General information: First Jewish presence: 1572; peak Jewish population: 96 in 1880; Jewish population in 1933: 56
Summary: Until the mid-19th century, the central Jewish community in the area was that of Bisses, where a synagogue and cemetery had been consecrated. Between 1863 and 1865, after Echzell became the main Jewish community, a synagogue seating 72 men and 40 women was built at 21 Bisserstrasse. Echzell was home to a Jewish school—it also served the nearby villages— between 1831 and 1891, after which the community employed a teacher of religion who performed the duties of chazzan and shochet. The community maintained its own mikveh and cemetery. In 1933, 56 Jews lived in Echzell, 12 in Bisses and six in Gettenau. (Bisses and Gettenau were affiliated communities.) The synagogue’s interior was destroyed on Pogrom Night, the building set on fire and damaged. Jewish homes and businesses, including the last Jewish home in Bisses, were plundered, and men aged 18-60 were deported to concentration camps. The damaged synagogue building was later used as a storage site. Eight Echzell Jews emigrated; others relocated within Germany. In September 1942, the remaining two Jews, a married couple, were deported to Poland. At least 32 Echzell Jews and five from Bisses perished in the Shoah. The synagogue was demolished in the 1950s, after which an inn and a dance bar were built on the site. In or around 1988, a commemorative plaque was unveiled at the site.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-HNF, YV
Located in: hesse