General information: First Jewish presence: 1500; peak Jewish population: 79 in 1843; Jewish population in 1933: 26
Summary: Jews were not permitted to live in Braunfels until the late 1600s. They had no synagogue, and traveled to nearby Leun (which was home to the oldest synagogue in the region) for services. As Leun was at a considerable distance from Braunfels, and unsafe to travel to during periods of war or social instability, the Jews of Braunfels decided to establish their own community and synagogue. In 1697, they converted a private residence into a synagogue; services were conducted there until 1850, when the community purchased a barn and converted it into a new house of worship for Braunfels and the surrounding villages. Most of the town’s Jews immigrated to the United States during the early years of the Nazi regime, so that only 19 Jews still lived there in 1938. The Jewish community was accordingly dissolved. On Pogrom Night, rioters ravaged the synagogue’s interior and looted its furnishings. The building was torn down in 1951. In 1980 a memorial plaque, commemorating the Jews of Braunfels, was unveiled at the synagogue site.
Author / Sources: Moshe Finkel
Sources: AJ, DJGH, EJL, LJG, SIA
Located in: hesse