General information: First Jewish presence: 16th century; peak Jewish population: 121 in 1905; Jewish population in 1933: 132
Summary: Although a Jewish presence was recorded in Lauterbach in the 16th century, it was only in the mid-19th century that Jews settled there permanently. A functioning Jewish community, most of whose members were cattle dealers, merchants and shopkeepers, had been established in Lauterbach by century’s end. Local Jews maintained a mikveh, a synagogue and a school, the last of which was presided over by a teacher who also served as shochet and chazzan. In 1898, a Jewish cemetery was consecrated to the west of the general burial grounds on Am Kalkofen; and in 1908, a new synagogue—with 100 seats for men, 74 for women—was dedicated on Platz der Synagoge (or “square of the synagogue”). In 1933, 132 Jews still lived in Lauterbach, most of whom emigrated from or relocated within Germany during the following years. On Pogrom Night, rioters broke the synagogue’s windows and destroyed the interior, after which they burned down the building; later, in 1942, the ruins were pulled down. At least 23 Jews from Lauterbach perished in the Shoah. Unveiled at the former synagogue site, a memorial and a plaque commemorate Lauterbach’s former Jewish community.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL
Located in: hesse