General information: First Jewish presence: 1356; peak Jewish population: 134 in 1861 (18.2% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 51
Summary: Services were conducted in a prayer hall until 1842, when the Meimbressen Jewish community inaugurated a synagogue—with 46 seats for men, 30 for women—at 3 An der Nebelbeeke (87 Ostsstrasse since 1932); the west side of the building housed a school and a teacher’s apartment. The community maintained a mikveh and, after 1844, a school whose teacher also served as chazzan and shochet (the school closed in 1934). Meimbressen’s regional Jewish cemetery, consecrated in the late 17th century, was one of the largest in Hesse. The community was the only one in Hesse to pray according to the Polish rites; other unique practices were probably brought to Meimbressen by Jewish survivors of the Chmielnicki massacres (1648/49). Eleven Jewish schoolchildren received religious instruction in 1932. The interior of the Meimbressen synagogue and its contents were destroyed on Pogrom Night. Two Jews were sent to Buchenwald, the school was destroyed and gravestones were stolen from the cemetery. Thirty-three Jews emigrated and others relocated within Germany. The remaining Jews were ordered to leave Meimbressen soon after Pogrom Night, after which most moved to Kassel. At least 40 Meimbressen Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue, sold to the municipality in 1939, was later converted into a residential building; in 1988, a memorial stone was unveiled at the site. The cemetery also houses a memorial.
Photo: The synagogue of Meimbressen, probably in the 1920s. Courtesy of: Town Museum of Hofgeismar, Photo Archive.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-HNF
Located in: hesse