General information: First Jewish presence: 1440; peak Jewish population: 122 in 1815; Jewish population in 1933: 32
Summary: The earliest available record of a Jewish presence in Leutershausen is from the mid-15th century; a city chronicle (begun in 1440) mentions a Jewish homeowner and the socalled Judeneid or More Judaico, an oath Jews were required to take in a court of law. Records from 1663 and 1686 mention a synagogue; the later record tells us that the house of worship was at that time located at 70 Marktplatz (present-day 29 Markt); by 1755, however, the synagogue had been moved to the town’s southern wall, near the margravial tithe barn. Although the community was able to maintain a least two ritual baths—one next to the synagogue, the other in Moyses Seckel’s home on present-day Mittlere Marktgasse—burials were conducted at the Jewish cemetery in Bechhofen. Jewish children studied religion with teachers, one of whom was named Samuel Suttro, who also served as cantors and ritual slaughterers. As a result of economic hardship, many Jews left Leutershausen during the early 20th century, so that community membership dropped from 62 in 1900 to 32 in 1933. Those who remained, however, were active in local clubs and organizations, including the volunteer fire department, as well as sports clubs. As early as 1932, Juda verrecke (“death to Judas”) was a common slogan at local demonstrations. On October 16, 1938 (a few weeks before Pogrom Night) rioters vandalized the synagogue and wrecked Jewish homes; that night, a local Christian hid the remaining Jews, most of whom left Leutershausen the following day, in his home. No Jews lived in Leutershausen by February 1939, and the synagogue was eventually converted into a barn. A memorial plaque was later unveiled at 2 Am Markt.
Photo: The synagogue of Leutershausen. Courtesy of: The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, the Harburger Collection, P160/288.
Author / Sources: Benjamin Rosendahl
Sources: AJ, EJL, SG-B2, YV
Located in: bavaria