The Jewish soldiers in World War I


War memorial at Großenberg. Plaque for the Jewish soldiers who died in WW I.



War memorial at Großenberg. In the foreground the plaque for the fallen Jewish soldiers.


At the end of July 1914 the First World War began. On August 1 the German Kaiserreich declared War on Russia. The same day the “Organization of German Jews and the Central Society of German Citizens of Jewish Belief” published the following proclamation:

“To the German Jews!

In a crucial hour the fatherland summons its sons to flock to the colours. It goes without saying that every German Jew should be ready to sacrifice his share of possession and blood that we are obliged to give.
Brothers in faith! We request and expect of you that you give yourselves and devote all your vigour to the fatherland beyond the limit of duty. Voluntarily hurry to the colours! All of you, men and women, join in the service of the fatherland by personal support of any kind and by donating your wealth and possessions.

Numerous Jewish men from Mellrichstadt obeyed this proclamation. Many of them were decorated for their service and their courage in the course of the war.

The decorated ones:

Iron Cross, First Class:
Neuberger, Robert

Iron Cross, Second Class:
Adler, Leopold
Adler, Ludwig Friedrich
Blüthe, Oskar
Gottlieb, Sigmund
Katz, Fritz
Lonnerstädter, Siegfried
Mantel, Friedrich
Mantel, Julius
Mantel, Max
Meyer, Fritz I
Meyer, Fritz II
Mussliner, Ludwig
Neuberger, Julius
Neuberger, Karl
Neuberger, Robert
Prager, Guido
Stein, Julius

Military Cross of Merit, Third Class with crown and swords:
Mantel, Friedrich
Mantel, Max

Military Cross of Merit, Third Class with swords:
Blüthe, Oskar
Edelmuth, Hugo
Neuberger, Karl
Prager Guido

Military Cross of Merit, Third Class:
Hellmann, Julius

The Cross of King Ludwig:
Blum, Adolf
Nußbaum, David

Medal of Service for the Territorial Forces, Second class:
Blum, Adolf
Weinberg, Theodor

At the end of the war the Jewish community of Mellrichstadt bemoaned eleven soldiers killed in action:

Born on 07 Dec 1883 – Adler, Leopold – killed in action on 20 May 1918
Born on 23 Dec 1886 – Blum, Ludwig – killed in action on 21 Feb 1917
Born on 23 May 1884 – Hellmann, Julius – died on 02 April 1919
Born on 01 May 1888 – Mantel, Siegfried – killed in action on 18 Nov 1914
Born on 06 Feb 1885 – Meyer, Albin – killed in action on 09 July 1916
Born on 18 April 1890 – Neuberger, Max – killed in action on 22 Aug 1915
Born on 17 July 1896 – Neuberger, Sigmund – killed in action on 10 Oct 1916
Born on 23 April 1892 – Neuberger, Moritz – died on 02 Jan 1919
Born on 06 May 1883 – Nußbaum, Sally – missing in action since 15 June 1916
Born on 01 June 1887 – Sacki, Moritz – killed in action on 31 Oct 1914
Born on 14 March 1889 – Sacki, Siegfried – missing in action since 12 Aug1918
Saturday, 29 July 1922
The Jewish community had a memorial plaque of dark grey marble made by the sculptor Halbig. There the names of the eleven war victims were engraved in golden letters. The plaque was consecrated in a solemn service and it was installed in the interior of the synagogue.

Friday, 30 September 1938
After the destruction of the synagogue the then Town Mayor and sculptor Alfons Halbig took the plaque to his studio.
There the beaten gold was removed from the letters, making the names of the killed soldiers almost illegible.

24 August 1950
In the process of making amends Town Mayor Halbig declared at the negotiations at Schweinfurt that the plaque from the synagogue was still in his custody.

The illegible memorial plaque came to the Salzhaus, the newly opened museum of local history. Here it has been kept as an object of exhibition.

National Day of Mourning 1958
Town Mayor Alfons Halbig had a new wartime memorial built in honour of the soldiers killed in action in both World War I and II.
The names of the Jewish soldiers killed in World War I, however, were missing.

A member of the town council had called attention to the missing of these names. Then the names were added on an extra plaque in the war memorial.