General information: First Jewish presence: 1444; peak Jewish population: unknown; Jewish population in 1933: unknown (36 in 1931)
Summary: From 1702 until 1784, Weisenau was ruled by an electoral office of the Archbishop of Mainz and by the local Immunity of the Provost of the St. Victor Monastery. This resulted in two Jewish communities, the Electoral Jews and the Immunity Jews, who were united into one community in 1784. Weisenau’s 18th-century Jewish community made up 21% of the total population of the town. The earliest record of a synagogue is dated 1722. In 1737, the Immunity Jews built a new synagogue on Wormser Strasse while the Electoral Jews established a prayer hall on land owned by the electoral office of the Archbishop of Mainz. Later, in 1760, the Immunity Jews purchased a house (it neighbored the synagogue) and established a community center and mikveh there. That synagogue’s roof was destroyed by fire in 1793, but it was not until 1818 that the community was able to repair the damage; other renovations were carried out during the 19th and 20th centuries. The synagogue closed down in July 1938. Local Jews conducted burials in Mainz until 1881, when the community consecrated its own cemetery on Portlandstrasse. Nazis looted the synagogue on Pogrom Night, soon after which, in 1939, the building was sold for much less than its true value. Altogether, eight local Jews, Weisenau’s last, were deported in 1941 and 1943. At least five Weisenau Jews perished in the Shoah. After World War II, a local resident purchased the synagogue building and converted it into a chicken coop and woodshed. The Order of St. Vincent inherited the synagogue in 1978 and donated it to the municipality of Mainz in 1985, at which point the building was listed as a historical monument; during the years 1988 to 1996, the municipality restored the building and converted it into a memorial.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn
Sources: AJ, EJL, LFD-RP, S\MZG, YV