EHEMALIGE SYNAGOGE ZELL

1849  District Administrator Alexander Moritz sells the upper floors of the domestics building of Zells castle for 300 Prussian thalers to the Jewish community Briedel – Zell. This includes in those days, Zell and the neighbouring villages of Zeller Hamm: Pünderich, Briedel, Merl, Bullay, Alf and Bad Bertrich. The community wants to set up a prayer room and must comply with a number of building regulations by the seller for the necessary reconstruction.
1920   The synagogue is now for the fifty faithful too small, a gallery for women is being built, as part of the renovation the Torah shrine is renewed and enlarged, so the two round windows east side are bricked up. A plaque commemorating the dead of the World War II is applied, electric lighting is being installed. The Menorah, the Tablets of the Law and the gable at the Jakobstraße are renewed, the walls are decorated by an ocher colored coat and the starsky is painted. The synagogue communtiy Essen donates benches.
1925   The community has 80 members, the family heads are merchants, watchmakers, draper, innkeepers, butchers, tailors and wine merchants by profession. Until about 1935, they practice their professions in undisturbed, the families live in peace.
1935  Chicanes are noticeable and the majority of Jews manages to emigrate, mainly in the USA, Palestine, South America, South Africa.
1938   In the Pogromnight of 8 to 9 November, the local police to higher instruction remove all valuable, thus precious metal cult objects, such as Eternal Light, Menorah, Torah shields, mezuzah, before a group of SA thugs lets „the indignant folkeswrath for the murder of Legation Council von Rath in Paris “ run wild. The remaining inventory as Thora shrine, Torah scroll and – curtains, benches, lamps and windows are demolished or stolen. Untouched remain the ornaments of sandstone as the warfallen plaque, the Menorah in the door frame outside and the legislative panels; also decorated with eight stars of David oak door remains intact. The reason for this is: One of Traben-Trarbach SA – racquets (in civil) is the son of the sculptor Wendthut, who created the stone carvings 18 years ago. „Dä Krom vunn mäinem Vadda gett net onngerehrt!“ So says a witness. According to the police report, the synagogue was not set on fire because of the castle in the same building. The life of the Jewish community Briedel- Zell ended after nearly 90 years on this November 10th.
1939  Butcher Gustav „Israel“ Harf, as the last remaining member of the community of the synagogue, must sell the building for 1000 – RM to the castle owner Bohn.
1940  Draper P. J. Piacenza rents the synagogue as a storage room, as well to protect the former house of God from further desecration. On the inside of the door he writes with chalk the word „kosher“.
The Nazis begin the deportation of the remaining Jews. They are collected in the ghettos of the larger cities (Trier, Koblenz, Cologne) and sent from there to the extermination camps in the East. By 1943, thirty-four men, women and children fall victims to the tyranny of the Nazi.
1995   The county Cochem – Zell invites the all over the world scattered living former Zeller Jews to a meetingweek. Eight follow this invitation.
1999  After the mayors of Zell, Döpgen and Bamberg, tried already in the 1980s / 90s to maintain the former synagogue, for the first time the Circle Of Friends forms. The still loose association of citizens will study ways to prevent persistentmisappropriate use of the room sustainably. First is directed an inquiry to the State Conservation Office, which immediately provides the former synagogue under its protection.

2000   Foundation of the association „Friendscircle Synagogue Zell“. The association takes over the responsibility for the synagogue and responds as contact for administrative and political interests.

2001   The association is given the former synagogue by the owners of the castle Zell, with the requirements to insure the room and pay the energy bills. As the owner the club can now request for renovation to the State Conservation Office, in the sense to not preserve the room in its current state, but rather to seek a restoration of the last intact state.
2002   End of the year begins the restoration. The club can save 20% of the estimated total budget by own power and fee waiver by the architect in charge. The remaining costs will be funded 60% by the Office for Protection of Monuments, 40% take over the town of Zell, the municipality and the district Cochem-Zell.
2003   The room is carefully being rebuild by photos and memories. It is deliberately decided not to wipe out all traces of the past, the word „kosher“ is also preserved as traces of vandalism in the masonry and the remains of the original wall decorations. The walls are plasterd again ocher yellow, the starsky hand painted. The Senheimer artist Christoph Anders designes and donates the Menorah. The former prayer room is opened to the public in a ceremony on October 25.
Since then cultural events enliven the historic building and keep the rememberance of Zell´s Jews.