Jews have lived in Hannover since the 13th century. In 1930, as now, Hannover was home to one of the ten largest Jewish communities in Germany. Its first synagogue was constructed in 1703 in a backyard not visible to the general public.
In 1870, a grand new synagogue was established in close vicinity to the main churches of Hannover and became a symbol of self-confidence and recognition of the city’s Jews. The main synagogue and several others were destroyed in a rage of violence and attack on Kristallnacht. After the war, concentration camp survivors – including 66 native Hanoverians – returned to re-establish the Jewish community, including a Jewish school and community center. In 1963, a new synagogue was built and the Hannover Jewish community has grown to more than 5,000 members – and a panoply of institutions and communal services. During recent years, the community life has developed considerably, in particular in the areas of youth, culture, social and elderly work. The membership has increased to 5,000 and continues to grow.
A unique Hannover institution is the European Center for Jewish Music that maintains a significant research center and high school.