Jewish graveyard

Plan of tombs (incomplete)
The Jewish graveyard on “Klosterkamp” (location more photographs) dates back to the mid 1700’s, over 100 years prior to the construction of the neighbouring railway line. The last burial took place in 1939. As a result of the desecration by the Nazi’s, it is not possible to determine the exact number of graves present. According to the Heidelberger Zentralarchiv zur Erforschung der Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland there are 74 gravestones. This information was provided following research undertaken by Klaus-Peter Schulz in 1968-69. In 1997 Klaus Beer documented 71 individual gravestones as well as 2 family tomb stones for 76 plots. In 2000, there were 2 missing gravestones (source: Beer). Other sources refer to 75 graves dating from between 1854 and 1935 (source: Obenaus).

History

In 1756 or 1757, Levi Hertz, the first Jew documented in official Scharmbeck records, purchased a 150 m² plot of land, an open field site, on the main road between Lintel and Penningbüttel, to be used as a Jewish cemetery. This was long before the local Jewish community was officially established in 1768. Adjacent land was purchased in 1847 and today the cemetery extends over an area of 1973 m². (source: Obenaus) There are no longer any visible graves on the original slope (The area shaded dark green on the map).

Jewish graveyard
Tombstone of Moritz Meibergen
During or immediately after the Kristallnacht pogrom of 9th/10th November 1938, the cemetery was severely desecrated; tombstones were overturned, damaged or destroyed and also partially removed. Siegmund Cohen was the last person to be buried in the devastated cemetery, on 23rd November 1939, following injuries sustained during the pogrom. As a result, no stone was ever erected over the grave and, to this day, its precise location is unknown.

In June 1946 the local authority forced previously active Nazi party members, in particular the local party branch manager and several of “his most temperamental colleagues”, to put the cemetery in order as far as possible. (Quelle: Murken) Wilhelm Aron, the only Jew to return to Osterholz-Scharmbeck, did his best to identify the graves. However, without doubt, it was not possible to repair all stones nor place all on the correct graves. Indeed, in 1966 when Fritz Cohen visited from Brazil, he was able to show, with the help of an original photo, that the gravestone of his aunt, Mimi Cohen, had been placed on the tomb of his grandmother, Elise Cohen. (source: Beer)

Today the graveyard belongs to the National Association of Jewish Communities of Lower Saxony and is a listed monument. Klaus-Peter Schulz, former Director of the Osterholz local history museum, has studied the cemetery for many years, drawn up plans, documented the German inscriptions, photographed the Hebrew text and has undertaken considerable additional research.

Further publications regarding the cemetery:

Thank you, Jonathan Strauss, for providing this translation of the german article Jüdischer Friedhof.

3 Antworten auf „Jewish graveyard“

  1. „Isaak ter Berg“ from Ritterhude was head of the Jewish Community Scharmbeck, when on May 14th 1936 he proposed a draft budget to the „Landrat“ (district administrator) with expenses of 403 Reichsmark. (source: Obenaus)

    In 2007, Ingrid Willing (maiden name ter Berg) talked to pupils in Ritterhude about the fate of her relatives. (source: Osterholzer Kreisblatt, found here)

    Hope that helps. Regards, JH

  2. Hello JH.

    I am an archivist in Buffalo, NY, and we ended up with a wimple for a member of the Meibergen family through the postwar program called Jewish Cultural Reconstruction. I have traced some of the family, and am putting on a small exhibit of all of these objects. I would like to include a photograph of Moritz Meibergen’s grave if possible. Would you be willing to allow this, and would you like to be acknowledged? Would you be able to send me a copy? Many thanks for consideration of request.

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