Bad Kreuznach

General information: First Jewish presence: 13th century; peak Jewish population: 713 in 1933
Summary: A considerable number of Jews are thought to have lived in Bad Kreuznach during the early 14th century, given that records tell us that a rabbi was active there in 1338. Although this community was annihilated in the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49, a new Jewish presence was established in the town in 1375. The Jews of Bad Kreuznach established the following communal institutions: a cemetery in the 16th century; a new cemetery, which was enlarged on several occasions, in the 17th century; a synagogue on Kleine Eselsgass (later, 2 Faehrgasse) in, at the latest, 1715; a new synagogue on the same site in 1737; and a short-lived private Jewish school in 1820. In 1844, by which point the community was one of the most important in the region and a district rabbinate was based there, the synagogue was renovated. Records mention a mikveh, but we do not know when or where it was built. We know for certain, however, that a Jewish children’s sanatorium was founded in Bad Kreuznach in 1920; the sanatorium had 118 beds in 1933. Prominent Bad Kreuznach Jews included the Baruch brothers, who won national and European championships in weightlifting and wrestling. In 1933, 75 schoolchildren studied religion under the guidance of the community’s teacher/chazzan. Several Jewish associations and branches of national Jewish organizations were active in the community, with which the Jews of Muenster-am-Stein and Planig were affiliated. On Pogrom Night, rioters destroyed the synagogue’s interior, closed down the children’s sanatorium and heavily damaged Jewish-owned homes and businesses. Jewish men were sent to Dachau and Buchenwald. The synagogue was sold after the pogrom and heavily damaged during a wartime air raid; later, in 1953/54, the ruins were demolished. Seventy-six Bad Kreuznach Jews were deported to the East in 1942. Two Jews, the town’s last, were deported to Theresienstadt in January 1945. At least 223 Bad Kreuznach Jews perished in the Shoah. The new Jewish community of Bad Kreuznach, established after the war, inaugurated a synagogue in 2002. The Jewish cemetery was desecrated again one year later. The former synagogue site bears a memorial plaque (1975).
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut Sources: AJ, EJL, FJG, YV