General information: First Jewish presence: in approximately 1600; peak Jewish population: 104 in 1924; Jewish population in 1933: 73
Summary: Although Jews lived in Hellenthal as early as 1600, records suggest that a community was not founded there until 1808. These Jews formed a joint community with Jews in neighboring towns, and implemented a system—used until the late 1800s—whereby prayers were conducted in each community’s prayer room for six months at a time. In 1886, local Jews purchased a plot of land for the purpose of building a synagogue. As financial constraints precluded quick construction, the synagogue was not completed until 1903; it was inaugurated in 1904. The Jews of Hellenthal suffered anti-Semitism long before Pogrom Night; the synagogue’s windows, for example, were smashed on several occasions. On Pogrom Night, Jews were dragged out of their homes and forced to watch the synagogue building burn. All Jewish men were deported to concentration camps that night. The synagogue building was torn down in 1942, and the site is now used by the German National Railway. As of this writing, a memorial to the Jewish community has never been erected in Hellenthal.
Photo: The synagogue of the community of Hellenthal in the village of Blumenthal, the biggest synagogue building in the Eifel region. Courtesy of: Local Archive of Blumenthal.
Author / Sources: Moshe Finkel
Sources: LJG, SG-NRW, SIA