General information: First Jewish presence: 17th century; peak Jewish population: 112 in 1910; Jewish population in 1933: 89
Summary: Jewish cattle traders and craftsmen played an important role in Alzenau’s economy from the mid-19th century onwards, as did Jewish-owned tobacco and furniture factories. Alzenau’s Jews established a synagogue in 1826 (it housed a classroom and a mikveh), a chevra kadisha in 1890 and a women’s organization in 1905. Schoolteachers also performed the duties of cantors and ritual slaughterers. The community buried its dead in Hoerstein. In April 1933, a Nazi boycott of Jewish-owned businesses was not immediately successful in Alzenau: By 1935, 20 Jewish-owned factories still employed approximately 2,100 workers and, up until the summer of 1937, local cattle trade was largely run by Jews. By 1935, however, anti-Semitism was on the rise: During the high holidays of October of that year, police had to intervene to protect Jews from violent attacks. Later, on Pogrom Night (November 1938), Jewish homes and businesses were attacked, as was the synagogue. Fifty-two Alzenau Jews emigrated, 24 relocated within Germany and eight died of natural causes. In 1942, the remaining 11 Jews were deported to Izbica (5 people) and Theresienstadt (6 people). At least 32 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue (sold in January 1939) was demolished in the 1960s to make room for a courtyard and garage. A commemorative plaque was unveiled nearby.
Author / Sources: Maren Cohen and Bronagh Bowerman; Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-BAV, SIA
Located in: bavaria