General information: First Jewish presence: 1400; peak Jewish population: 400 in 1837; Jewish population in 1933: 28
Summary: In 1726, the Jews of Altenkunstadt built a synagogue in an area known as the Judenhof (“Jews’ yard”). The community established a school in 1809, a new synagogue in 1822 and a Jewish elementary school in 1869, the last of which (it was located inside the synagogue building) was presided over by a teacher who also served the community as a chazzan and shochet. Burials were conducted at the Burgkunstadt cemetery. In 1933, a women’s association (founded in 1890) was still active in Altenkunstadt. The community lost its status as an independent community in 1938, when it was affiliated with Bamberg. On Pogrom Night, local SA men broke into the synagogue and destroyed its contents. Three Altenkunstadt Jews moved to the United States, nine relocated within Germany and two died in Altenkunstadt. Thirteen were deported to Izbica, via Bamberg, in April, 1942. A Jewish father and his daughter managed to survive the war in Altenkunstadt. At least 41 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue (a detention center during World War II) housed refugees after the war. In 1993, after four years of restoration work, the former house of worship reopened as a museum and cultural center housing a permanent exhibition on local Jewish history.
Photo: The synagogue of Altenkirchen after it was destroyed, photograph taken on November 11, 1938. Courtesy of: the Heinz Kraemer Collection, Altenkirchen.
Author / Sources: Yaakov Borut; Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-BAV
Located in: bavaria