General information: First Jewish presence: 16th century; peak Jewish population: 144 in 1905 (12.5% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 58
Summary: Frielendorf’s Jewish community developed in the 18th century. One hundred and thirty-seven Jews lived in Frielendorf in 1885 (approximately 15% of the total population), most of whom were cattle and horse traders, butchers and textile merchants. In 1923, the Jewish cemetery (located near a coal mine) was moved to a location close to the road to Grossropperhausen. Local Jews maintained a mikveh, and records from 1829 mention a prayer room, the latter of which was used until 1843 (or 1835), when the community converted part of a barn on Steinweg (present-day Hauptstrasse) into a synagogue. The Jewish school—it was presided over by a teacher who also performed the duties of shochet and chazzan—was dissolved in 1933. Frielendorf was home to a Jewish women’s association, a charitable organization and a Talmud Torah association. Many community members were active in the town’s social and political life. In 1933, 58 Jews lived in Frielendorf, many of whom left during the years that followed. Synagogue services were discontinued in 1937; the ritual objects were moved to Kassel, where they were destroyed on Pogrom Night. On Pogrom Night in Frielendorf, the synagogue building was vandalized and one Jewish home was attacked. The remaining Jews left town during the next few months. At least 50 local Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1939, the former synagogue was sold and remodeled as a combined residential and commercial building. A plaque, unveiled in Frielendorf in 1988, commemorates the Jewish community.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL
Located in: hesse