General information: First Jewish presence: 13th century; peak Jewish population: 172 in 1890; Jewish population in 1933: 79
Summary: The Jewish community of Hammelburg, one of the oldest in Bavaria, established a synagogue in 1570, a cemetery in 1536, a mikveh in 1604 and a yeshiva at some point during the 17th century. Jews were expelled from Hammelburg in 1671, but the new community (established not long afterwards) built a synagogue and mikveh in 1770. The community also maintained a Jewish school. In 1933, several Jewish associations were active in Hammelburg, including branches of the Zionist movement and of Keren Kayemet (the Jewish National Fund). In 1938, religious services and the use of the cemetery were prohibited. Many Jews were forced to sell their homes at a fraction of their actual value. On Pogrom Night, the interior of the synagogue was destroyed; its ritual objects were burned. Jewish homes were vandalized, and all Jews, including a baby and an 86-year-old blind man, were imprisoned for two days. Two Jewish men were deported to Dachau. During the Nazi period, 31 Hammelburg Jews emigrated and 49 relocated within Germany. By July 1939, all but two Jews, both of whom were married to Christians, had left Hammelburg. At least 38 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The wall near the former synagogue site bears a memorial inscription. Interested historians can also refer to a surviving Hammelburg machzor (a book of prayers for the Jewish holidays) from 1347, an invaluable source of information about German Jewry.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL, PK BAV
Located in: bavaria