Bad Soden

General information: First Jewish presence: mid- 17th century; peak Jewish population: 49 in 1925; Jewish population in 1933: approximately 50
Summary: Soden was renamed Bad Soden in the mid-19th century. The town’s Jewish community was founded in 1849, prior to which local Jews had belonged to the Niederhofheim community. Bad Soden was home to a prayer hall between 1762 and 1780, after which the town’s few Jews prayed in Niederhofheim. Inaugurated on Enggasse (present-day 2 Neugasse) in 1846, Bad Soden’s synagogue—26 seats for men, seven for women—was renovated in the late 19th century and in 1927. Burials were conducted in Niederhofheim until 1873, when the community consecrated its own cemetery. We also know that, in 1885, Baron Rothschild endowed the community with a sanatorium for indigent Jews. Jewish schoolchildren were able to study religion in Bad Soden—at times with teachers from Koenigstein/Kronberg and Falkenstein, at other times with a community-employed instructor. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s interior was destroyed: axe-wielding rioters broke the furniture and Judaica, after which the objects were, together with the Torah scrolls and prayer books, taken outside and set on fire. The Jewish sanatorium was ransacked, its patients dragged outside and forced to watch the building burn. Five Jewish homes, the town’s last, were wrecked, and the windows in the funeral home were smashed. The synagogue building was later sold to a private individual. We also know that the cemetery was desecrated during the Nazi period, and that the funeral house was destroyed. Most of the remaining Jews fled to Frankfurt, where the sanatorium patients were also transferred. At least 15 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue was later used a warehouse. At the site— the building was demolished in 1981—a memorial plaque was unveiled in 1987. The cemetery was desecrated in 1973.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut; Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-HNF
Located in: hesse