General information: First Jewish presence: 1599 (see below); peak Jewish population: 22 in 1871; Jewish population in 1933: 14
Summary: Although Jews were granted permission to settle in Koenigsfeld in 1336, the earliest record of a Jewish presence there is dated 1599. Local Jews were initially members of the Niederzissen community. The tiny Koenigsfeld community established a cemetery in 1838 and a synagogue in the 1840s, which was located on the upper floor of Bermann Gottschalk’s house on Hauptstrasse. Jewish schoolchildren from Koenigsfeld, Dedenbach and Schalkenbach studied religion—usually under the guidance of a teacher from Niederzissen—in the synagogue building. The Koenigsfeld community also maintained a mikveh. We also know that in 1847, the Jews of Koenigsfeld, Dedenbach and Schalkenbach formed one Jewish community. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue, which was then owned by Mathilde Gottschalk, was attacked. After destroying the synagogue’s interior and windows, SA men publicly burned the Torah scrolls, ritual objects and broken furniture in the village square. Mathilde Gottschalk sold the building in 1939, after which it was used for various purposes. At least nine Jews from Koenigsfeld and five from Dedenbach perished in the Shoah. The synagogue building was demolished in 1965, and a new building was built on the site. At some point during the 1960s, a section of the Jewish cemetery was fenced off and restored. The random way in which the 21 surviving headstones are arranged suggests that they were not placed on the matching graves. A commemorative plaque has been affixed to a former Jewish home at 1 Krumme Gasse.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, SG-RPS