Jewish Heritage Europe

Heritage & Heritage Sites

GENERAL (NATIONAL & REGIONAL)

Alemannia Judaica

Extensive and detailed web site of an association dedicated to researching Jewish history and built heritage in southern Germany and neighboring territories. Links to hundreds of cemeteries, synagogue buildings, museums, mikvaot, etc, with photographs, maps, documents, and more. The site includes a comprehensive overview in English by Dr. Joachim Hahn: Tracking Jewish Heritage in the State of Baden-Württemberg. The web site even allows you to send digital postcards with images of Jewish heritage sites.

Jews in Mecklenburg

An extensive web site about Jewish history — and heritage sites — in the northern German region of Mecklenburg. It provides information on 44 synagogues (destroyed and still existing) and 58 Jewish cemeteries in 73 places that once had a Jewish community.

JEWISH CEMETERIES

Epidat: An Epigraphical Database and Archive of Jewish Cemeteries, Inscriptions and Tombstones

Online database of epitaphs and inscriptions from more than 130 Jewish cemeteries in Germany:  inventory, documentation, editing and presentation of epigraphic collections.

Jewish Cemeteries in Germany

Material from the Central Archives for Researching the History of Jewish in Germany — a database, arranged alphabetically and by state, with lists, addresses, literature, extensive bibliographies and other material and documentation on Jewish cemeteries in Germany.

 Jewish Cemeteries in Bavaria (German language site)

Alphabetical listing of sites, plus other resources and links. Much of this material is available in English on the International Jewish Cemetery Project page for Bavaria.

Jewish Cemeteries in Brandenburg

History and documentation project of the Jewish and Religion Studies Institute of Potsdam University that encompasses about two dozen Jewish cemeteries.

 Photographs of Jewish Cemeteries in Germany (Wikimedia Commons)

The site has lists of photos arranged by region and town.

SYNAGOGUES & MIKVAOT

German Synagogues Destroyed on Kristallnacht

A web site that serves as a memorial to the synagogues attacked on the Kristallnacht pogrom in November 1938. It includes “1400 histories of each community and its synagogue that had been attacked.” It does NOT include information on the approximated 600 “synagogues or prayer halls, defunct or operating, that were not damaged on Pogrom Night itself, unless they were attacked at an earlier or later date.”

Synagogues and Former Synagogues in much of Germany

Part of the Alemannia Judaica project — links to a wealth of material on hundreds of sites.

Synagogue Internet Archive

Information about more than 2200 German and Austrian synagogues, including photographs, drawings, documents: “With this archive we want to remember more than 2200 synagogues that were closed, desecrated or destroyed in Germany and Austria during the Nazi regime. At the same time, we want to inform the user about what happened to the buildings that remained standing after 1945 and to other former sites.” The site has many links, as well as a rich bibliography of both general publications and publications about individual synagogues. (NOTE: it is not clear if this archive is still online.)

 Synagogues in Germany, a Virtual Reconstruction

In this project, the  CAD Department in Architecture at the Technical University of Darmstadt has digitally reconstructed synagogues that were destroyed by the Nazis in 1938. The reconstructions, carried out under the direction of Prof. Manfred Koob and Dipl. Ing. Marc Grellert, record the cultural lost and, at the same time, call to mind the historical importance of the buildings, and also investigates how new forms of cultural remembrance can be developed with the help of information and communication technology.

Photographs of Synagogues in Germany (Wikimedia Commons)

Photos of dozens of synagogues and former synagogues, arranged alphabetically by state.

Peter Seidel’s photo gallery of historic Mikvaot

Seidel’s photographs include images of several medieval mikvaot in Germany

 

INDIVIDUAL SITES 

There is a vast amount of information on Jewish heritage in German available online. You can find links to many sites in the web resources listed above. Here below, we provide information on a number of places that have their own web sites or other online information, and also aggregate local links. Also please see the listings in the other sections of the Germany pages.

BERLIN

Jewish Community of Berlin web site

The web site of the established Jewish community in Berlin has detailed information on  eight synagogues and the city’s  four extant Jewish cemeteries

Jewish Berlin web site

A  tourism web site with detailed information aimed at visitors, including pages with the addresses of Berlin’s synagogues and other information, as well as longer articles about Jewish life and heritage in Berlin.

Weissensee Jewish Cemetery

Friedhof Weißensee
Herbert-Baum-Str. 45
13088 Berlin
Tel: +49 (0) 30  92 53 33 0
Fax: +49 (0) 30  92 37 62 96

Covering 42 hectares (nearly 100 acres), Weissensee, established in 1880, is believed to be the largest — in area — Jewish cemetery in Europe. It has 115,000 graves. A documentary film about the cemetery, In Heaven Underground, was released in 2011

New Synagogue (Centrum Judaicum)

berlin-newsynagogue-wm1Oranienburger Str 28/30
10117 Berlin

Museum and Archives in the restored part of the imposing New Synagogue on Oranienburger Strasse.

COLOGNE (KöLN)

Archaeological Zone/Jewish Museum Project

Since August 2007 excavations have been under way in the city’s Town Hall Square. This is where, in the Middle Ages, one of the largest and even then, oldest urban Jewish Quarters was located. A Jewish museum is under development here.

The excavations, covering 10,000 square meters, have revealed that the oldest synagogue north of the Alps known to date was located in Cologne. Recent findings indicate that it can be dated back to the first half of the 11th century. The synagogue is built on a classical structure from the fourth century. Also discovered was a mikvah also dating back to the first half of the 11th century. More than 250,000 artifacts and important inscriptions have been found during the dig.

ERFURT

Three synagogues: Old (c 1270, with foundations dating probably to the 11th century), Small (1840), and New (1952). Medieval Mikveh (discovered in 2007 and now open to the public). A museum opened in the Old Synagogue in 2009.

There is a Jewish cemetery dating from 1871 and still in use. Plus site of destroyed Old Cemetery. Also, several dozen preserved gravestones from the medieval Jewish cemetery, which had been used as building material after the cemetery was  razed following the expulsion of Jews in 1458, are preserved and displayed at the Old Synagogue.

The web site of the Jewish Life in Erfurt Network provides extensive information on all these sites. Jewish Life in Erfurt contact:

Landeshauptstadt Erfurt
An der Stadtmünze 4/5
D-99084 Erfurt

Tel: +49 (0) 361 655 1666
Fax: +49 (0) 361 655 55 7221
Email: altesynagoge@erfurt.de

The Alte Synagoge of Erfurt: From Community Centre to Museum and Vice Versa

Click to watch presentation by Anselm Hartinger or the Erfurt History Museums, at the conference Jewish Heritage Tourism in the Digital Age, October 23, 2017

ESSEN

The imposing domed synagogue, built in built in 1911-1913, was one of the few major building standing in downtown Essen after WW2. Long used after the war as a technology museum, it is now a House of Jewish Culture with a permanent exhibition and events.

Alte Synagoge Essen – Haus jüdischer Kultur (House of Jewish Culture)

Edmund-Körner Platz 1
D- 45127 Essen
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 6 pm
Audioguide in English and German available
Email: alte-synagoge@essen.de
Tel. +49 201 88 45 218

FRANKFURT/MAIN

An active Jewish community; Jewish cemeteries; synagogues; memorials.

A Virtual Tour of Jewish Frankfurt (juedisches-frankfurt.de)

Comprehensive site that encompasses the Jewish community and main Jewish heritage sites, including Jewish cemeteries, museums, monuments, educational institutions and private buildings

Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum Frankfurt comprises two parts: the main building at the Rothschildpalais and the Judengasse museum. The Rothschildpalais is currently closed for the total reorganization and redesign of the exhibition and will reopen in 2019. The Judengasse branch is open.

Judengasse Museum

Frankfurt’s Jews were forced to live for over 400 years in the city’s’ s Judengasse, with a population of about 3,000 in the 16th century. The street was torn down during urban renewal in the later 19th century, and a big, new synagogue opened in 1882 in the new Börneplatz. The synagogue was destroyed on Kristallnacht and the area left derelict after World War II. In the 1980s, archaeological remains were uncovered during the construction work for a municipal utilities center. After widespread, heated debate, some of the remains were preserved as a museum. Of the original 195 houses, 19 foundations were found – today five of them can be seen at Museum Judengasse, an annex of the Frankfurt Jewish Museum, and are used to present everyday life, living conditions and religious customs. The museum includes the foundation walls of the five houses, two ritual baths, two wells and a canal. The Judengasse web site offers further information including a brief history of the former Jewish Ghetto, the Judengasse, its inhabitants, the houses, and life in the ghetto down through the centuries.

The site of the Börneplatz synagogue is a Holocaust memorial.

FRANKFURT/ODER (AND SŁUBICE, POLAND)

The town straddles the Oder River that forms the border between Germany and Poland, with the German part called Frankfurt and the Polish part called Słubice. Most Jewish sites are in the German side, though the Jewish cemetery is in Poland. (A similar situation exists in Gorizia/Nova Gorica, on the border between Italy and Slovenia.)

A Virtual City Walk though Frankfurt/Oder and Słubice, Poland

A project of the Institute for Applied History e.V. at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder as part of its program “Youth for diversity, tolerance and democracy – against right-wing extremism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism.” The online guide includes a map and lists of sites. Audio guide headphones are available at the local Tourist Office, and there is also a downloadable guide in MP3 format. The online guide shows a variety of Jewish heritage sites and also maps the location of the “Stumbling Stones” monuments that mark the houses where Jews who were killed in the Holocaust once lived.

Jewish Frankfurt/Oder web site and guide

HAMBURG

Jewish Hamburg (Das Jüdische Hamburg)

A vast and comprehensive web site with articles, photos, links and more on the 400-year Jewish presence in Hamburg and area. A project of Hamburg’s Institute for the History of German Jews.

Jewish Cemetery in Altona

Eduard Duckesz House (Reception and information center)
Königstraße 10a

The oldest Jewish cemetery in Hamburg and the oldest Portuguese-Sephardic Jewish cemetery in northern Europe, protected as a historic monument since 1960. Between 1611 and the 1870s, there were some 9,000 burials, here, 2,000 in the Portuguese-Jewish section and 7,000 in the German-Jewish Ashkenazic part of the grounds. There are more than 6,000 German and 1,600 Portuguese  fully or partially preserved gravestones. The Sephardic gravestones in particular are noted for their elaborated carved decoration. The web site includes a wealth of information as well as links to databases, pictures, inscriptions.

Downloadable PDF Brochure on the Cemetery

Downloadable articles (in English and German) about the Cemetery and also about Sephardic gravestone art, iconography and imagery

Jewish Cemetery in Ohlsdorf

The Jewish section in the vast Ohlsdorf cemetery was opened in 1883. It comprises some 11 hectares and includes about 18,000 graves. There is a large memorial to German Jewish soldiers killed in World War I.

HüRBEN/KRUMBACH 

Jewish Cemetery

Detailed illustrated lecture, viewable online, about this cemetery

MONDORF AM RHEIN

Jewish Cemetery

Web page with aerial view, map, photographs and other detailed information about this cemetery.

SOLINGEN

Jewish Cemetery

Web site with extensive information on the cemetery, located on Esterweg, which was founded probably in the early 18th century and whose oldest surviving gravestone dates from 1820 — it is that of Sprinz, daughter of Jizchak Halevi. The last burial took place in April 1941.

Since 1987 the cemetery has been maintained by a school, the Alexander-Coppel-Gesamtschule (former name: Solingen Comprehensive School). A school project group takes care of the gravesites and the cemetery area at Estherweg. To date, more than 300 students have dealt with the history and the culture of the former Jewish community.

NOTE: There is no public access to the cemetery. Michael Sandmöller, leader of the project group ‚Jewish cemetery‘ at the Alexander-Coppel-School, usually offers guided tours to the cemetery twice a year. (Check the web site for dates.)

Genealogical database of people buried in the cemetery

WORMS

In the Middle Ages, the German towns of Worms, Speyer, and Mainz were known collectively as “Shum” — an anagram of their initials. Their rabbis were a central authority in Jewish religious, liturgical and legal issues, whose teachings remain influential today. Worms has a rebuilt medieval synagogue; a Jewish museum, and the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in Europe.

Synagogue

Synagogenplatz, 67547 Worms, Germany
Tel: +49 6241 8534700

Originally built in 1034, it was was replaced by a new synagogue in 1174/75. A women’s synagogue was added to the structure in 1212/13. The synagogue was remodeled and rebuilt several times over the centuries. It was destroyed by the Nazis and totally rebuilt in the 1950s, rededicated in 1961. Today is can be visited (along with the neighboring Jewish Museum) and is also used by the small Jewish community.

Next to the synagogue there is a centuries-old mikveh.

Jewish Cemetery “Holy Sands”

Willy-Brandt-Ring 21
67547 Worms

The oldest extant Jewish cemetery in Europe, it has around 2500 grave markers. The older, lower part of  includes some 1,300 headstones, with the oldest gravestones dating from 1058/59.  The upper section, used for burials from 1689 onwards, includes around 1,200 gravestones.

Epidat documentation database section on the Worms Jewish cemetery, with history, inscriptions, map, and other digital resources.

City web site with historic and architectural information on the synagogue and mikveh

Shum Cities on the Rhine Association

An association aimed at promoting the history and heritage of the Shum cities.