General information: First Jewish presence: 1609; peak Jewish population: 123 in 1900; Jewish population in 1933: 69
Summary: The Jews of Viernheim conducted services in prayer rooms (located in private residences) until 1827, when the community inaugurated a synagogue at 5 Huegelstrasse (renovated in 1927). The community maintained a mikveh (renovated in 1833 and again in 1897) and a school for religious studies, whose teacher also functioned as chazzan and shochet. Burials were conducted in Hemsbach. In 1933, a women’s association and two welfare societies were active in the community. Later, on Pogrom Night (November 1938), SA and SS men set fire to the synagogue building, destroying its interior, the Torah scrolls and the teacher’s apartment. Eight Jewish-owned businesses, Viernheim’s last, and Jewish homes were ransacked that night, with many local residents, including children, participating in the looting. The synagogue ruins were later demolished. Three Jewish babies were born in Viernheim after 1933. Twenty-eight local Jews emigrated, 18 relocated within Germany, eight died in Viernheim and one in the Oranienburg concentration camp. Twelve local Jews were deported to Poland in March 1942, and four to Theresienstadt in September 1942. At least 40 Viernheim Jews perished in the Shoah. A monument was later erected opposite the former synagogue site, now a parking lot.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-HNF
Located in: hesse