Bad Ems

General information: First Jewish presence: 1618 (one family); peak Jewish population: 189 in 1900; Jewish population in 1933: approximately 100
Summary: The Jewish community of Bad Ems conducted services in a prayer hall until 1837, when the Rothschild bank in Frankfurt financed the construction of a synagogue on present-day 65 Roemerstrasse (enlarged in 1887). A district rabbinate moved to Bad Ems in 1850, and we also know that the community’s cemetery was enlarged in the late 19th century. In 1933, Dr. Friedrich Eliyahu Laupheimer was rabbi (he emigrated in 1939). Five schoolchildren received religious instruction from a teacher who also served as chazzan and shochet, and the community ran a chevra kadisha, a women’s association and several welfare institutions. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s interior was destroyed. At the Jewish old-age home, elderly Jews were locked in the cellar (some were wounded) as rioters destroyed furniture and medical equipment. The town’s only remaining Jewish hotel was vandalized, as were Jewish-owned businesses and homes. Eight Jews were sent to Dachau. Later, in March 1939, the municipality appropriated the synagogue. In total, 19 Bad Ems Jews emigrated, 43 relocated within Germany, one died in Bad Ems, one committed suicide and eight were deported to Minsk in November 1941. At least 55 Bad Ems Jews perished in the Shoah. Sold to a private buyer in 1953, the synagogue was later demolished, after which a residential building was built on the site. Memorials have been unveiled at the former old-age home and at the cemetery.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut; Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-HNF