General information: First Jewish presence: 1661; peak Jewish presence: 57 in 1895; Jewish population in 1933: 29
Summary: The Jewish community of Ockenheim, founded in or around the year 1750, may have established a prayer hall at some point during the 18th century. We know for certain, however, that the community inaugurated a synagogue at 27 Bahnhofstrasse in 1835; thoroughly renovated in 1883, the synagogue was enlarged to accommodate a women’s gallery. Although the Jews of Ockenheim were able to maintain a mikveh, funerals were conducted in Gau-Algesheim. Records suggest that the village was home to a Jewish elementary school in 1870. Later, the community employed a teacher of religion who also performed the duties of chazzan and shochet. In 1933, 29 Jews lived in Ockenheim; two Jewish schoolchildren received religious instruction. All Jews managed to leave the village before Pogrom Night, the last departing in September 1938; two immigrated to the United States while the others relocated within Germany. Although the synagogue had been sold to a Christian in 1935, its windows were smashed on Pogrom Night. At least 38 Ockenheim Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue’s new owner—the building was later used as a storage site—rejected several appeals to renovate the building, wanting, instead, to tear it down. In 1991, however, the building was declared a protected historical landmark. In 1995, a memorial plaque was affixed to the local monument.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, PK-HNF