General information: First Jewish presence: Middle Ages; peak Jewish population: 43 in 1871 (4% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 19
Summary: The modern Jewish community of Wehen developed in the 18th century, during which period several local Jews were baptized. By 1871, most Wehen Jews were cattle traders (some were farmers). The community maintained a synagogue, a mikveh and a school, the last of which was presided over by a teacher who also served as chazzan and shochet. The synagogue on Weiherstrasse, which replaced a prayer room, was built in or around the year 1800; the two-story building seated 24 men and 16 women. Wehen’s Jewish cemetery (located near the road to Orlen and Halberg) may have been consecrated as early as the 14th century, but the oldest extant tombstone is dated 1694. In 1933, 19 Jews still lived in Wehen, many of whom, spurred on by the deteriorating political situation, emigrated from or relocated within Germany. On Pogrom Night, non-local SA men plundered and destroyed the synagogue’s interior. In 1941, the remaining Jews were deported to concentration camps; and in 1943, a Jewish woman who was married to a Christian committed suicide. At least 16 Wehen Jews perished in the Shoah. A commemorative plaque was unveiled at a local castle in 1983. Today, the town organizes an annual tour of the Jewish cemetery.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL
Located in: hesse