end of the 17th century. The modern community, officially founded in the 18th century, numbered 21 members in 1798, around which time a synagogue was inaugurated in Goellheim. In 1837, local Jews purchased a building on Lebergasse (or Lehrgasse) and established a prayer hall and a schoolroom there. Later, in 1849/50, a new synagogue was built on Berggasse (renovated in 1911/12). We also know that the community maintained a school, a mikveh and a cemetery, the last of which was consecrated on Koenigkreuzstrasse in 1893 and replaced an older cemetery (consecrated in or around 1700). In 1925, 22 Jews lived in Goellheim (1.4% of the total population). A teacher from a neighboring town instructed local Jewish children in religion. Goellheim’s Jewish population figures for 1933 and January of 1938 were 19 and eight, respectively. The synagogue’s interior was destroyed on Pogrom Night; later, in 1939 or 1941, the building was appropriated by the town. Between 1940 and 1945, one Jew lived in Goellheim. At least six local Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue building was returned to the Jewish community of Rhineland Pfalz after the war. Sold to the municipality in 1970, the dilapidated building was finally torn down in 1971. Memorial stones were unveiled in Goellheim in 1979 and 1988; and a Mauer der Begegnung (a “Meeting Wall”)—it was constructed from the synagogue’s ruins—was unveiled in the center of town.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn
Sources: AJ, LFD-RP, SIA