Bad Windsheim

General information: First Jewish presence: 1274; peak Jewish population: 116 in 1900; Jewish population in 1933: 58
Summary: In Bad Windsheim, a street sign (it reads Judenhoeflein, a diminutive of “Jews’ Yard”) commemorates the town’s medieval Jews, whose presence was first documented in 1274. Fifty-five local Jews were murdered during the Rindfleisch massacres of 1298; and in 1348/49, when the Black Death pogroms swept Germany, the community was annihilated. A new community received a letter of protection from King Sigismund in 1416, but was expelled from the town by that century’s end. On May 5, 1877, by which point the town was home to a synagogue and a school (both located in the community center on Hafenmarkt), Bad Windsheim’s 12 Jewish families established a community. Local Jews built a mikveh in 1888, and we also know that burials were conducted in Obernzenn. Additional benches were installed in the synagogue in 1889, triggering a rise in attendance (89 regular attendees in 1896). Fifty-eight Jews lived in Bad Windsheim in 1933, half of whom had left by 1937. On September 21, 1938, Jews were warned to leave as soon as possible, and on Pogrom Night (November 1938), the synagogue building was gutted and set on fire. Bad Windsheim was declared Judenrein (free of Jews) on January 17, 1939. Approximately 40 Jewish residents of Bad Windsheim perished in the Shoah. The ruined synagogue building was eventually torn down. A commemorative plaque was unveiled at the site in 1995.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans; Sources: AJ, EJL
Located in: bavaria