General information: First Jewish presence: 16th century; peak Jewish population: 124 in 1910; Jewish population in 1933: 117
Summary: Although Jews were expelled from Brueckenau in 1671, a community was established there in the 18th century, members of which opened a synagogue, a Talmud Torah and a mikveh. The synagogue and school burned down in 1876, and it was not until 1913 that a new house of worship was inaugurated in Brueckenau. Brueckenau’s Jewish cemetery, the last to be opened in Bavaria, was consecrated in 1923. The local spa resort, called Bad Brueckenau, offered three kosher hotels; guests could congregate in the Kaufmann Hotel’s prayer room. In 1933, a chevra kadisha was still active in Brueckenau. The Nazis banned religious services at the Kaufmann Hotel in 1936. Later, on Pogrom Night (November 1938), SA and SS men burned down the synagogue and school, damaged the nearby school building and wrecked the Jewish hotels. All but a few elderly men were deported to Dachau. Twenty-nine Jews from Brueckenau and nearby Vernarz emigrated, 95 relocated within Germany and seven, the last, were deported to Izbica and to Theresienstadt in 1942. At least 37 local Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1897, a memorial monument was unveiled at the cemetery. Shmuel Agnon, the Israeli Nobel Laureate writer, depicted the community in his “Between Two Cities” (Hebrew: “Bein Shtei Arim”).
Photo: The synagogue of Brueckenau. Courtesy of: Unknown.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans; Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-BAV
Located in: bavaria