General information: First Jewish presence: 1465; peak Jewish population: 46 in 1871; Jewish population in 1933: 26
Summary: Rueckingen’s synagogue, located below the water citadel on what was then called Muehlenweg (present-day An der Wasserburg), was established in the 18th century; a mikveh was attached to the building. Jews from Rodenbach and Langendiebach attended synagogue services in Rueckingen, and we also know that those from Niederrodenbach (see below) belonged to Rueckingen’s synagogue community. In May 1932, German youths wrecked Rueckingen’s modern Jewish cemetery (they were never caught). Later, on November 11, 1938 (two days after Pogrom Night) SA men demolished the interior of the synagogue, throwing out its ritual objects and burning them in a nearby meadow. Two newspaper reporters claimed to have seen signs of fire damage on the synagogue’s floor, but records indicate that the building was not burned down out of concern for the safety of neighboring structures. The synagogue was torn down in or around 1942. At least 17 Jewish residents of Rueckingen, including Ludwig Gernsheimer, the last leader of Rueckingen’s Jewish community, perished in the Shoah. At the cemetery, where the last burial took place at some point after 1945, there are 15 extant gravestones. In November 1986, a memorial plaque was affixed to a surviving section of the water citadel. About the Niederrodenbach Jews (see above), we know the following: in 1933, 25 Jews lived in Niederrodenbach, including the town’s first doctor, Dr. Julius Blumenthal. Most of them were deported to the East: the four members of Dr. Blumenthal’s family perished in Auschwitz; three others were sent to Lublin, six to Theresienstadt and four to Hungary— they all perished.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, PK-HNF, YV
Located in: hesse