General information: First Jewish presence: late 13th century; peak Jewish population: 296 in 1811/12 (14% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 16
Summary: Wallerstein’s Jewish cemetery was established in or around the year 1510. The village, in which a rabbinate was headquartered from the 16th century until 1882, produced many renowned rabbis, among them Rabbi Moshe Levi Heller, referred to at the time as the “rabbi for the whole of Germany,” and his grandson, the famous Mishna commentator Rabbi Yom Tov Lippmann Heller (1579-1654). The community’s old synagogue and mikveh, located in the Judenhof (“Jews’ yard”), were demolished in 1804, after which, in 1807, a new synagogue was inaugurated in Wallerstein. Until the early 20th century, the community employed a teacher of religion who also served as chazzan and shochet. By 1933, only one child studied with a teacher who commuted to the village. Later, on Pogrom Night, the synagogue was attacked, its interior and ritual objects were destroyed. Two Wallerstein Jews emigrated, four relocated within Germany and three died in Wallerstein. In 1942, the village’s remaining six Jews were deported to Piaski and to Theresienstadt. At least 11 Wallerstein Jews perished in the Shoah. A large section of the Jewish cemetery was destroyed during the Nazi period. After 1945, the former synagogue housed a cinema; and in 1979, the building was demolished, after which a bank was built on the site. The design of the new structure incorporated the outline of the former synagogue.
Photo: The synagogue of Wallerstein. Courtesy of: The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, the Harburger Collection, P160/9.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL, PK BAV
Located in: bavaria