General information: First Jewish presence: 1241; peak Jewish population: 491 in 1910; Jewish population in 1933: 305
Summary: Although the Jewish community of Friedberg was persecuted in 1338 and annihilated during the Black Death pogroms of 1349, a new Jewish presence was established in the town soon afterward. The community, with which the Jews of Ober- Rosbach, Fauerbach and Dorheim were affiliated, peaked in 1910 with 491 members. Beginning in the 13th century, the medieval community maintained a synagogue, a mikveh and a cemetery; in 1523, at which point Friedberg was home to a wall-enclosed ghetto, a new cemetery was consecrated. Between the 1630s and 1741, the Friedberg rabbi was responsible for the Hessen duchy. The synagogue was enlarged in the years 1846, 1881 and 1931, after which it accommodated 320 worshippers. At some point during the 18th century, the community’s elementary school became a school for religious studies whose teacher also served as chazzan and shochet. In 1932, the community opened a community center with a weekday prayer hall. Forty-one children studied religion in Friedberg in 1933. Several Jewish associations and branches of nation-wide organizations were active in the community that year. A new Jewish cemetery was consecrated in 1934. The synagogue was burned down on Pogrom Night. Jewish homes and businesses were attacked, property and merchandise were destroyed or thrown onto the street, and 43 men were sent to Buchenwald. In 1939, the synagogue ruins were demolished. Both cemeteries were cleared. Eighty-three local Jews emigrated; most of the others relocated within Germany. The remaining Jews were later moved into “Jews’ houses,” from which 61 were deported to Poland and to Theresienstadt in 1942. Seven Jewish women, all of whom were married to ethnic Germans, were deported in late 1944 and January 1945. At least 132 Friedberg Jews perished in the Shoah. In August 1945, survivors of the Shoah founded a new community in Friedberg; most left during the years that followed, and the community was accordingly dissolved in 1948. Memorial plaques have been unveiled at the former mikveh site, at the synagogue site and in both cemeteries.
Photo: The synagogue of Friedberg after Pogrom Night. Courtesy of: Town Archive of Friedberg.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut
Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-HNF
Located in: hesse