General information: First Jewish presence: early 15th century; peak Jewish population: 226 in 1811 (20% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 35
Summary: The Jews of Wilhermsdorf established a cemetery in the 15th century and a synagogue during the 16th century, the latter of which was destroyed in the Thirty Years’ War. The town became famous for its Hebrew printing presses, which produced some 170 works during the 17th and 18th centuries. The community established a mikveh on an unspecified date; a new synagogue in 1727; a Jewish elementary school in 1823 (it closed in 1924); and a new synagogue, at 1 Hauptstrasse (then Langenzenner Strasse), in 1893. The cemetery was enlarged in 1865. Five Jewish children studied religion in Wilhermsdorf in 1933. In September 1938, during the Sudeten Crisis, youths wearing costumes broke into Jewish homes, destroyed the contents and abused the inhabitants, after which Wilhermsdorf ’s remaining Jews fled the town. The synagogue was sold in October 1938, and its ritual objects and Torah scrolls were transferred to Fuerth, from where the scrolls were smuggled abroad. The synagogue was damaged on Pogrom Night; furniture inside the building was destroyed, as were the ritual items in Fuerth. During the Nazi period, one Wilhermsdorf Jew emigrated, 23 relocated within Germany, nine left for unknown destinations and two died in Wilhermsdorf. Between 10 and 37 Wilhermsdorf Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue building was used for storage before being converted into a residence.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL, PK-BAV
Located in: bavaria