Rehna – Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (English)

Location: Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
About this community: Documents showing Jewish presence in the craftsmen's town of Rehna date back to the 18th and early 19th centuries. We know that Jewish traveling salesmen stayed in Rehna in 1730. In 1734, Duke Charles Leopold received a Jewish family named Hinrichsen at his court. The first protected Jews, two Jewish families, settled in Rehna in 1744. A 1756 law allowed Jewish peddlers only to trade what they could carry on their backs. Despite this restriction, the Jewish population grew to more than 30 Jews in 1804. Among the Jews who moved to Rehna in 1804 were eight peddlers, two traders with a shop, a watchmaker and a rabbi. In 1813, Jakob Hirschmann applied to take the citizen's oath to gain more rights, including permission for his son to study law. But only four years later, Jews were deprived of their citizenship. Lewis Jacob, a lawyer, a member of the Mecklenburg parliament in 1848 and an honorary citizen of Schwerin, was born in Rehna in 1809. He died in Manchester, England in 1881.
Rehna's Jewish population reached its peak at 99 in 1818 (5% of the total population). The Jewish community of Rehna developed into one of the largest communities in West Mecklenburg in the 19th century. Around 1830, a synagogue was built on Krugstrasse. The community operated a school and a cemetery on Langer Jammer (later renamed: Neuer Steinweg), which had already been consecrated in 1799. On November 9, 1894, Mrs. Itzig, who passed away at the age of 88, was laid to rest there. The Jews of Grevesmuehlen and Gadebusch also buried their dead in Rehna; both towns were affiliated with Rehna's Jewish community. In 1877, Grevesmuehlen Jews were permitted to establish their own cemetery on Vielbecker Weg.
Due to migration and the aging of the Jewish population, by the 1880s the Jewish community could no longer afford the maintenance of the synagogue and paying a teacher. Around 1880/1885 the building was sold to the highest bidder. Prior to the sale, the ritual had been 'buried' in the cemetery. In 1883 the community was dissolved. Only two Jewish families remained in Rehna.
Not much is known about the fate of Rehna Jews during the Nazi era. The Jewish cemetery, the only remaining evidence of Jewish life in the town, was leveled to the ground. Its tombstones were used as stairs and thresholds, particularly for the front of a restaurant in the marketplace.
Online sources: http://www.alemannia-judaica.de/mecklenburg_vorpommern_friedhoefe.htm#Grevesm%C3%BChlen%20%28NWM%29
http://www.alemannia-judaica.de/mecklenburg_vorpommern_friedhoefe.htm#Rehna
http://www.jüdische-gemeinden.de/index.php/gemeinden/p-r/1634-rehna-mecklenburg-vorpommern
http://www.rehna.de/index.phtml?showarchivdata-722&Instanz=1948&Datensatz=210
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Jacob_Marcus
http://db.yadvashem.org/names/nameResults.html?place=Rehna&placeType=THESAURUS&language=en