General information: First Jewish presence: 1318; peak Jewish population: 100 in 1871; Jewish population in 1933: 57
Summary: Records from 1357 and from the 15th century mention a Judenschule (Jews’ school), which possibly refers to a synagogue. The community apparently established a new synagogue on 16 Amtsgasse—with an adjacent school and teacher’s apartment—in the 17th century; a mikveh in or around 1827; and, finally, yet another new synagogue, built on the older synagogue’s site, in the 19th century. Burials took place in Frankfurt am Main until 1570, when the Jews of Babenhausen consecrated a cemetery on Potsdamer Strasse. A teacher of religion, who also performed the duties of shochet and chazzan, was active in Babenhausen. The community was disbanded in October 1938, around which time the synagogue was sold. The building’s interior and furniture were nevertheless destroyed on Pogrom Night, as was Jewish property. That night, a woman and her son were beaten severely; Jewish men were detained in the municipality building, from which two were sent to Buchenwald. Sixteen Jews emigrated, 32 relocated within Germany and four, the last, were deported. At least 30 Babenhausen Jews and 11 from the affiliated communities of Langstadt and Kleestadt perished in the Shoah. After World War II, several Jews returned to Babenhausen. The upper floor of the synagogue was demolished in 1953; at the time of this writing, the ground floor served as a painter’s shop. A memorial plaque was affixed to the municipality building in 1988.
Photo: The synagogue of Babenhausen in the 1930s. Courtesy of: The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, Jerusalem, ref. 7355/31.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn; Sources: AJ, DJGH, EJL, PK-HNF, SIA, YV
Located in: hesse