Ilmenau

General information: First Jewish presence: in or around the year 1300; peak Jewish population: 82 in 1910; Jewish population in 1933: 51
Summary: Ilmenau’s first synagogue was built in 1428. In 1492, after Jews were banished from Ilmenau, the synagogue was handed over to the local church. Jews returned to the town during the 17th century, but it was not until the early 1800s that a Jewish community was established there. Ilmenau was never home to a large Jewish population, therefore a proper synagogue was never built in the town; a prayer room, situated in the back of a building, served as a synagogue. Jews and Christians coexisted peacefully in Ilmenau. The anti-Semitic legislation and boycotts of 1933 were completely ignored, and it was not, in fact, until 1935 that residents began to obey the increasingly restrictive anti-Jewish laws. On Pogrom Night, rioters smashed windows in Jewishowned businesses, plundered the prayer room and burned ritual objects. Ilmenau’s remaining Jews were deported, marking the end of Jewish life in this small town.
Author / Sources: Moshe Finkel
Sources: EJL, DJKT, LJG, SIA
Located in: Thuringia