General information: First Jewish presence: 1324/25; peak Jewish population: 72 in 1905 (6% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 83
Summary: The Jews of Wetter were members of the Jewish community in Gossfelden until 1880, when they founded their own community. Religious services were initially conducted in a prayer room on Auf dem Wasserloch, but in 1897 the community built a proper synagogue on a neighboring plot of land. A private well, called the Moenchtor, served as the mikveh, and we also know that Wetter was the location of a Jewish school and a regional Jewish cemetery (at Wollenberg); the cemetery was first documented in records from 1752. The Jews of Gossfelden (there were 19 in 1905) and Sterzhausen (they numbered six in 1905) were eventually affiliated with the Jewish community in Wetter. In 1933, the Wetter community was able to employ a shochet; a teacher instructed nine children in religion. Two welfare associations—a Chewroh Kadischoh (chevra kadisha) and an Israelite women’s association—were active in Wetter. On November 10, 1938 (Pogrom Night), rioters broke windows in the synagogue and destroyed its interior; according to records, the head of Wetter’s fire department, Reinhard Gausmann, prevented the rioters from setting fire to the building. Torah scrolls were desecrated and thrown onto the street; Jewish men were arrested and taken to Kirchhain. The synagogue building was auctioned in 1939, soon after which, in 1940, the Jewish cemetery was closed down and desecrated. By 1941/42, 54 local Jews had emigrated; several had relocated within Germany. Twenty-eight Wetter Jews were eventually deported (via Kassel and Marburg), and at least 40 perished in the Shoah. In the year 2000, the municipality purchased the synagogue building, which was used as a barn and storage site after the war. Beautifully restored during the years 2000 to 2005, the building, now a historical monument, serves as a memorial and as a social center. In 1992, a memorial plaque was affixed to the town hall. The restored Jewish cemetery was desecrated in 1989 and again in 2008.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn
Sources: AJ, DJGH, EJL, FJG, SIA
Located in: hesse