General information: First Jewish presence: 15th century; peak Jewish population: 152 in 1925; Jewish population in 1933: 150
Summary: Bad Wildungen’s Jewish community, to which the Jews of Bergheim were affiliated, was founded in 1866. In 1914, the community replaced its synagogue (inaugurated in 1890) with a new synagogue at 11 Im Duerren Hagen; the new synagogue—it featured 18 vitrage windows—accommodated 200 seats, a mikveh, a schoolroom and an apartment for a teacher who also served as chazzan and shochet. Earlier, in 1870, a Jewish cemetery was consecrated in Bad Wildungen. The Jews of Bergheim maintained their own synagogue (inaugurated in 1883) and a regional cemetery. By the 1930s, however, only one Jewish family remained there. In 1933, 14 schoolchildren received religious instruction. In February, 1933, shots were fired into a Jewish home; later that year, in March, Jewish men were marched through the town and humiliated. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue was burned to the ground. Jewish businesses and homes were wrecked, personal property destroyed or looted. Jews were assaulted, and one drowned in a lake while trying to escape. All Jews were detained at the municipality, after which the men were sent to Buchwald, where one was murdered. Eventually appropriated by the municipality, the synagogue was later demolished. Fifty-two Jews emigrated, 18 relocated within Germany and six left for unknown destinations. In October/November 1939, the remaining Jews were sent to Kassel. At least 60 Bad Wildungen Jews perished in the Shoah. The Jewish cemetery—it had been desecrated during the Nazi period—now houses a memorial. A memorial plaque was unveiled opposite the former synagogue site in 1985; and in 2006 and 2007 memorial “stumbling stones” (Stolpersteine) were placed in front of former Jewish homes.
Photo: The synagogue of Bad Wildungen in the 1930s. Courtesy of: City Archive Bad Wildungen.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut; Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-HNF
Located in: hesse