Gehrden-Ronnenberg

General information: First presence: 18th century; peak Jew. pop.: 110 - 1861 (Gehr.), 36 - 1925 (Ronnenb.); Jewish population 1933: 15 - Gehrden, approx. 25 - Ronnenberg
Summary: The Jews of Gehrden-Ronnenberg were predominantly traders (of cattle, leather, wool, textiles and grain) and butchers. Beginning in the mid-1700s, the Gehrden community conducted burials on the outskirts of town (on Koetherberge); the Ronnenberg community, however, maintained its own cemetery. In Gehrden, the community established a synagogue and a school in the early 19th century. Later, in 1850, a new house of worship—the site also included a mikveh, a school and an apartment for a teacher who served as shochet and chazzan—was erected on Steinweg; non-Jewish residents of Gehrden attended the dedication ceremony. Gehrden’s synagogue closed in or around 1920 because community membership was dwindling. The school building was sold and converted into a store; and in 1930, the former synagogue was converted into a residential building. According to records, a Jewish woman served on the local board of the Red Cross in the early 1930s. Jewish property was damaged on Pogrom Night, and the former synagogue was vandalized, its windows broken. Jewish men were arrested, after which many left town. By 1939, in fact, only eight Jews lived in Gehrden and one in Ronnenberg. Restored in 1953, the cemetery has since been repeatedly desecrated. The synagogue building was pulled down in 1979; a memorial plaque was affixed to the new building erected in its place. At least 17 Jews from Gehrden and 15 from Ronnenberg died in the Shoah.
Photo: The side entrance to the synagogue of Gehrden in the 1930s. Courtesy of: District Archive in Hanover.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, HU, JG NB1, SIA
Located in: Lower Saxony