Jemgum Jewish Community
The Jewish community in Jemgum existed for about 350 years from its beginnings in the 17th century to its end in February 1940.
History of the Jewish community in Jemgum
17th century to 1744
The Jewish settlement in Jemgum began at the beginning of the 17th century. The relative proximity to the oldest Jewish community in Emden probably contributed to the settlement. Jemgum itself was considered the capital of the Niederrheiderland and had an important port and market rights at the beginning of the 17th century and, since 1523, horizontal justice . In addition to a junk and flax market, there was a cattle market. For the first time a Jew residing in Jemgum is mentioned in the treasury register of the Leer office from 1604 in the person of Michael Joede. A continuous Jewish settlement does not seem to have existed until 1637, but for a long time it was only a single family whose head was Heimen or Haeyo de Juede. From 1671, according to the regal Jewish regal, there were two protected Jews with their families in the village. There were probably two other Jewish families living in the village, who were granted the general privilege of Count Georg Albrecht in 1708 .
At that time, the Jemgum Jews were presumably still part of the considerably larger Emden community. Like the Jews from Bunde , Weener , Jemgum and Stapelmoor, they shared the cemetery of the Emden community until 1670 . That year, the representatives of the Rheiderland Jews turned to Princess Christine Charlotte . They asked "to consent with grace that we may buy our endts in said ambte (empty place) about half or all of Diemat land at a fair price and use the same for a church in front of our dead"
The princess granted this request after just one day. She instructed her officials in Leerort to support the Jews in buying land and to ensure that they were not disadvantaged in the process. The Rheiderland Jews then bought a piece of land in Smarlingen between Weener and Holthusen and set up a cemetery there that was used for almost two centuries.
The Jemgum Jews lived in modest economic circumstances. In 1717 only one family owned their own house, the others lived in apartments and labor chambers of the Jemgum poor administration and probably also in apartments rented by private individuals. With a capital appraisal , only two Jews could be taxed in 1730.
By 1734, the small Jewish community in Jemgum had grown to six families, which means that the required number of ten male worshipers for a minyan was reached. The Jemgum Jews probably initially remained in close contact with the Emden community and then with the community in Weener. This is also supported by the fact that the Jews of the Emden office, to which Jemgum belonged, were not allowed to worship in public in 1735 , whereas the Weeneraner Jews in the neighboring office of Leerort were.
1744 to 1940
In 1744, after the Cirksena died out, East Frisia fell to Prussia and the new ruler, King Friedrich II , had a general table of East Frisian Jews drawn up. According to this, there were six Jewish families living in Jemgum at that time.
As the Cirksena had planned, the Prussians also wanted to reduce the proportion of Jews in East Frisia. Only four Jewish households were to be tolerated in the Emden office. However, this had no effect on the Jewish community in Jemgum, whose membership increased to eight families by 1757. After that, the number of Jewish families in Jemgum remained stable for a long time at mostly seven families.
It was during this time that an independent Jewish community was established in Jemgum. In 1757 a local rabbi is mentioned for the first time , and from 1779 a preacher is mentioned in the Jewish community. However, the services took place in a Jewish private house on Langen Strasse until the building of its own synagogue in 1809. There were no community-owned institutions at that time. The ritual baths were also in private households, which sometimes led to conflicts about their use.
The income structure of the Jemgum Jews can be read from various directories from the 18th century. Accordingly, the vast majority of them earned their living as butchers or in related professions, such as cattle trading. This can also be observed in the other East Frisian Jewish communities. The only unusual thing in Jemgum is that there was apparently at least one Jewish farmer. This can be seen from the “poor bill” of 1799, which Calmar Jacobs expressly mentions as the owner of pastureland. At the beginning of the 19th century this picture changed and the Jewish residents of Jemgum were now also active as merchants and from 1807 onwards, slaughtering seemed to have been carried out exclusively as a secondary trade.
1809, East Friesland now belonged to the Kingdom of Holland and thus to the French sphere of influence, the Jemgum Jews bought a house on Langen Strasse and one year later had a synagogue built in the garden of this house "with the help of the great Rothschild". Due to the small size of the Jemgum community and the weak economic power of its members, the building had to be auctioned a short time later, but was repurchased with outside help. In addition to the synagogue, the community also ran an elementary school with a teacher from 1846 , which was closed shortly afterwards, because in 1852 the twelve Jewish children attended the local school.
In 1848 the cemetery in Smarlingen was fully occupied and the Jews of Weener and Jemgum set up their own cemeteries. The community in Jemgum acquired a piece of land at Jemgumer Sieltief. This cemetery was in use until 1932. There are still 13 tombstones on the 1107 square meter area.
Nevertheless, the decline of the Jewish community in Jemgum continued. From 1858, regular services were no longer held in the synagogue because the required number of ten male worshipers for a minjan was no longer achieved. Around 1869 the synagogue was considered dilapidated, but was repaired at the instigation of the local Jews, as they did not want to join any other community. Even after that, church services only took place sporadically when the required number of male Jews was reached through Jews from abroad. In 1898 the state rabbi suggested that the Jemgum Jews join the community in Weener. The Jemgum Jews rejected this, however. Since 1917 at the latest, the Jemgum synagogue was no longer in use and local Jews went to Leer or Weener on major holidays to attend church services. The synagogue was repeatedly mentioned in reports up to 1930 as being in disrepair. Then the tradition about their condition ends.
At the beginning of 1933 only two Jewish families lived in the village. After the National Socialists came to power, they were exposed to attacks. Several cases are documented up to 1938. In connection with the Reichspogromnacht there were also attacks against the local Jews, a “catch-up”, as happened in the other Jewish communities, apparently did not occur in Jemgum. The synagogue, although still owned by the community, was in such bad condition that it was no longer a target. The building was later demolished and the property passed into private hands.
The six members of the Jewish Cohen family, who lived in Jemgum in September 1939, had to leave their hometown in February 1940 and were taken to Leer , only to be transported to Berlin a month later. There the traces of three family members are lost. Three more are considered lost in Auschwitz. West of Jemgum (towards Jemgumgaste / Bunderhee), the community's cemetery has been preserved. After 1945, the public prosecutor initiated an investigation against former members of the SA. However, the authorities stopped this as well as another procedure because of the destruction in the cemetery.
The Jewish community in Jemgum was always one of the smallest in East Frisia. In 1885 the peak was reached with 50 people.
- Jemgum Jewish cemetery
- Herbert Reyer: Jemgum. In: Herbert Obenaus (Ed.): Historical manual of the Jewish communities in Lower Saxony and Bremen . Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-89244-753-5 ; Pp. 903-907
- Gerhard Kronsweide: The Jewish community Jemgum 1604-1940. Living together in Emsflecken , Aurich 2016, Ostfriesische Familienkunde, contributions to genealogy and heraldry, published by the Upstalsboom Society for Historical Person Research and Population History in Ostfriesland eV, Issue 23, ISBN 978-3-934508-81-1
- The end of the Jews in East Frisia. Catalog for the exhibition of the East Frisian landscape on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht. Verlag Ostfriesische Landschaft, Aurich 1988, ISBN 3-925365-41-9
- Herbert Reyer: Jemgum. In: Herbert Obenaus (Ed.): Historical manual of the Jewish communities in Lower Saxony and Bremen . Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-89244-753-5 ; P. 903.
- Herbert Reyer: Jemgum. In: Herbert Obenaus (Ed.): Historical manual of the Jewish communities in Lower Saxony and Bremen . Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-89244-753-5 ; P. 904.
- Herbert Reyer, Martin Tielke (Ed.): Frisia Judaica. Contributions to the history of the Jews in East Frisia . Aurich 1988, ISBN 3-925365-40-0 , p. 83
- Herbert Reyer: Jemgum. In: Herbert Obenaus (Ed.): Historical manual of the Jewish communities in Lower Saxony and Bremen . Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-89244-753-5 ; P. 905.
- Selma Stern: The Prussian State and the Jews. III: The time of Friederich the Great , Tübingen 1971, pp. 1173–1177 f.
- Herbert Reyer, Martin Tielke (Ed.): Frisia Judaica. Contributions to the history of the Jews in East Frisia . Aurich 1988, ISBN 3-925365-40-0 , p. 88
- Harm Wiemann: From bygone days. Chronicle of the combined community of Bunde . Bunde 1983, p. 97
- Herbert Reyer: Jemgum. In: Herbert Obenaus (Ed.): Historical manual of the Jewish communities in Lower Saxony and Bremen . Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-89244-753-5 ; P. 906.
- Herbert Reyer: Jemgum. In: Herbert Obenaus (Ed.): Historical manual of the Jewish communities in Lower Saxony and Bremen . Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-89244-753-5 ; P. 907.
- Herbert Reyer: Jemgum. In: Herbert Obenaus (Ed.): Historical manual of the Jewish communities in Lower Saxony and Bremen . Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-89244-753-5 , p. 907.
- Herbert Reyer (edit.): The end of the Jews in East Friesland. Catalog for the exhibition of the East Frisian landscape on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht . Ostfriesische Landschaft, Aurich 1988. ISBN 3-925365-41-9 . P.56.