General information: First Jewish presence: 16th century; peak Jewish population: 33 in 1843; Jewish population in 1933: 23
Summary: By 1843, most Wallau Jews were traders (of cattle and agricultural products) and peddlers. The community maintained a synagogue, a mikveh and a school, the last of which was presided over by a teacher who also served as chazzan and shochet. The earliest record of a prayer room, established in a residential building on Enggasse, is from 1701 (the ritual slaughterhouse was located on the same premises). In 1885, the building was enlarged to accommodate a Jewish community center with a school and an apartment for the teacher; in 1920, the synagogue was renovated to provide seating for 40 men and 24 women. Wallau’s Jewish cemetery (on Langenhainer Strasse) was consecrated in 1738. Local Jews were not only active in the social life of the town, but also maintained a charitable organization and a Jewish women’s association. According to records, 23 Jews still lived in Wallau in 1933, many of whom subsequently left due to economic and political persecution. As a result, the synagogue was sold at some point in the 1930s. On Pogrom Night, SA men damaged the synagogue, after which they loaded its ritual objects onto the community’s hearse, then drove to a sports field and set their loot on fire. Later, in 1942, Wallau’s nine remaining Jews were deported to the camps. At least 11 local Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1967, the synagogue was pulled down and replaced by a residential building, Today, a plaque—it was affixed to the new building—and a memorial in the cemetery commemorate Wallau’s former Jewish community.
Photo: The synagogue of Wallau. Courtesy of: District Archive of Hofheim.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL
Located in: hesse