General information: First Jewish presence: mid-16th century; peak Jewish population: 126 in 1885; Jewish population in 1933: 62
Summary: Jews were expelled from Osthofen in 1693, but another Jewish presence was established there in, at the latest, 1722. By the mid-18th century, the community, which had been founded in cooperation with the Jews of Westhofen, had consecrated a prayer hall and a cemetery. In 1875, the community replaced its first synagogue (built in 1917) with a new synagogue at 53 Hauptstrasse (present-day 74 Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse); the synagogue was renovated in 1929. Local Jews also maintained a mikveh and a regional cemetery, the latter of which was consecrated in 1840 and desecrated in 1932. Three children studied religion with a teacher/chazzan in 1933, by which point the Jews of Rheinduerkheim, Abenheim, Pfeddersheim and Westhofen had been affiliated with the Osthofen community. In March of that year, community chairman Ludwig Ebert’s paper factory was turned into a concentration camp; it was closed in December 1934, but not before Ebert and other local Jews had been held there under “protective custody.” Later, on Pogrom Night (November 1938), the synagogue was destroyed, after which the building was set on fire. Eleven local Jews emigrated from and 48 relocated within Germany. In January 1939, the remaining Jews left Osthofen. At least 17 Osthofen Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue ruins were demolished in the 1950s. On November 9, 1983, a memorial plaque was unveiled at the Protestant community center.
Photo: The synagogue of Osthofen. Courtesy of: Unknown.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-HNF