General information: First Jewish presence: 17th century; peak Jewish population: 120 in 1850; Jewish population in 1933: 75
Summary: The Jewish community of Vilbel (present-day Bad Vilbel) was founded in the 18th century. Prayer services were conducted in Bergen until 1813, when the Vilbel community inaugurated a synagogue, with a mikveh in its yard, on Judengasse (“Jews’ alley”). The Vilbel Jews hired their first teacher—he also served as chazzan and shochet—in, at the latest, 1816. We also know that in 1840, prior to which local Jews used the cemetery in Bergen, the community consecrated its own burial grounds between Gronauer Weg and the general cemetery. In May 1938, the windows in a Jewish-owned home were smashed. Many Jews subsequently left Vilbel, and the community was disbanded in the summer of 1938, around which time the synagogue was sold. On Pogrom Night, rioters destroyed the synagogue’s interior and furniture, burning (this was done outside) the Torah scrolls and ritual objects. The building, however, was spared, for it had been bought by non-Jews. Jewish homes and businesses were wrecked and looted, and Jewish men (all but the elderly) were sent to a concentration camp. Twenty-one Vilbel Jews managed to emigrate, but most of the others relocated within Germany. Eight were deported in September 1942: five to Theresienstadt and three to Poland. In February 1945, a local Jew married to a non-Jewish spouse was deported to Theresienstadt. At least eight Vilbel Jews perished in the Shoah. The cemetery was desecrated in 1953.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut
Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-HNF
Located in: hesse