Schenklengsfeld

General information: First Jewish presence: 1494; peak Jewish population: 166 in 1910 (18% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 152 or 127
Summary: In 1494, a Jew named Joseph was permitted to settle in Schenklengsfeld with his family. Records from 1678 mention the presence of so-called Schutzjuden (“protected Jews”) in Schenklengsfeld. The mostly Orthodox community, formed as an independent community in the 1820s, was, during the 1880s and 1890s, one of the largest in the district rabbinate of Fulda, with 50 families. Inaugurated in 1833, the community’s prayer room served as a Jewish school; the building also housed an apartment for the teacher. Other communal institutions included a youth movement (founded in 1827), a Talmud society, a chevra kadisha, a mikveh, a school and a cemetery, the last of which was consecrated in 1870. In 1883, the community inaugurated a new synagogue at 17 hinter Landecker Strasse. Although local records do not mention the Nazis’ anti- Jewish boycott, it is likely that it was implemented in Schenklengsfeld, for Jews there had been terrorized by the SA and by the Nazi Party well before the Nazis’ election victories. The school was closed down on or about 1936, and we also know that the cemetery was vandalized. On Pogrom Night, an anti-Jewish demonstration took place in front of the synagogue; the building, however, was not set on fire. Nine Jewish men were arrested, and all but one were sent Buchenwald. At the end of 1939, by which point most local Jews had emigrated from or relocated within Germany, only six Jews lived in Schenklengsfeld. Records suggest that the community was dissolved in 1938. Later, in February 1939, the Nazi Party ordered that the synagogue building be torn down. All Jews had left the town by September 1940. Twentythree Schenklengsfeld Jews were killed in the Shoah. A memorial plaque was unveiled next to the former synagogue site in 1988. In the late 1990s, a Jewish museum was opened in Schenklengsfeld. The Jewish cemetery contains 100 gravestones.
Author / Sources: Benjamin Rosendahl
Sources: AJ, LJG, SG-H, YV
Located in: Hesse