General information: First Jewish presence: 1346; peak Jewish population: 246 in 1890; Jewish population in 1933: 145
Summary: The Jewish community of Bergen developed in the 18th century. Bergen was home to a prayer hall (or synagogue) by 1717, and in 1722 the community established a synagogue which housed a schoolroom and was located on Rathausgasse (present-day Berger Spielhaus). Local Jews consecrated two cemeteries—one at some point between 1660 and 1717, the other, on Vilbeler Landstrasse, in 1825. In 1854, a new synagogue was inaugurated on Erbsengasse (present- day Conrad Weil Gasse); the building also housed a school (closed in 1924) and an apartment for a teacher. The synagogue was damaged heavily on Pogrom Night: The roof was demolished, and the interior and contents were destroyed. The cemetery was desecrated that night, Jewish homes and businesses were attacked, Jews were assaulted and 11 Jewish men from Bergen (and four from Fechenheim) were sent to Buchenwald. Soon afterwards, the synagogue and school were sold to a local resident, who had both pulled down. In or around 1940, the authorities closed the cemetery, after which burials were conducted in Langensebold. Most Jews left Bergen. Six passed away in the town, and 28 were deported in May and September of 1942. At least 96 Bergen Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1962, a memorial plaque was unveiled at the former synagogue site.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen; Sources: AH, AJ, EJL, PK-HNF www.stadtgeschichte-ffm.de
Located in: hesse