General information: First Jewish presence: 1312; peak Jewish population: 77 in 1880; Jewish population in 1933: 40
Summary: Although Jews were persecuted in Zwingenberg during the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49, a new Jewish presence was established in the town’s Judengasse (“Jews’ alley”) several decades later. Jews were expelled from the town in 1567, but those who lived there during the 17th century managed to establish the foundations of the modern Jewish community. The Jews of Zwingenberg—initially members of a joint community with the Jews of Alsbach, Bickenbach, Haehnlein and Jugenheim—formed their own independent Jewish community in 1858. The Zwingenberg community established a synagogue whose building also housed a school in 1861 (renovated in 1887); in 1903, one year after the building burned down in a neighborhood fire, a new synagogue was built at 5 Wiesenstrasse. Seven Jewish schoolchildren studied religion in Zwingenberg in 1933. Later, on Pogrom Night (November 1938), the synagogue’s windows were smashed; the Torah scrolls and ritual objects, however, had been transferred to Frankfurt before the pogrom. The two remaining Jewishowned homes were severely damaged that night. Eighteen Jews emigrated and 34 relocated within Germany. Zwingenberg’s last Jews left in June 1939. At least 21 Zwingenberg Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue building, which the Jewish community was forced to sell after Pogrom Night, was used as a warehouse and, later, as a residence. Memorial plaques have been unveiled at the former synagogue site and at the town hall.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut
Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-HNF
Located in: hesse