General information: First Jewish presence: 1328; peak Jewish population: 86 in 1900; Jewish population in 1933: 62
Summary: Reinheim’s modern Jewish community, which was affiliated with the Orthodox rabbinate in Darmstadt, developed in the 18th century. Services were conducted in a prayer room until 1837, when the community built a synagogue—50 seats for men, 32 for women—at 12 Am Biet; the building also housed a mikveh and a school, the latter of which was presided over by teacher Josef Vorenberg from 1887 until 1936. Burials were conducted in Dieburg and, later, in Gross-Bieberau. By 1933, the Jews of Spachbruecken, Georgenhausen and Ueberau had been affiliated with the Rheinheim community. That year, Reinheim Jews still maintained a Jewish association, a sisterhood and a brotherhood. It was in 1933, however, that Jews began to leave Reinheim in considerable numbers; among them was Dr. Goldmann, who left for Frankfurt in 1933 and immigrated to the United States in 1939. In all, 15 local Jews immigrated to the United States, three to Palestine and two to France. The community, warned of impending violence, managed to save the synagogue’s Torah scrolls, which apparently ended up in Darmstadt. On Pogrom Night, SA men destroyed the synagogue’s interior and burned much of its contents in the street; Jewish homes and businesses were razed, and several Jews were severely beaten. According to an eyewitness, one man was hit so hard on the head that he bled profusely. At least 16 Reinheim Jews, eight from Georgenhausen and seven from Spachbruecken perished in the Shoah. In 1945, right before the liberation, inmates at Buchenwald hung the local SS officer who had been responsible for the outrages committed on Pogrom Night. The synagogue building, confiscated after the pogrom, was later used as a shed. A memorial plaque was unveiled there in 1986, and the building was restored in 1990.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans Sources: AJ, EJL
Located in: hesse