Towns and Cities throughout Germany

Should your travels lead you beyond the larger cities of Germany, you will continue to find a country rich in Jewish history and culture. In the small cities below, you will discover memorials, museums, synagogues and Jewish Community Centers worth stopping at.

There is archeological evidence of a Jewish presence in Trier in the 3rd and the 6th century. The oldest Jewish site is the Jews’ Lane, located just off the city’s main market. It is a short and narrow street of medieval houses that leads into the Main Jewish Square where the medieval community hall and synagogue stood. Today’s Karl-Marx-Haus Museum is perhaps Trier’s most visited site. Today’s Jewish community worship in the Synagogue, one of the most attractive built in post-war Germany.

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There is no Jewish community today in the historic city of Weimar. The Weimar Jewish Cemetery was restored in 1983. A few miles from the heart of Weimar lies one of the ugliest sites in German history, the concentration camp of Buchenwald, where some 56,000 victims of the Nazis died from 1937 to 1945. Buchenwald has become a major learning center for Germans young and old. The magnificently designed and curated Buchenwald Museum opened in the early 1990s and is a must for visitors.

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Jews have lived in Wiesbaden since the Middle Ages and today there is a flourishing Jewish community. The Altisraelitische Synagogue from 1890 was damaged on Kristallnacht, but was still usable in 1945 for the reestablished community. The new Wiesbaden Synagogue opened in 1967. The city’s Geschwister-Stock-Platz is named for two Wiesbaden Jewish children murdered at Sobibor. The Active Museum in the Spiegelgasse for German-Jewish History in Wiesbaden traces the city’s Jewish past and present.

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One of Europe’s loveliest synagogues is located in this tiny town, where Jews lived from 1680 until 1937. The original synagogue had to be torn down in the 18th century, but the Princes of Anhalt-Dessau compensated the community by building the community a new synagogue. The result was a synagogue modeled on Rome’s Temple of the Vestal Virgins. The interior was destroyed on Kristallnacht, and then used as an exhibition hall after the war. In 1988, it re-opened as the Wörlitz Synagogue Museum.

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Worms is home to some of the most glorious Jewish sites in Germany. The Jewish community flourished here from the 11th to the 14th centuries. There is no longer a Jewish community; the many Jewish sites are maintained by the municipality. Jews’ Lane is still configured as it was during the Middle Ages. Worms’ Jewish treasures lie just off the lane at Synagogenplatz. Southwest of Worms is Europe’s oldest Jewish Cemetery. Some 2,000 densely packed, hard sandstone tombstones can be found here.

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The first records of Jews in Wuppertal date from 1691. In 1930, some 3,000 Jews lived in Wuppertal. Both of the community’s synagogues were destroyed on Kristallnacht and the Jewish cemetery was vandalized. By May 1941, only 1,093 remained – and in subsequent months all were deported “to the east.” A community of 150 Jews was reinstated in 1945. Memorial tablets were mounted to recall the destroyed synagogues and the dead and deported, and the current Wuppertal Synagogue was opened in 2002.

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