The Jewish community in Wetzlar already existed in the High Middle Ages and was always just a small Kehillah . The Jewish Restitution Successor Organization (JRSO) described it in 1960 as "one of the oldest Jewish communities in southwest Germany".  The municipality was formed in August 1853, the Jewish community for the district Wetzlar .
→ See also: History of the City of Wetzlar
Already towards the end of the 12th century a Jewish population should have existed in the imperial city.  In a royal document dated July 9, 1277, Jewish residents of Wetzlar are first mentioned. In 1292 there is talk of a separate living area, the Jewish quarter , but there was no ghetto in the city. In 1344 a Judengaße and in 1348 the Judengasse and Pansmydengaße are mentioned. When the plague hit Wetzlar in 1348/1349 , the Jews in the city were held responsible for it. As in other cities, a plague pogrom ensued ; the Jews were persecuted and murdered. In the imperial city Jewish residents were not mentioned again until 1360.
Early modern times to modern history
In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Kornmarkt was the center of Jewish life, as the rooms were also located there. During the Thirty Years War , the number of Jews increased from 30 to 60 because many Jewish residents of the surrounding area sought refuge in Wetzlar. At the same time, the Jewish population became impoverished because the financial situation of the city meant that they were also not doing well economically. Presumably this is the reason for the decay of the synagogue. By the middle of the 18th century the number had increased to 100 Jews.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the community was initially assigned to the rabbinate in Frankfurt am Main . A little later she came to the rabbinate in Friedberg . In 1810, the Prince-Bishop of Mainz and Imperial Chancellor Karl Theodor von Dalberg granted the Wetzlar Jews complete equality, which, however, had to be bought. The Jewish oath was abolished in Wetzlar as early as 1828.  In 1836 there were 680 Jews in the community,  which was the highest number. In 1838 there was another change. Wetzlar was subordinated to the consistory in Bonn . SinceCongress of Vienna , the city was Prussian . The "Law on the Conditions of the Jews of July 23, 1847" established legal equality for the Jewish population with certain exceptions. In the Prussian constitutional charter of January 31, 1850 , the government placed Jews on an equal footing with all other citizens. The Jewish residents received final civil and economic equality.
"The enjoyment of civil and civic rights is independent of religious belief and participation in any religious community"
|≈ 1650||60 people|
|≈ 1750||100 people|
|1942 (June)||26 people|
|1942 (August)||10 people|
On August 1, 1853, the 30 Jewish meeting places in the Wetzlar district were combined into eight synagogue districts. They are subordinate to the synagogue community in Wetzlar. The result was a main congregation with several subsidiary congregations and their own rooms or synagogues. They were broken down as follows:
- Atzbach and Vetzberg
- Hörnsheim , Hochelheim , Oberkleen and Ebersgöns
- Münchholzhausen , Nauborn , Griedelbach , Kraftsolms , Kröffelbach and Bonbaden
- Braunfels , Burgsolms , Oberndorf , Niederbiel and Tiefenbach
- Biskirchen , Daubhausen , Edingen and Greifenstein
- Asslar , Werdorf , Kölschhausen , Ehringshausen and Katzenfurt
- Hohensolms , Erda and Altenkirchen
All members in the branch communities paid the “synagogue community tax” to the Wetzlar synagogue, even if they did not visit it. In the second half of the 19th century there were therefore many resignations, especially in 1876. 
On August 10, 1858, the community gave itself a synagogue order in which 16 rules governing synagogue visits. In the event of a violation, there was a risk of fines that benefited the community. The “Statute for the Synagogue Community of Wetzlar” regulated who represented the community externally and who was allowed to elect these representatives. The Upper President of the Rhine Province Adolph von Pommer Esche approved this statute in February 1859 in Koblenz .  In June of the same year a three-person "local board" was set up for each synagogue district. In the spring of 1860 the community renewed the statute and laid down 142 paragraphs how community life should run.
In order to carry out the ritual washing of the dead, a Chewra Kadischa ("Holy Brotherhood") was founded within the community in 1874 , which carried out the Tahara . Four years later, in 1878, the “Israelite Women's Association” was established to provide child and recreational welfare. There was also a local group of the bourgeois-liberal Central Association of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith . At the end of the 19th century a new hostility to Jews arose in the empire , which the Wetzlar Jews also felt.
Little is known between 1900 and the 1930s. The community was assigned to the Marburg Provincial Rabbinate in 1915. Around 1924 the three community leaders were Meier Rosenthal II, Nathan Rosenthal II and Gerson Thalberg. At the same time, the Jewish community in Freienfels became a branch of the Wetzlar synagogue community.
time of the nationalsocialism
After the National Socialists seized power in early 1933 , many members of the small community emigrated in the following years. The crimes against human rights under the Nuremberg Race Laws reached their preliminary zenith on September 15, 1935. The emigration destinations of Wetzlar Jews were proven to be North America, Palestine, France and South Africa. Jewish life came to a standstill, and all associations were dissolved by 1938.
During the Reichspogromnacht of November 9-10, 1938, Jewish shops were damaged, the interior of the synagogue was devastated and the Jewish men were taken into " protective custody ". It is not clear from the literature whether they were released a few days later or whether some were sent to the concentration camp. At least the community official Josef Gerstel was released again at the instigation of his daughter.  On November 24, 1938, Mayor Eugen Kindermann thanked the Sturmbannführer for his commitment. 
The Leitz industrialists from Wetzlar placed their Jewish employees all over the world. Ernst Leitz junior saved 41 Jews from being attacked by the National Socialists. His daughter Elsie Kühn-Leitz tried to help Wetzlar Jews to flee to Switzerland by organizing money, maps and a refuge in Munich for them . She was therefore arrested by the Gestapo in May 1942 and held for three months. [8th]
In 1939 the “full Jews”  were concentrated in several “ Jewish houses ” in the city. In March 1942 there were five of them in Wetzlar. Nevertheless, many Jews still lived in individual houses spread across the city. Of the 34 remaining Jews, 25 were crammed into a barrack in the Niedergirmes suburb in April 1942 , while the inventory of the apartments they had left behind was auctioned off. The so-called "Collective Camp Niedergirmes" at Jahnstrasse 3 was an additional stage of internment . The first deportation with 24 Jews from the Wetzlar train stationfrom took place on June 10, 1942. There were also 75 Jewish citizens from the district. These were exclusively “full Jews”. The train first took them to Frankfurt am Main and then to Lublin , where they were killed in the Majdanek and Sobibor camps .
The second transport with the remaining ten “full Jews” from Wetzlar and another 24 from the district was scheduled for August 28, 1942. This led via a stopover in Frankfurt to Theresienstadt . At least one Jew from Wetzlar was deported from there to the Treblinka extermination camp and murdered there. Emilie Stern is probably the only deportee from Wetzlar who survived her deportation. She was liberated from the Theresienstadt concentration camp by the Red Army on May 8, 1945. 
After all “full Jews” had been abducted, only nine Jews lived in the city “in a privileged mixed marriage with Aryans”, including a widow. Only in the Hesse-Nassau Gau were these Jews deported in 1943. They were deported individually, including to the Auschwitz concentration camp . At the end of the same year, Wetzlar was officially “ free of Jews ”. The remaining people, referred to by the National Socialists as Jewish mixed race , were degraded and disadvantaged in many ways.
Post-war and present
After the end of World War II , Hesse was assigned to the American zone of occupation . The Jewish Displaced Persons from Eastern Europe formed a new community in Wetzlar in the spring of 1945. The military government restored the synagogue in Pfannenstielsgasse for this purpose. In March 1949 the last refugees left for North America or Israel , which meant the end of the Jewish community in the small town. Only two Jewish citizens returned to Wetzlar. 
But the Jewish community is still having an impact today. In addition to several memorial stones and plaques, the artist Gunter Demnig laid six so-called stumbling blocks in the city on October 22, 2009 .  You are at the last residences in Krämerstrasse, Pfannenstielsgasse, Zuckergasse, Liebfrauenberg and Brodschirm, all in Wetzlar's old town .  On September 8, 2015, 19 more stumbling blocks followed. 
A synagogue was first mentioned on August 31, 1295. It was located in the Steingasse and Lahnstrasse area , today Hertebau . Presumably, the building had already fallen into disrepair in the first half of the 16th century. Since then, services have been held in rooms or prayer rooms. These were located in the apartments and houses of the Wetzlar Jews.
The community planned to build a new synagogue as early as 1734. However, the magistrate initially did not issue a building permit, which is why there was a dispute that lasted for years. Finally, in June 1753, the community took action before the Reich Chamber of Commerce , which pronounced the verdict in 1754 and granted permission. In the years 1755/1756 a two-storey house was converted at Pfannenstielsgasse 8 ( ). Due to its hall, the former dyer's house could be converted into a prayer room with a women's gallery . In addition, there was enough space in the house to set up the municipal administration and classrooms as well as a mikveh . The prayer room was designed for 50 men, the gallery for another 50 women. In 1930 it was renovated for 4,155.75 Reichsmarks. After the interior was destroyed during the Night of the Pogroms, but the synagogue was not set on fire, the community sold the property on February 21, 1939 for 2500 Reichsmarks to the Waldschmidt Brewery . The cult objects were brought to Frankfurt am Main on the night of the pogrom.  The brewery used the secular synagogue as a warehouse before French prisoners of war from 1940lived here. This situation changed at the end of the war, when the American military government rebuilt the building as a synagogue for the displaced persons, whereby the three-sided gallery was only designed for 23 women. It was inaugurated in September 1945. The half-timbered synagogue had a mansard roof and was covered with slate. The ceiling was vaulted and there was a rose windowon the east wall. After the Eastern European refugees had moved from Wetzlar in 1949, the brewery used the house again, as the Hessische Treuhandsverwaltung GmbH had claimed ownership in 1951, and the brewery had to pay another payment. This was 10,000 DM. Because of its dilapidation, the former synagogue was torn down in November 1958, and the brewery then built a brewhouse on the property.  
Mikveh and religious school
Presumably there has also been a mikveh in the city since the construction of the first synagogue , as the first synagogue was about four to five meters and the second church about two meters above the water table. There is evidence that in 1938 there was no longer any ritual bath in the basement of the synagogue, which was probably due to the moderately orthodox orientation of the Wetzlar Jews. 
A religious school was integrated into the construction of the new synagogue in 1755 and two classrooms were set up. The lessons were held in two classes and cost ten Reichsmarks per child per year. In the school year 1931/1932, nine children attended school. After all, the religion teacher was demonstrably Chasan (prayer leader) from 1878 onwards . In addition, he often taught the children at the religious schools in the synagogue districts. In a job advertisement from 1891, an annual salary of 1,050 marks is mentioned.
The few Jewish residents of Wetzlar were buried in Frankfurt for centuries. At the beginning of the 15th century, Frankfurt Jews no longer wanted to allow burials from other cities. Wetzlar is mentioned in 1482 and 1492. In the 17th century, the first Jewish cemetery was built on the site of a kennel built around 1400 .  He was outside the city walls next to the Silhöfer gate and included about 7.89 Ar.  The cemetery is a classic example of a Jewish city cemetery. By 1880, when the cemetery was closed, there were around 150 graves. Today 52 tombstones are still preserved, the oldest dating back to 1714. 
Thereupon the municipality opened a new cemetery ( Taharahaus built. The arrangement of the grave and tombstone has a special feature, since in Wetzlar the tombstone was placed behind the grave as early as the 19th century, as is customary in Christian cemeteries. The first burial can be proven on November 2, 1881.  A total of 115 Jews were buried here until 1940. This also included prisoners of war from the First World Warfrom Poland and Russia who died in the Wetzlar hospital. In addition, 45 displaced persons were buried in the post-war period . In 1969 six graves were exhumed in the Jewish cemetery in Atzbach and transferred to Wetzlar. ) on Wohlgrabenstrasse , today Bergstrasse , with the consent of the magistrate . It was inaugurated on June 16, 1881. On the 31.41 Ar large cemetery area a little was
There are two message boards at the entrance, one in Hebrew and one with a German translation. It is quoted from the prophet Isaiah:
"Let your dead come to life.
My corpses arise,
awake and rejoice.
You who rest in the dust"
In the two districts of Hermannstein and Münchholzhausen , which were only incorporated in 1979, there is still a Jewish cemetery today. They were established as typical country cemeteries towards the middle of the 19th century. After both were damaged during the Nazi era , 37 tombstones have been preserved in Hermannstein and 16 tombstones in Münchholzhausen. 
- ... then the stones have to talk! , P. 49
- The Jewish cemeteries in Wetzlar , Hartmut Heinemann, In: "Mitteilungen des Wetzlarer Geschichtsverein" 42nd volume, self-published, Wetzlar 2004
- Paul Arnsberg: The Jewish communities in Hessen. Second volume. Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt 1971, ISBN 3-7973-0213-4
- ... then the stones have to talk! , P. 29
- ... then the stones have to talk! , P. 35
- ... then the stones have to talk! , P. 63
- exil-club.de: History of the Jews in Wetzlar ( Memento from December 11, 2013 in the Internet Archive ).
- stern.de: Ernst Leitz II: The Leica Schindler ( Memento of the original from February 10, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed December 12, 2009
- This term was coined by the National Socialists in the course of the Nuremberg Race Laws and referred to citizens who had at least three Jewish grandparents.
- ... then the stones have to talk! , P. 65
- wetzlar.de: Stolpersteine in Wetzlar ( Memento of the original from May 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (Report), accessed December 12, 2009
- wetzlar.de: Stolpersteine in Wetzlar ( Memento of the original from June 6, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (Map), accessed December 12, 2009
- Press release of the city of Wetzlar: 19 more stumbling blocks laid in Wetzlar ( Memento of the original from July 7, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed July 7, 2016
- ... then the stones have to talk! , Pp. 26-29
- Thea Altaras: Synagogues in Hesse - What happened since 1945? Verlag Karl Robert Langewiesche, Königstein im Taunus 1988, ISBN 978-3-7845-7790-6 , p. 92.
- ... then the stones have to talk! , P. 95
- ... then the stones have to talk! , P. 51
- ... then the stones have to talk! , P. 97
- ... then the stones have to talk! , P. 40
- On the German table is wrongly “Cap. 20 "specified.
- Klaus-Dieter Alicke : Lexicon of the Jewish communities in the German-speaking area. Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gütersloh 2008, ISBN 3-57908035-0 .
- Karl Watz: History of the Jewish community in Wetzlar: from its beginnings to the middle of the 19th century (1200-1850). In: "Mitteilungen des Wetzlarer Geschichtsverein", Wetzlarer Geschichtsverein (ed.), Wetzlar 1988 (special edition)
- Karsten Porezag: ... then the stones have to talk! The Wetzlar synagogues, the mikveh and the Jewish cemeteries in recent times. Writings on city history - special edition, 1st edition, Magistrat der Stadt Wetzlar (Hrsg.), 2004, ISBN 3-9807950-2-0 .
- Karsten Porezag: When neighbors became Jews. The deportation and murder of the last Wetzlar Jews 1938–1943 / 45 , Writings on City History - Special Edition, Magistrat der Stadt Wetzlar (Ed.), 2006, ISBN 3-9807950-4-7 .
- Susanne Meinl: "You can have a ticket to Palestine ...". On the history of the Jewish community in Wetzlar from 1918 to its end . Wetzlar History Association (Ed.), Wetzlar 2010, ISBN 978-3-00-031126-0 .