Frankfurt am Main - Boernestrasse, the Main Synagogue

Summary: Over the centuries, three different synagogue buildings constituted the heart of the early Jewish ghetto in Frankfurt. The first, built in 1462 and enlarged on several occasions, burned down in a ghetto fire in 1711. A new building was quickly erected and served as a spiritual center even after the overcrowded ghetto was opened up, allowing more freedom of movement, in 1806. The inadequate building had undergone several repairs before it was finally torn down and replaced by a larger synagogue. Despite the withdrawal of funding by the Rothschild family (caused by the secession of the Orthodox wing from the community following the appointment of a liberal rabbi), the new domed synagogue, which came to be known as the Hauptsynagoge, or Main Synagogue, was inaugurated on Boernestrasse in 1860. The modern sandstone building incorporated Gothic, Byzantine and Oriental features. The interior was dominated by horseshoe arches, and the almemor (pulpit) was located in front of the Torah Ark and organ. The synagogue had 1,020 seats, of which 504 were located in the gallery. The synagogue was set on fire on Pogrom Night (November 1938), after which it was torn down. The entire area, destroyed during the war, was later redesigned. A memorial plaque, located on the corner of present-day Allerheiligwenstrasse and Kurt Schumacher Strasse, commemorates the site.
Photo: The synagogue on Boernestrasse in Frankfurt, probably at the beginning of the 20th century. Courtesy of: Leo Baeck Institute Photo Archive, 1505.
Author / Sources: Ruth Martina Trucks
Sources: EJL, LJG
Located in: hesse