First Jewish presence: unknown; peak Jewish population: 80 in 1880; Jewish population in 1933: 50

The Jewish community of Saalfeld (Zalewo in today’s Poland) began to develop after laws were passed bringing about Jewish emancipation in March 1812. In 1840, the community established a prayer room on Gefaengnisgasse; the room, financed by two Jews, Laserstein and Rosenbach, was converted into a proper synagogue in 1844. Saalfeld’s Jewish cemetery, located on present-day Uliçe Sienkiewicze (Sienkiewicze Street), was consecrated in the early 19th century. We also know that the town was, at one point, home to a Jewish school. In 1931/32, the leaders of the Jewish community were Dr. Ludwig Michaelis, Bernhard Abrahmsohn and Samuel Silbermann; the treasurer was Siegfried Lehmann. That same year, two Jewish children studied religion in Saalfeld. The synagogue (at 8 Kirchenstrasse) was put up for sale in May 1938. Later that year, on Pogrom Night, the building was burned down—members of the fire department were ordered to prevent the blaze from spreading to the surrounding buildings—after which the ruins were carted away. When the town’s remaining 16 Jews were arrested, Saalfeld was declared Judenrein (“cleansed of Jews”). At least 23 local Jews perished in the Shoah. At the cemetery, one can find several intact gravestones dating from 1860 to the early 20th century.
Esther Sarah Evans
Copyright: Pogrom Night 1938 - A Memorial to the Destroyed Synagogues of Germany/


Sources: The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, Shmuel Spector [Ed.], [publisher] Yad Vashem and the New York University Press, 2001., Führer durch die Jüdische Gemeindeverwaltung und Wohlfahrtspflege in Deutschland 1923-1933, Andreas Nachama, Simon Hermann [Eds.], [publisher] Edition Hentrich, 1995., International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies,, Lexikon der jüdischen Gemeinde in Deutschen Sprachraum, Klaus Dieter-Alicke, [publisher] Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2008., Yad Vashem’s Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names,,

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