General information: First Jewish presence: 13th century; peak Jewish population: 177 in 1746; Jewish population in 1933: approximately 100
Summary: Records suggest that the town’s first Jews probably arrived from France and Italy. In 1595, six Jewish families lived in Bleicherode, but were expelled in 1600. The modern community emerged in the 18th century: a cemetery had been acquired by 1728, and in 1746 the community recorded its peak membership figure. In 1882, several Jews, having succeeded in the cattle and textile trades, funded a new synagogue to replace the rented prayer hall. Philanthropic Jewish citizens served on the town council until the early 1930s. The boycott of Jewish businesses crippled the community: by 1938/39, all Jewish business had been “Aryanized,” and nearly all local Jews had managed to emigrate. Felix Rothenburg, a mill owner, committed suicide. We also know that the synagogue was sacked and incinerated on Pogrom Night. After the war, 226 tombstones were restored at the desecrated cemetery. Fifty years after Pogrom Night, a memorial plaque was unveiled at the Mariankirche.
Author / Sources: Harold Slutzkin
Sources: LJG, SIA
Located in: thuringia