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History of the synagogue in Odenbach

Odenbach 01S-010k.jpg The synagogue was erected in 1752. The majority of its prayer room was used by the men while the women followed the procedure behind a permeable wall in the rear left of the room.

With the prospering religious community in the 19th century a separate gallery for the women was installed: A separate entrance was constructed and parts of the ceiling were removed in order to provide women and smaller children an adequate opportunity to follow the prayer.
 In 1938 during the “Reichspogromnacht” the interior of the synagogue was completely devastated while the building remained scarcely damaged, probably due to the fact that by a burning synagogue “non-jewish property” would have also been destroyed.

During the Second World War and the following years the decaying building was used as storage.
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In 1985 historian Bernhard Kukatzki discovered rare mural art paintings in the context of an inspection of the interior.Following an initiative of the protestant church community citizens of Odenbach and the vicinity founded a non-profit - association to save the synagogue and to restore the beautiful paintings. This gave birth to the “Förderverein ehemalige Synagoge Odenbach e.V.”

 

The building was purchased by the association shortly after. In the meantime the former synagogue had been declared a site of historical interest. 



By a great amount of public means the building was restored and the rare mural art paintings were able to be conserved.
Therefore the former synagogue is not only an art-work gemstone, but also a rare example of a synagogue in a rural area.  

 

Timetable

 

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1627 Church records list Jewish citizens in Odenbach for the first time.

1752 Construction of the synagogue – decoration with mural art of the school of Eliezer Sussmann.

1835 Reconstruction of the synagogue.

- construction of a separate women’s gallery

- redecoration of mural art paintings

1854 Jewish community reaches 139 citizens.

During the second half of the 19th century emigration and migration to cities result in a steady decrease of population.

1938 During Kristallnacht the interior is

completely devastated. The Jewish community

no longer exists.

In the following years the building is used as storage.

1986 The former synagogue is declared as a site of historical interest.

Since 2007 after final restauration many cultural events took place

2016 A memorial stele is erected remembering to the victims of the Holocaust in Odenbach. Their names are written on the plaque.