General information: First Jewish presence: 1268; peak Jewish population: 155 in 1812; Jewish population in 1933: 69
Summary: Jews were expelled from Lichtenfels in 1298, and it was not until the 17th century that a new community was founded there. Services were conducted in prayer rooms until 1797, when a synagogue was built at 12 Judengasse, or “Jews’ alley”; the house of worship was officially inaugurated on September 20, 1867. The community established a Jewish school (at 14 Judengasse) in 1826/27 and a cemetery (an der Heide) in 1840. In 1933, 69 Jews lived in Lichtenfels. The Nazis prohibited Jewish merchants from selling at local markets, as a result of which 21 local Jews had emigrated by 1938. Two years later, in 1940, the cemetery was shut down. On Pogrom Night, rioters vandalized Jewish homes and businesses, demolished the synagogue’s interior with axes and set 10 Torah scrolls on fire. Twenty-two local Jews were arrested that night and sent to Hof. Of those who were later deported to the East, none returned. According to Yad Vashem, at least 29 Lichtenfels Jews were killed in the Shoah. A memorial plaque was later unveiled at the destroyed cemetery site. The synagogue building is still intact.
Author / Sources: Benjamin Rosendahl
Sources: AJ, EJL, LJG, SG-B1, YV
Located in: bavaria