Templin – Brandenburg (English)

Location: Brandenburg
About this community: Jewish presence in Templin was first documented in 1309. For the ensuing centuries, there is scarcely evidence of Jewish life in the town. More is known to us about Templin's modern Jewish community. In the 1860s, Templin’s few Jewish families established a synagogue in a half-timbered house, located in the courtyard of the plot at 9 Berliner Strasse. Previously, prayer services had taken place in a prayer room in the house of the businessman Wolff.
In 1880/90, Templin's Jewish population reached its peak at approximately 30 Jews. Since their number constantly dwindled, the communities of Templin, Lychen and Zehdenick united at the end of 19th century. Each town had a Jewish cemetery: Templin on Poetensteig (opened in the 18th century), Zehdenick on Templiner Weg (opened approx. 1765) and Lychen on Clara-Zetkin-Strasse (opening date unknown). The last funeral at Templin's Jewish burial ground took place in 1922.
Prayer services continued in Templin until the 1920s. However, due to the upheavals of World War I and the following economic depression, the synagogue was closed down and the building rented to an Adventist congregation in 1928. By that time, many Templin Jews had already left the town, mainly for nearby Berlin. It is not known to us how many Jews remained in Templin in 1933 and if there were Jewish schoolchildren to receive religious instruction. However, we do know that several small neighboring towns such as Beutel, Lychen and Zehdenick were still affiliated with Templin's Jewish community that year.
On Pogrom Night in November 1938, SA men vandalized the former synagogue and burnt it down despite the fact that the building was no longer used by the Jewish community. The cemetery's gravestones were broken into pieces. In 1939 the cemetery was closed by police order. An unknown number of Templin Jews managed to emigrate to America and Israel. Franziska Koeppen, married to Emil Koeppen and daughter of Helene and Alexander Pinkus, remained in Templin and was deported to Theresienstadt in January 1944. She survived the Shoah and returned to Templin after the end of World War II.
A memorial stone erected on the leveled burial place in 1988 commemorates Templin's former Jewish community. A restoration of the Jewish cemetery was successfully concluded in 2011.
Sources: Brocke, Michael, Stein und Name. Die jüdischen Friedhöfe in Ostdeutschland (Neue Bundesländer/DDR und Berlin), Berlin 1994 Synagogue Memorial "Beit Ashkenaz": Pogrom Night 1938: A Memorial to the Destroyed Synagogues of Germany, Jerusalem, 2013
Spector, Shmuel (ed.): The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, Yad Vashem and New York University Press, 2001 (article on Zehdenick)
Zentralwohlfahrtsstelle der Deutschen Juden (ed.): Führer durch die Jüdische Gemeindeverwaltung und Wohlfahrtspflege in Deutschland 1923-1933 [1933/34]
Online sources: http://www.alemannia-judaica.de/templin_friedhof.htm
Located in: Brandenburg