“Nieder-Olm”
Encyclopaedia of Jewish Communities:
Germany volume 3
(Germany)

49°54' / 08°12'

Translation from Pinkas ha-kehilot Germanyah

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1992


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This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopaedia of Jewish Communities, Germany
Volume 3, pages 265-266, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1992


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[Page 265]

Nieder-Olm, Germany

A town in the region of Mainz-Bingen, today in the state of Rheinland-Pfalz.

Donated by David Zinner
Translated by Jerrold Landau

 

Population

YearPopulationJews%
1807 2 families 
1828 16 people 
18611,440372.6
18801,671643.8
19001,766321.8
19102,027231.4
19252,122190.9
19332,225231.0
19392,22520.1

Religious affiliation by percentage in 1933

JewsCatholicsProtestantsOthers
1.083.115.70.2

History of the Community

In 1236, Yosef ben Moshe, a resident of Olmin or Ulmen, in the estate of the Archbishop of Mainz, is mentioned. He was a scribe, and a Torah scroll written by him is preserved to this day in a library in Milan.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Jews of Nieder-Olm and several nearby settlements belonged to the community of Hanheim (see entry). An independent community was established in Nieder-Olm in the middle of that century, to which the Jews of Stadecken belonged, even though they worshiped in their own house of worship. A synagogue was built in Nieder-Olm in 1858. The community also had a cemetery, and employed a rabbi and cantor until the beginning of the 20th century. An independent community arose in Stadecken in the latter half of the 19th century, and in 1881, a small synagogue was dedicated which conducted services on the High Holydays and perhaps on other festivals. However, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Jews of this village rejoined the community of Nieder-Olm, which was subordinate to the rabbinate of Mainz (see entry). Until 1931 the head of the community was Otto Baum. He immigrated to the United States in that year. In 1933, seven Jews of Stadecken, seven Jews of Harxheim, two Jews of Sorgenloch, and the Jews of Gau-Bischofsheim belonged to the community. Kosher slaughter took place locally.

In 1881, an entire family fell victim to a gang of anti-Semites, who created difficulties on the streets and shouted out “Hep-Hep!”[1] to a Jewish merchant. They conducted a parade with anti-Semitic masks accompanied by a guillotine and placards of hatred. They stopped at Jewish houses along the way and put on violent performances. Several Jews left Nieder-Olm after these disturbances. Five residents were brought to trial. During the court proceedings, the local government representative presented testimony and stated that anti-Semitism in Nieder-Olm, Stadecken and several other settlements of the region reached such proportions that warrant police protection for the Jews. In 1892, the anti-Semitic leader Dr. Bekel lectured in Nieder-Olm before an audience of 1,000 farmers, and demanded that the Jews be expelled from the place. Anti-Semitic material was disseminated in the town, and leaflets were found among the school students with the 'prayer': “May it be the will of God to drown all the Jews in the Red Sea, as happened to Egypt.” In November of that year, the youth broke into the synagogue, heaped up the Torah scrolls and holy objects in the middle, and set them on fire. The guilty people were not caught.

In the 20th century, the Jews of Nieder-Olm were active in social and communal life in their town, especially in the bicycle clubs and the carnival hall. Max Maier, formerly a soldier in the infantry division, appeared at all local festivals riding on his horse. He was the first to ride to great the archbishop when he visited the town. The Jews of Nieder-Olm and Stadecken earned their livelihood from the cattle trade, agricultural commerce, smoking provisions, antiques, textiles, hides, and gallenteria. Three Jews were butchers. One of them also maintained an agricultural farm and worked in the cattle trade. His comrade also worked in the wine trade.

The Nazis received 8.9% of the vote to the Reichstag on September 14, 1930 (compared to 18.5% throughout Hessen). On July 31, 1932 this rose to 23.6% (compared to 43.1% throughout Hessen). The Catholic Centrum Party, the largest in Nieder-Olm, received half of the votes and maintained its power.

The last communal leader was Otto Maier. The community was disbanded in July 1936. Apparently, the synagogue was sold. By the autumn of 1938, one Jewish family and one individual Jew immigrated to the United States, one woman immigrated to South Africa, and three Jews moved to various places in Germany.

On November 10, 1938[2], four Jewish homes and two Jewish stores were destroyed. The financial damage was estimated at 11,000 Marks.

After Kristallnacht, four additional families moved to other cities in Germany. At least one Jew later moved to England. Two Jews still remained by May, 1939. Otto Maier and his family were among the Jews who perished in the camps. They were deported from Mainz toTheresienstadt.

Translator's Footnotes

  1. A medieval anti-Semitic chant. Return
  2. The day after Kristallnacht. Return

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