Bad Nauheim

General information: Bad Nauheim (Hesse) – First Jewish presence: unknown; peak Jewish population: 350 at some point after 1933; Jewish population in 1933: 198
Summary: Jews lived in Bad Nauheim as early as the Middle Ages, but it was only in 1830 that a community was founded there. In 1839, the newly founded community established a prayer room. The growth of the Jewish population—triggered by the town’s fame as a health resort—necessitated a larger structure, and in 1866 a house of worship was inaugurated in Bad Nauheim (50 seats for men, 40 for women). In 1929, a new synagogue, seating 150 men and 100 women, was opened at 29 Karlstrasse; the building also housed a mikveh. Beginning in 1873, a teacher of religion who performed the duties of chazzan and shochet served the community. Records from 1683 mention a cemetery, and we also know that the community consecrated two others: one in 1865, the other in 1902. The town was home to several Jewish health spas and, in the early 1930s, 17 Jewish hotels and boardinghouses, and approximately 50 Jewish physicians and dentists. Anti-Semitic violence was less pervasive in Bad Nauheim during the 1930s than in most of Germany, for the town feared losing income from Jewish tourists. Accordingly, the Jewish population reached a new peak of 350 after 1933. The community maintained an elementary school between 1937 and 1940. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s interior was destroyed; the building was set on fire, but the blaze was extinguished. Jewish homes and businesses were destroyed and looted, community dignitaries were abused and all Jewish men under 60 were sent to Buchenwald, where one died. Approximately 139 Jews emigrated, 190 relocated within Germany, 33 passed away in the town and 10 committed suicide. The remaining Jews were eventually moved to an old-age home, from which they were deported in September 1942: 23 to Poland, 79 to Theresienstadt. At least 167 Bad Nauheim Jews perished in the Shoah.Twosurvivedinhiding. The new Jewish community of Bad Nauheim was founded in April 1945. The synagogue, used for storage during the war, was reopened, as was the cemetery.
Photo: A Torah scroll is carried to the new synagogue of Bad Nauheim in 1929. Courtesy of: Leo Baeck Institute Photo Archive, 19343.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans; Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-HNF;
Located in: hesse