General information: First Jewish presence: 1554; peak Jewish population: 194 in 1822; Jewish population in 1933: 21
Summary: The newly-founded Jewish community of Ermreuth established a cemetery in 1711 and a synagogue in 1738. The cemetery was enlarged in 1797 and in 1862, and a new, larger synagogue was built in 1823. Ermreuth was home to a Jewish elementary school presided over by teachers who also performed the duties of cantors and ritual slaughterers; beginning in 1914, however, the teacher offered religious instruction only. The community also maintained its own mikveh. In 1931, the community, unable to gather a minyan, asked the Bavarian Jewish Association to send three men to Ermreuth. The schoolteacher from nearby Erlangen, however, was still instructing three Ermreuth schoolchildren in 1933. The synagogue’s interior and ritual objects were destroyed on Pogrom Night, as were Jewish homes. Max Wasserstein was beaten so severely by a local Nazi that he eventually died, in Nuremberg, of his injuries. During the Nazi era, six Ermreuth Jews emigrated, 15 relocated within Germany and two died in Ermreuth. The last 15, forced to move to Nuremberg in 1939, were deported to the extermination camps in 1942. At least 21 Ermreuth Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1994, the synagogue was reopened as a cultural center. The building contains a permanent exhibition on Jewish life in Ermreuth, as well as items discovered in the synagogue’s genizah.
Photo: The synagogue of Ermreuth on a historical postcard, probably from the beginning of the 20th century. The synagogue building is depicted as place of interest to sightseers, next to the church and a stately home. Courtesy of: Unknown.
Author / Sources: Magret Liat Wolf
Sources: AJ, PK BAV, WK
Located in: bavaria