Summary: First Jewish presence: 1230 (Schesslitz), 1670 (Demmelsdorf); peak Jewish population: 37 in 1900 (Schesslitz), 136 in 1811/12 (Demmelsdorf, 62.3% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 30 (Schesslitz), 42 (Demmelsdorf, 24.4% of the total population)

The Jewish community of Schesslitz was incorporated into that of Demmelsdorf in 1924, at which point the community was renamed Demmelsdorf-Schesslitz. Demmelsdorf Jews attended synagogue services in Zeckendorf until 1748, when they inaugurated their own synagogue (31 seats for men, 28 for women); the synagogue was renovated in 1833, 1841, 1927 and 1937. The community was able to employ its own rabbi until 1794, and we also know that the mikveh (date of construction unknown) was rebuilt in 1870. Burials were conducted in Zeckendorf. Although Demmelsdorf ’s Jewish population began to decline after the peak years of 1811/12, Jews continued to make up a sizable chunk of the population. In 1827, the community established a Jewish school, six years after which the school was moved into its own building. Several Jewish organizations were still active in Demmelsdorf in 1933, among them a fund for indigent residents and two chevra kadisha societies (one for men, the other for women). Twelve Jewish children received religious instruction that year. On Pogrom Night, SA troops from Bamberg severely beat Demmelsodrf ’s sexton for refusing to hand over the synagogue keys, after which they broke into the synagogue, ransacked the interior and set the remaining contents— including the Torah scrolls—on fire. A blind, elderly Jew was assaulted, and Jewish homes were searched and looted. Jewish men were marched to Schesslitz, where, together with the Jewish men there, they were escorted to the Bamberg prison by a violent mob. Several men were released after a few days, but two from Demmelsdorf and five from Schesslitz were sent to Dachau; one of these was Demmelsdorf community chairman Rollmann, who died shortly after his release. When the remaining Jews of Demmelsdorf refused to sell their synagogue for 250 Reichsmarks, the authorities confiscated the property and billed the Jews for the demolition costs. A fire station was eventually erected on the synagogue site. Twelve Schesslitz Jews emigrated, one relocated within Germany, five passed away in Schesslitz and 13, the last, were sent to Bamberg in March 1942. In April of the same year, the remaining 14 Jews of Demmelsdorf were also sent to Bamberg. Finally, on April 25, 1942, all Demmelsdorf Jews and three Schesslitz Jews were deported to Izbica, Poland. The remaining 10 Schesslitz Jews, all of whom were elderly, were deported to Theresienstadt on September 9, 1942. At least 26 Demmelsdorf Jews and 14 from Schesslitz perished in the Shoah.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-BAV
Located in: bavaria