Bad Kissingen

General information: First Jewish presence: 1298; peak Jewish population: 504 in 1925; Jewish population in 1933: 344
Summary: The earliest available record of a Jewish presence in Bad Kissingen refers to the anti-Jewish Rindfleisch massacres of 1298. Bad Kissingen’s Jewish community peaked in 1925 at 504 persons, the majority of whom worked in the tourism industry generated by the town’s mineral spa. The community, home to a district rabbinate after 1839, employed its own rabbi. Local Jews established their first synagogue in 1705; a cemetery in 1801; a second synagogue, at 1 Promenadenstrasse (later renamed Max-Strasse) in 1902; and a medical clinic for Jewish children in 1905. The community employed a teacher who also performed the duties of chazzan, shochet and synagogue caretaker. Dr. Max Ephraim was district rabbi in 1933. That year, several Jewish associations and branches of nationwide organizations were active in the community. Although Jewish-owned businesses were regularly attacked during the Nazi period, 15 Jewish boarding houses were still taking in lodgers in 1935. The cemetery was desecrated in May 1936. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue was set on fire; Torah scrolls and ritual objects were confiscated; Jewish homes, stores and health facilities were heavily damaged; sixteen Jewish businesses were destroyed; and all Jewish men under the age of 70 were deported to Dachau. In total, 121 Bad Kissingen Jews emigrated, 143 relocated within Germany and 34 died in the town. Of the 43 Jews who still lived in Bad Kissingen in 1942, 23 were deported to Izbica (via Wuerzburg) in April; the others were later deported to Theresienstadt. At least 59 local Jews perished in the Shoah. After the war, many Jews lived in a displaced persons camp in Bad Kissingen (closed in 1948). A new prayer hall for Jewish spa guests was opened in 1956 and renovated in 1996. In 2002, a memorial was unveiled at the former synagogue site. The cemetery was desecrated in 1994.
Photo: Exterior view of the synagogue of Bad Kissingen, probably at the beginning of the 20th century. Courtesy of: Unknown.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans, Nurit Borut; Sources: AJ, EJL, PK BAV
Located in: bavaria