Hoechst am Main

General information: First Jewish presence: unknown; peak Jewish population: 200 in 1932/33
Summary: Although the town of Hoechst was incorporated into the city of Frankfurt am Main in 1828, its Jewish community remained independent. The community began to grow, together with the population of the rest of the town, in 1863; the stimulus being the opening of a large chemical factory (the predecessor of I.G. Farben). Many Jews prospered in Hoechst: Bruno Asch, for example, attained the position of mayor. The Jewish population grew to 148 by 1900, reaching its peak of 200 just before the Nazis seized power. Repressive anti-Jewish measures, particularly the economic boycott of 1933, triggered a marked decline in the Jewish population. Those who were unable to emigrate by 1942 were deported. Almost no one survived. Religious services were initially conducted in a private residence. In 1806, a prayer room with an adjoining ritual bath was established inside the tower of the northern city wall. When the tower was torn down some 10 years later, a new synagogue was built on its ruins. In response to the population growth of the late 19th century, the community inaugurated another house of worship, seating 138 people, in December 1905. Hoechst Jews were members of the Wiesbaden rabbinical district, and they were predominantly Orthodox. The community maintained a school for religious studies presided over by a teacher of Hebrew, who also performed the duties of shochet and chazzan. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue was torched, at first by SA men and, later, by local residents; firemen prevented the blaze from spreading to the surrounding buildings. Most Jewish men were deported to Buchenwald, and what remained of the synagogue was subsequently sold to the city in a mock sale, in which the Jewish community was defrauded of any proceeds. Soon afterward, the building was leveled. A memorial stone marks the site of the synagogue and commemorates Hoechst’s vanished Jewish community.
Author / Sources: Fred Gottlieb
Sources: AJ, EJL, LJG
Located in: hesse