General information: First Jewish presence: 13th century; peak Jewish population: 121 in 1913; Jewish population in 1933: 71
Summary: Records suggest that Jews settled in Vacha in the early 13th century. We also know that they were expelled from the town during the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49. Although a Jewish community was founded in Vacha in 1777, a synagogue and schoolroom had existed in the town, at 22 Schulstrasse, before then; this synagogue was enlarged in 1829. The Jewish cemetery on Voelkershaeuser Strasse (1323-1939) was enlarged in 1778, in 1839 and again in 1882. A mikveh was installed at 11 Schulstrasse in or around the year 1900. In 1933, the community employed a teacher of religion who also served as chazzan and shochet. A women’s organization and a youth association were active in the town that year. The cemetery was desecrated in 1929 and again in 1932. On the morning after Pogrom Night, seven or eight men destroyed the synagogue’s interior; the building was later shut down by the municipality. Approximately 35 Jews emigrated from the town; eight died in Vacha. After 1942, the town’s remaining Jews were deported. At least 29 local Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1955, the synagogue building was torn down. The site now accommodates an apartment building or a garage.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn
Sources: AJ, DJKT, EJL, FJG
Located in: thuringia