General information: First Jewish presence: 17th century; peak Jewish population: 82 in 1880; Jewish population in 1933: approximately 30
Summary: The Jewish community of Wieseck developed in the 17th century. By 1880, most local Jews earned a living as cattle traders, butchers or merchants; later, the town was also home to Jewish physicians and lawyers. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Wieseck was the venue for a regional Jewish congress, which convened there every three years. In 1872, the Jewish community replaced its rented prayer room on Karl Brenner Strasse (formerly Alicenstrasse) with a synagogue on the same street; the synagogue building seated 50 worshipers (32 men and 18 women) and accommodated a mikveh and a school. It is not known whether the teacher also served as the shochet and chazzan. Records do tell us, however, that a Jewish youth group was active in the community. In 1933, approximately 30 Jews still lived in Wieseck, of whom about 20 emigrated from the country, mainly going to the United States and South America, during the years of oppression that followed. On Pogrom Night, rioters burned down the synagogue’s interior, ritual objects and Torah scrolls. The building survived the fire and was later remodeled as a residence. In 1942, Wieseck’s nine remaining Jews were deported to the camps of Eastern Europe. At least 15 Wieseck Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue’s new owner refused to affix a memorial plaque to the building. Accordingly, a plaque was unveiled in a public park (located in a different part of town) in 1992.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL
Located in: hesse