General information: First Jewish presence: 13th century; peak Jewish population: 120 in 1905; Jewish population in 1933: 80
Summary: Schmalkalden was home to a Jewish community during the Middle Ages. In 1622, a synagogue was built at 35 Judengasse (“Jews’ alley”); having been destroyed in a fire in 1717, it was rebuilt in 1718 and renovated in 1875 and again in 1929/30. The community maintained two cemeteries— one next to Stiller Tor (consecrated in the early 1700s), the other at Am Eichental (1895)—and a school and mikveh at 3 Naeherstiller Strasse. Eighty Jews lived in Schmalkalden in 1933. A Jewish relief fund (founded in 1926) conducted charity work, and a teacher from nearby Themar instructed seven schoolchildren in religion. Local Jews were arrested on Pogrom Night, the same night on which SA and SS men set fire to the synagogue, burned its ritual objects and vandalized Jewish homes and stores. Later, members of the SS blew up the synagogue’s ruins. Most local Jews managed to emigrate from Germany. The remaining Jews were deported during the years 1942 to 1944. At least 44 local Jews died in the Shoah. In 1988, a plaque was affixed to the apartment building that was built on the former synagogue site. The building was torn down in 2010.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn
Sources: AJ, DJKT, EJL, FJG
Located in: thuringia