General information: First Jewish presence: 18th century; peak Jewish population: 260 in 1871; Jewish population in 1933: 109-115
Summary: Most Reichelsheim Jews were cattle and horse traders, butchers, peddlers or merchants. The Jewish community maintained a synagogue, a mikveh and, after 1828, a school; in 1850, the Jewish school—the teacher also served as chazzan and shochet—merged with the local public school. Reichelsheim’s synagogue, built on Darmstaedter Strasse in 1817, was renovated in 1904 to accommodate 100 seats. We also know that the community consecrated a cemetery on An der Ruth in 1857; that burial ground was enlarged in 1875 and again in 1920, and was desecrated in 1931. According to records, local Jews operated a sick fund, a charity and a women’s organization. In 1933, between 109 and 115 Jews lived in Reichelsheim (over 5% of the total population). At least 49 later immigrated to the United States, as did six to England. On Pogrom Night, members of the SA and SS, accompanied by local residents, destroyed the synagogue’s interior, plundered Jewish homes and assaulted Jewish residents. The synagogue was sold to the town in 1939, after which the building was torn down and replaced by an office building. In 1942, 16 local Jews were deported to the camps. Later, on an unspecified date, the remaining Jews were deported from an old-age home in Darmstadt. At least 73 Jews from Reichelsheim perished in the Shoah. The Jewish cemetery contains a memorial plaque.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL
Located in: hesse