Bad Homburg vor der Hoehe
General information: First Jewish presence: 1335; peak Jewish population: 604 in 1865; Jewish population in 1933: approximately 300
Summary: Jews received permission to settle in Bad Homburg in 1335, but disappeared from the town after the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49. A Jewish presence had been reestablished there by the 16th century. In 1684, Jews were granted permission to consecrate a cemetery and conduct religious services in a private residence; the cemetery was closed in 1790, after which burials took place in Seulberg until 1865, when a new cemetery was consecrated in Bad Homburg. The community established two synagogues: one in 1732, the other in 1866; the latter, built at 8 Elisabethenstrasse, was renovated in 1904 to accommodate 320 men and 104 women. The Jewish community center—it housed a weekday prayer hall, schoolrooms, a teacher’s apartment and a mikveh—was opened nearby in 1877. Beginning in 1851, the Jews of Bad Homburg employed their own rabbi. The town was home to three renowned Jewish sanatoriums and two kosher hotels. In 1909, the founding conference of Agudath Israel, the international Orthodox association, took place in Bad Homburg. After World War I, Bad Homburg was a center of Hebrew culture; several leading writers, such as Bialik and Agnon, resided there for a few years. In 1933, 60 schoolchildren studied religion in Bad Homburg. Dr. Leopold Wreschner was rabbi. The cemetery was desecrated in 1934 and in 1935. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s interior was destroyed, after which the building was burned to the ground. Jewish businesses and homes were wrecked, property was destroyed or looted and Jewish men were sent to Buchenwald. Most Jews left Bad Homburg. Thirty-nine were deported to the East in April and August of 1942; three women, all of whom were married to Gentiles, were deported to Theresienstadt in June 1943. At least 146 local Jews perished in the Shoah. A playground was later built on the synagogue site, and the former Jewish school is now a high school. A memorial and several plaques have been unveiled to commemorate the Jews and their synagogue.
Photo: The synagogue of Bad Homburg. Courtesy of: Leo Baeck Institute Photo Archive, 5294.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut; Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-HNF
Located in: hesse