Leipzig has been home to Jews since the 12th century. In 1938, 11,000 Jews lived in Leipzig, the last of who, in mid-February 1945, despite the inevitability of Germany’s defeat, were deported to Theresienstadt.
The Brody Synagogue was saved from total destruction on Kristallnacht because of its proximity to “Aryan” homes: only the interior was ravaged. After an extensive restoration, the synagogue re-opened for services in May 1993 and is used by the new and growing Leipzig Jewish community that today numbers more than 4,000.
The Leipzig Jewish Community Center is where it has been since 1920; nearby is the former Jewish School, used as a Jewish deportation center from 1941 to 1943. In Leipzig’s Old Jewish Cemetery at Berliner Strasse is a memorial to the 120 Jewish Leipzigers killed in German uniform during World War I, a 1992 sculpture of a mourning woman by Raphael Chamizer, as well as the Concentration Camp Field, where urns containing the ashes of concentration camp victims are interred.
The Kristallnacht Memorial Tablet on Parthenstrasse recalls the Leipzig Jews arrested on November 9, 1938, interned in Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen and released in 1939 only on condition they would immediately emigrate. On Gottschedstrasse, a memorial tablet recalls the Great Leipzig Synagogue, destroyed on Kristallnacht.
The Ephraim Carlebach Foundation was founded in 1992 in memory of a former Leipzig rabbi to foster Jewish history and culture. The Torah Center of the Jewish Community of Leipzig is funded by the Lauder Foundation and offers classes, programs, Shabbat and holiday events and seminars.
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