General information: First Jewish presence: 13th century; peak Jewish population: 316 in 1925; Jewish population in 1933: 233
Summary: Jews were persecuted in Coburg during the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49, and were expelled from the town again shortly after 1447. The modern community was founded in 1873. A Catholic church called the Nikolauskapelle, located on Ketscherdorfer Strasse, was converted into a synagogue in 1873 and enlarged in 1889. The community founded a Jewish school in 1873 and a cemetery in 1878. Hermann Hirsch, who was appointed rabbi in 1909, established a Jewish boys’ boarding school in 1917/18. Coburg, a major Nazi stronghold, elected a Nazi mayor in 1929; accordingly, Jews were relentlessly persecuted in the town. In 1932, the authorities gave the order to convert the synagogue back into a church, a decision that the Jewish community unsuccessfully appealed. In 1933, the community still maintained numerous associations and branches of nationwide Jewish organizations. That same year, 30 children studied religion in Coburg. In March of 1933, police closed down the synagogue, after which (in May) a prayer hall was established in Rabbi Hirsch’s home on Hohe Strasse. In 1935, when Jewish pupils were expelled from German schools, the Jewish boarding school took in all of the community’s schoolchildren. On Pogrom Night, the prayer room and its ritual objects were destroyed; Torah scrolls were burned. Jewish pupils were forced to smash the school’s windows, and Jewish homes and stores were damaged. All Jews, including women and children, were arrested; men under the age of 60 were imprisoned in Hof. Eighty-five Coburg Jews emigrated and 61 relocated within Germany. Twenty-five died in Coburg, some of whom took their own lives. The remaining Jews were forced into two houses and, in 1941/42, deported to Riga, Theresienstadt and Izbica. At least 78 Coburg Jews perished in the Shoah. A memorial commemorating the town’s Shoah victims was later unveiled at the Jewish cemetery.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn
Located in: bavaria