Bellersheim, Obbornhofen, Wohnbach

General information: First Jewish presence: unknown; peak Jewish population: 27 in 1861 (Bellersheim), 26 in 1830 (Obbornhofen), 40 in 1830 (Wohnbach); Jewish population i
Summary: Although these three communities were independent during the 19th century, they maintained joint institutions. By 1933, the Jewish communities of Bellersheim, Obbornhofen and Wohnbach were united. Communal institutions were located in Obbornhofen, where a synagogue was inaugurated in 1879 (at 9 Kommenturgasse) and where the cemetery was located. During the 19th century, the Bellersheim and Obbornhofen communities employed their own teachers of religion; later, the communities jointly hired a teacher who also served as chazzan and shochet. In 1933, a charity association was active in the joint community. On Pogrom Night, even though no Jews lived in Obbornhofen, Torah scrolls and ritual objects from the synagogue were set on fire; the synagogue’s windows, doors and Torah Ark were later smashed. A Jewish home in Bellersheim was attacked, its interior destroyed. In 1941, the last three Jews of Bellersheim were moved to a “Jews’ House” in Inheiden, from which they were deported to Theresienstadt in 1942. Two Jews from Wohnbach were deported to Theresienstadt and Auschwitz in 1942; one died in Buchenwald that year. At least seven Bellersheim Jews, six from Obbornhofen and 19 from Wohnbach perished in the Shoah. A memorial to the Jews of Bellersheim and Obbornhofen was unveiled at the Jewish cemetery of Hungen in 1990. The synagogue building, sold in the 1950s, was remodeled into a residence, to which a memorial plaque was affixed in 1988.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut; Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-HNF
Located in: hesse