General information: First Jewish presence: 1298 (see below); peak Jewish population: 103 in 1880; Jewish population in 1933: 53
Summary: Although we do not know when Jews first settled in Ziegenhain, records do tell us that they were persecuted there in 1298 and during the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49. It was not until the 17th century that a considerable Jewish presence was established in Ziegenhain. The community, which belonged to the provincial rabbinate in Marburg, conducted services in prayer rooms until 1853, when a synagogue and mikveh were inaugurated on Obergasse (present-day 28 Kasseler Strasse); construction plans had been drawn up in 1840, but it was not until 1852 that the synagogue was built. A school for religious studies was established in the synagogue in 1870, and we also know that the community maintained a cemetery in Niedergrenzebach and, until 1927, a Jewish elementary school. Fifty-three Jews lived in Ziegenhain in 1933, soon after which most of them left town. On Pogrom Night (November 1938), the interior of the synagogue was vandalized and plundered; one of the three Torah scrolls was later found by a local minister (he would eventually give the scroll to a Jewish displaced person after the war). Ziegenhain’s two remaining Jewish families were abused on Pogrom Night. In 1939, the remaining Jews left Ziegenhain: four immigrated to the United States, three moved to the Netherlands and one to Portugal. Approximately 32 local Jews perished in the Shoah.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL
Located in: hesse