Bad Berleburg

General information: First Jewish presence: 17th century; peak Jewish population: 119 in 1843; Jewish population in 1933: 39.
Summary: In 1800, the Jewish community of Bad Berleburg replaced its small synagogue (built, at the latest, in 1730) with a larger house of worship. Located in the downtown district, the building also accommodated a school and living quarters for the teacher. This synagogue was destroyed in the fire of 1825, after which, in the mid-1830s, local Jews dedicated a new synagogue. Burials were conducted in neighboring cemeteries until the 1740s, when the community consecrated its own burial grounds. Beginning in 1905, however, local Jews buried their dead in the municipal cemetery. Jews were well-integrated into the economy until the beginning of the Nazi era, and even then many residents continued to patronize Jewish stores despite the Nazi boycott. Anti-Jewish restrictions and regulations, however, triggered a wave of Jewish emigration. On Pogrom Night, more than 100 members of various Nazi organizations broke into the synagogue and shattered its windows, after which (this was done in the marketplace) theysetthefurnitureandritualobjectsonfire.Transferredto new owners in 1939, the synagogue building was eventually converted into an apartment building. Local Jewish men were sent to the Oranienburg concentration camp after Pogrom Night, and the remaining Jews were later deported. Between 1934 and 1942, 13 Berleburg Jews relocated to other towns and cities in Germany. At least 10 Berleburg Jews immigrated, six of them to the United States. On April 28, 1942, three Jews were deported to the East; and on July 27 the last 15 were sent to Theresienstadt. According to all but one source, none returned. (This source claims that one local Jew survived the Shoah.) A memorial plaque was unveiled in Bad Berleburg in 2000.
Author / Sources: Moshe Aumann; Sources: EJL, LJG, SG-NRW