Encyclopaedia of Jewish Communities:
Germany volume 3

52°16' / 09°08'

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, page 359, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1992

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[Page 359]

Obernkirchen, Germany

A town, today in the state of Niedersachsen.

by Esther Hagar




Religious Affiliation by % in 1925


From the History of the Community

Records from 1664 show the names of five Jews residing in Obernkirchen, out of which one had not yet received a “letter of protection”. In 1744, four families of protected Jews resided in the town, and in 1776, three families.

In the 19th century the Jewish population grew, and in 1842 an elementary Jewish school was established, where the teacher Stern instructed for 20 years. In 1850 a cemetery was opened. In 1865 the Orthodox weekly “Der Israelit” praised the observant Jews of the town. In the years 1895-1925 the religion teacher Loewenstein fulfilled key positions in the community and served as cantor and shochet (kosher slaughterer).

In 1890 the regional anti-Semitic candidate for the Reichstag held an election gathering in Obernkirchen. When he started to defame the Jews, his speech was interrupted by “miners, glass manufacturers etc.,” and when a riot broke out, the Mayor dissolved the gathering.

After the First World War a branch of the “National Union of Jewish War Veterans” (Reichsband Juedischer Frontsoldaten), headed by Elias Lyon, opened in Obernkirchen. Also a men's association (20 members) and a women's association were active. On the eve of the Nazis rise to power, the community owned a synagogue (the date of the building is unknown), a cemetery, and a mikve (ritual bath), and kosher slaughter took place. Six children were taught by Goldener, the religion teacher and shochet (ritual slaughterer). Leopold Lyon served as head of the Community, and also headed the men's association. Jews from the villages Nienstadt and Vehlen were also part of the community.

Under Nazi regime at least six of the Jews of Obernkirchen perished: four in Auschwitz, one in Thresienstadt ,and one in Sobibor.

Today the municipality of Obernkirchen cares for the Jewish cemetery (1,641 square meters).

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