Synagogue in the Jewish
convalescent home in Lehnitz
The synagogue in Lehnitz outside Berlin was one of the last German synagogues to be dedicated before the outbreak of the Second World War. Earlier, in summer 1934, a convalescent home had been opened at a festive ceremony in the small town on Lehnitz Lake. It soon became a popular conference site for a variety of Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Women’s League and the Reich Representation of Jews in Germany. In addition to recreational and educational activities for children and adults, Lehnitz offered a home economics course for girls. It attached great importance to community spirit and the observance of Jewish customs.
When a place of worship was needed, a room in the basement was converted into a synagogue. In the "Story of the Coal Cellar," Dr. Ernst Simon describes how this came about: "We first threw out the coal, then the junk, and finally the ladders. … We ordered a holy shrine, were given two Torah scrolls by the Berlin community, built a bimah, and purchased two magnificent chairs and some elegant benches for the interior. And now a new site has emerged for Jewish services."
The photo above shows a synagogue service attended primarily by young people. Frieda Glücksmann—second from the left in the last row—was the home’s director. In difficult times, she managed to make Lehnitz a place of refuge where Jews could assert their identity and culture in a hostile environment.
The Lehnitz convalescent home remained open until the pogrom night of November 9, 1938. The building, which still stands today, bears a memorial plaque recalling the destruction of the home and the expulsion of its residents.
Synagogue in the Jewish convalescent home in Lehnitz
Photographs on silver gelatin paper
Gift of Ernest J. Mann, born Ernst Glücksmann