General information: First Jewish presence: 16th century; peak Jewish population: 240 in 1887; Jewish population in 1933: 63
Summary: Barchfeld (Thuringia) – First Jewish presence: 16th century; peak Jewish population: 240 in 1887; Jewish population in 1933: 63 Although individual Jews acted as agents for the local aristocracy during the Middle Ages, it was only towards the end of the 17th century that a Jewish community started to develop in Barchfeld. This community, made up largely of cattle dealers and small merchants, established a cemetery in 1686, a Talmud Torah in 1779, a chevra kadisha in 1783 and a school—it housed a mikveh—in 1836. Services were initially conducted in a private residence, and we also know that the 19th-century community congregated at the school until 1879, when the building was damaged by fire. Rebuilt in 1880, the school accommodated a schoolroom and an apartment for a teacher. The synagogue was broken into on Pogrom Night, its contents burned in a meadow and the building destroyed. Local children, led by their teacher, broke into Jewish houses and smashed windows. Of those Jews still living in Barchfeld in 1940, at least 30 were deported; the fate of those who had left earlier is unknown. A memorial plaque was erected at the former synagogue site in 1988.
Author / Sources: Harold Slutzkin; Sources: AJ, LJG
Located in: thuringia