General information: First Jewish presence: unknown; peak Jewish population: 148 in 1900; Jewish population in 1933: 125
Summary: The Jewish community of Gerolzhofen, officially founded in the 17th century, maintained a prayer room, a mikveh and a regional cemetery. (The cemetery, we know, was established in 1639.) In 1874, a synagogue was dedicated at 51 Steingrabenstrasse. The community employed a teacher of religion who also performed the duties of shochet and chazzan. In 1933, 14 pupils studied religion in Gerolzhofen. A chevra kadisha, a women’s association and a branch of a Zionist organization were active there. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s interior was destroyed; its ritual objects and furniture were burned in a bonfire. The cemetery was vandalized, Jews were attacked and their homes were ransacked. The teacher’s wife was forced to wear her husband’s ritual garments and stand by the synagogue’s entrance, where she was brutally mistreated. Jews were arrested, after which the young men were sent to Dachau. On the following Sabbath, the remaining Jews were forced to clean the synagogue. The SS later confiscated the building. Sixty-one Gerolzhofen Jews emigrated, 35 relocated within Germany and, in 1942, 19 were deported to Izbica and six to Theresienstadt. At least 42 Gerolzhofen Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue was sold in 1945; in 2007, a memorial stone was unveiled near the site.
Photo: On the right, the building in which the synagogue of Gerolzhofen was located. Photograph was taken in 1930. Courtesy of: Town Archive of Gerolzhofen.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL, PK BAV
Located in: bavaria