General information: First Jewish presence: 18th century; peak Jewish population: 71 in 1871 (over 3.5% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 35
Summary: By 1871, most Villmar Jews were cattle and horse traders, butchers, bakers, shoemakers or farmers. In 1841, the community replaced its prayer room with a synagogue—50 seats for men, 50 for women—on the upper floor of a new building on the corner of Grabenstrasse and Weilburger Strasse; the ground floor housed an apartment for a teacher who not only taught in the surrounding communities, but also served as chazzan and shochet. Burials were conducted in Arfurt until the 1820s, when a cemetery was consecrated in Villmar. The community also maintained a charitable organization. In 1933, 35 Jews still lived in Villmar, many of whom emigrated from or relocated within Germany soon afterwards. Although the synagogue had been sold to Christian buyers before November 1938, it was nevertheless attacked on Pogrom Night; the interior was desecrated and damaged, and the ritual objects were thrown onto the street and destroyed. Several Jewish men were sent to Buchenwald, where one of them died. Later, in 1942, the community’s last chairman was murdered on the street. At least 22 Villmar Jews perished in the Shoah. Villmar’s Jewish cemetery contains a memorial stone; in 1988, a plaque was affixed to the former synagogue, now a residential building.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL
Located in: hesse