General information: First Jewish presence 1585; peak Jewish population: 145 in 1885; Jewish population in 1933: 135
Summary: The community’s older synagogue, apparently established in the early 19th century, housed a schoolroom and a teacher’s apartment. In 1924, the community inaugurated a new synagogue, at 4 Amalienstrasse, with 74 seats for men and 33 for women. Bebra’s Jewish elementary school, opened in 1868 (possibly earlier) and closed in 1934, was presided over by a teacher who also served as chazzan and shochet. Burials took place in Rotenburg an der Fulda until 1869, when a cemetery was consecrated in Bebra. On the night of November 7-8, 1938, two days before Pogrom Night, a large mob destroyed the synagogue’s interior, Torah scrolls and ritual objects. Jewish homes were attacked and looted, Jews were assaulted and a Jewish woman was raped and then publicly humiliated together with her husband, after which the couple attempted suicide. Jewish homes were also attacked the following night. Shortly afterwards, the municipality bought the synagogue, school and cemetery. Twenty-nine Jews emigrated (13 to the United States), 94 relocated within Germany, 15 left for unknown destinations and 12 died in Bebra. In May and September of 1942, the remaining 16 Jews were deported to the East. At least 76 Bebra Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue was demolished in the 1960s, after which a combined residential and business complex was built on the site; a memorial plaque was affixed to the building in the 1980s. The cemetery was desecrated in 2006.
Photo: The synagogue of Bebra after renovation in 1924. Courtesy of: Town Archive of Bebra.
Photo 2: The synagogue of Bebra after renovation in 1924. Courtesy of: Town Archive of Bebra.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut; Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-HNF
Located in: hesse