General information: First Jewish presence: 17th century; peak Jewish population: 282 in 1809/10 (40.1% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 17
Summary: The Jewish community of Wittelshofen inaugurated a synagogue on Postweg in 1843. (Records suggest that a synagogue existed in Wittelshofen before 1804.) The new synagogue housed a mikveh, a schoolroom and an apartment for a schoolteacher, who also served the community as chazzan and shochet. After 1927, a teacher from Moenchsroth traveled to Wittelshofen to instruct Jewish children in religion. Burials were conducted in Schopfloch. By 1928, the community could no longer gather 10 men for a minyan. During the Nazi period, local shop owners refused to sell food to their Jewish neighbors. Many of the village’s remaining Jews emigrated from Germany or relocated within the country; accordingly, the community was officially dissolved in September 1938, after which ritual objects from the defunct synagogue were transferred to the Association of Bavarian Jewish Communities in Munich, where they were destroyed on Pogrom Night. Wittelshofen’s synagogue was incinerated on Pogrom Night too. The village’s remaining eight Jews were arrested and taken to Nuremberg; they were released after a few days, but expelled from the village. Wittelshofen was declared “Judenfrei” (“free of Jews”) in January 1939. At least 24 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue building was demolished during the winter of 1938/39. Garages and a barn were built on the site after 1945. A memorial stone was later unveiled there.
Photo: Sitting in front of the synagogue in Wittelshofen. Courtesy of: US Holocaust Memorial Museum, 25821.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn
Located in: bavaria