General information: First Jewish presence: 1283; peak Jewish population: 165 in 1910; Jewish population in 1933: 126
Summary: The earliest available record of a Jewish presence in Mellrichstadt tells us that four Jews were burned at the stake there in 1283. The community established a cemetery in 1869 and a synagogue, at 50 Hauptstrasse, in 1881. Local Jews also maintained a mikveh and a school for religious studies. On September 30, 1938 (a few weeks before Pogrom Night), during a riot instigated by refugees from the Sudetenland, the synagogue’s interior was destroyed, as were several ritual objects. Windows in Jewish homes were broken, Jewish businesses were looted and the cemetery was desecrated. On Pogrom Night, Jewish homeowners were detained at the Bad Neustadt prison; they were released after they agreed to sell their homes, after which one committed suicide and several others were deported to Dachau. Thirty-six Mellrichstadt Jews emigrated, 46 relocated within Germany and 14 died in Mellrichstadt. In 1942, the remaining Jews (with the exception of a Jewish woman who was married to a Christian) were sent to Wuerzburg. Of these, 24 were deported to Izbica (in April) and nine to Theresienstadt (in September). At least 50 Mellrichstadt Jews perished in the Shoah. A bank was later built on the former synagogue site. The cemetery was restored after 1945, and in 2004 Al Gruen of Chicago funded the construction of a Shoah memorial in Mellrichstadt.
Photo: The synagogue of Mellrichstadt. Courtesy of: Leo Baeck Institute Photo Archive, 3335.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL, PK BAV
Located in: bavaria