Westheim bei Hassfurt

General information: First Jewish presence: 18th century; peak Jewish population: 112 in 1890 (15.35% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 43
Summary: In 1913, one year after Westheim’s older synagogue building collapsed, the community established a new synagogue in another building, next door to which were a community center, a mikveh and a school for religious studies. Burials were conducted in Kleinsteinach. Five Jewish schoolchildren studied religion in Westheim in 1933. On Pogrom Night, all Westheim’s Jewish men were detained in the synagogue and were forced to watch as the building’s interior was wrecked; several of the men were wounded by falling debris. Outside, 200 locals cheered as the synagogue’s Torah scrolls and ritual objects were burned. Jewish homes and businesses were vandalized and looted, and two Jews were brutally beaten. Anyone accused of being a “sympathizer” with the Jews was attacked, including the pastor and his wife. After the violence ended, local Jewish men were imprisoned in Hassfurt. In September 1940, Westheim’s remaining Jews were forced to move into one house. During the Nazi period, nine Jews emigrated, two relocated within Germany and eight died in Westheim. In April and September of 1941, the remaining 21 Jews were deported to Izbica or to Theresienstadt. Between 33 and 47 Westheim Jews perished in the Shoah. The dilapidated, former Jewish community center, used for storage purposes after the war, was demolished in 2008. The synagogue has been converted into a residential building.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL, PK-BAV
Located in: bavaria