Unfolding CommunitiesThe Lost Jews of Mellrichstadt
Mellrichstadt Synagogue with Streubrücke (bridge over the stream Streu) and Statue of Saint Nepomuk.
Construction plan for the Synagogue by draftsman R. Rommel from Hof, dating 1879/1880.
Synagogue of Mellrichstadt.
View of the courtyard of the former synagogue.
Synagogue, detail of a painting. This is privately owned.
Synagogue with Streubrücke and a horse-drawn carriage.
Today Hauptstraße 60, the yellow building stands on the site of the former synagogue.
Today Hauptstraße 60.
Plaque commemorating the synagogue on the building Hauptstraße 60.
History of Mellrichstadt’s synagogue
Formerly Untere Hauptstraße 243, today Hauptstraße 60.
1873: The Jewish community, which had grown in number, planned the new building of a synagogue. This had become possible because since 1813 the Bavarian Jews had been allowed to purchase landed property.
Up to that year the community had had a prayer room only. It was located on the first floor of a house in the street called Langgasse.
The lot for the planned new building was situated at the south-western end of the town.
1874: Some members of the community withdrew their consent because of the costs to be expected.
Their doubts, however, could be smoothed. Thus, on July 24 th 1874 the decision for the building of the new synagogue could be made.
1876: The chairman of the Jewish community Levi Stern made an inquiry at the Royal Office of the District and the Government of Lower Franconia and Aschaffenburg. His desire was to get the permission for raising alms from all Jewish communities in the Kingdom of Bavaria. R. Rommel from the town of Hof was the designer of the architectural plan for the new building. The costs were estimated at 15,942.77 marks.
Stern said the community alone wasn’t able to afford this sum. 26 families belonged to the community, three of which were poor, eight had a low income only, twelve were well to do, but only three of them could be called rich.
The District Office forwarded the inquiry to the Government of Lower Franconia and Aschaffenburg, adding the benevolent remark that a new synagogue at the entrance to the town would contribute to its aesthetic improvement.
1877: In that year the amount of 1,272.74 marks from the alms were transferred to the Jewish community.
1879: The District Office reminded the community to start the building because the “unattractive sight at the town entrance should be abolished”.
Plan designer R. Rommel made a new plan as the former one had been lost.
The Government demanded to fix guide lines for the building and even gave the advice to look for another site for the building. But community chairman Levi Stern insisted on the building site that had been purchased before.
1880: Objections were made against those architectural guidelines, but they could be resolved in the course of the year. Again the District Office spoke in favor of the chosen building site, which was said to be representative for a house of God, moreover it was deemed to be picturesque and would have a welcome architectural effect on the ambience.
That same year R. Rommel’s former building plan was revised and higher windows were designed. The synagogue was planned to cover a square footage of 14 to 11.5 meters.
1880: The building permission was given on August 31 st , 1880.
1881: The new building was finished.
The solemn opening ceremony took place on September 16-17. It was under the guidance of Dr. Lazarus Adler, Chief Rabbi from Kassel. Adler was born at Unsleben (near Mellrichstadt) on November 10, 1810. He died at Wiesbaden on January 5, 1886.
1938: The synagogue was destroyed.
On September 30, 1938, a large crowd attacked the synagogue, smashing all windows, ripping off the Tablets of Law from the roof pediment and devastating the complete interior and its equipment.
The synagogue was now desecrated. Moreover, in the meantime the Jewish community had considerably decreased in number. This meant that they had not been able to pay for the repair of the damages. Thus, on November 29, 1938, the community sold the desecrated building to the town of Mellrichstadt for 200 reichsmarks.
1939: The town council of Mellrichstadt had the synagogue torn off. At its site a temporary home was built.
A shed had belonged to the synagogue where the community’s hearse had been placed. This shed was not torn off, now it served to keep feeding provender and timber.
1965: A dwelling and office building was built on the premises of the former synagogue. This building is still there.
1988: At this dwelling and office building a commemorative plaque was attached to remind of the synagogue and its fate and of the fate of the Jewish community in Mellrichstadt.