General information: First Jewish presence: 14th century; peak Jewish population: 218 in 1910; Jewish population in 1933: 126
Summary: Although we do not know when the medieval Jewish community built its synagogue, records do tell us that the building was destroyed during the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49. We also know that a later community, established by 50 Jews in 1430, was expelled from Arnstadt. The town’s modern Jewish community, made up largely of cattle and textile dealers, was founded in 1880. Services were conducted in the home of Julius Jonas until the establishment of a prayer hall later that year; and in 1913, the hall was replaced by a proper synagogue. Burials were conducted in conjunction with the nearby Plau community until some point during World War One, when local Jews were allotted a section of the Arnstadt cemetery. The synagogue was vandalized and burned down on Pogrom Night; the ruins were later leveled at the congregation’s expense. Jewish dwellings were looted during the pogrom, and those businesses that had survived the 1933 boycott were forcibly “Aryanized”; their owners arrested and held in the municipality cellar. By 1940, at least 60 Jews had emigrated. The remaining 50 were confined to houses from which they were deported to the East. Twelve local Jews survived the Shoah. On the 50th anniversary of Pogrom Night, a plaque was unveiled at the site of the former synagogue and cemetery.
Photo: The synagogue of Arnstadt. Courtesy of: City Archive of Arnstadt.
Author / Sources: Harold Slutzkin; Sources: DJK JLG
Located in: thuringia