Papenburg an der Ems

General information: First Jewish presence: 1771; peak Jewish population: 127 in 1890; Jewish population in 1933: 71
Summary: In 1863, after the synagogue in nearby Aschendorf ceased to function, the Jews of Papenburg an der Ems petitioned for their own synagogue. On May 12, 1887, one was inaugurated at 51 Hauptkanal; behind the new house of worship, in an older building, the community built a school and an apartment for a teacher. Papenburg’s mikveh, which was located in the Hes family home at 42 Hauptkanal, was renovated in 1921. We also know that the provincial rabbinate was in nearby Emden, and that from 1805 until 1937, burials were conducted in a cemetery two kilometers north of Aschendorf. In 1922, when only nine children attended the Jewish school, the authorities in Osnabrueck closed it down; the school was not reopened until 1937. On Pogrom Night, SA men set the synagogue and school building on fire. Jewish-owned property was vandalized and looted, and the Hes family’s home and business were set on fire. Jewish men were arrested and sent, via Osnabrueck, to the Oranienburg concentration camp. On December 5, 1941, most of the remaining Jews (five families) were deported to Riga. The last were taken to Theresienstadt on January 29, 1942. Alice Hes and the Polak sisters returned to Papenburg after the Shoah. Twenty-two of the 71 Jews who lived in Papenburg in 1933 perished in the Shoah. According to Yad Vashem, the death toll for Papenburg was approximately 60.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: PK, YV
Located in: Lower Saxony