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The Jewish Community of Hanau

Hanau

A town in Main-Kinzig district, Hesse, Germany. Part of West Germany until the unification of Germany in October 1990.

 

21ST CENTURY

In 2005, Hanau was home to a Jewish community of approximately 130 members, most of whom were immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

 

HISTORY

The earliest documented evidence for the presence of Jews in Hanau dates from 1313. The community was destroyed, however, in the wake of the Black Death (1348-1349) when anti-Jewish violence broke out throughout Europe. The synagogue was confiscated, and Jewish communal life came to an end.

In 1429 two Jewish families were living in Hanau, the first Jews to live in the city since the previous century. Later, in 1603, ten Jewish families were granted permission (Judenstaettigkeit) to settle in the city by Count Philip Ludwig II. These families were also given permission to build a special quarter (Judengasse), and to construct a synagogue, which was dedicated in 1608. The community also consecrated a cemetery in 1603.

By 1607 the community had grown to 159; 100 years later there were 111 families (600-700 individuals) living in the city.

Hanau’s Jewish community grew in prominence during the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1659 a prestigious conference took place in Hanau representing five Jewish communities. A number of Jewish scholars were also active in Hanau during this period, including Rabbi Tuviah Sontheim (1755-1830), who served as the Landrabbiner beginning in 1798, and as the chief rabbi for the province of Hanau from 1824 to 1830. He was succeeded by Samson Felsenstein (1835-1882).

During the 17th and 18th centuries Hanau also developed into an important center for Hebrew printing. Hans Jacob Hena's press, which was established in 1610, published important works, including responsa by Jacob Weil, Solomon b. Adret, Judah Minz, and Jacob B. Asher's Arba'ah Turim. Within 20 years the press produced a large number of rabbinic, kabbalistic, and liturgical works. H. J. Bashuysen became the town’s main printer about 100 years later; works published by his printing press included Isaac Abrabanel's Torah commentary (1709). In 1714 Bashuysen's press was taken over by J. J. Beausang and was active until 1797. Several court Jews lived in Hanau during the last quarter of the 18th century, most of whom were occupied in supplying the army.

Beginning in 1806 the Jews were allowed to live in any part of the town they chose, although they were not fully emancipated until 1866.

The community numbered 540 in 1805, and 80 families in 1830. In 1871 the Jewish population was 447. By the turn of the 20th century there were 657 Jews living in Hanau. In 1925 the Jewish population was 568. By the time that the Nazi Party rose to power in March of 1933 there were 447 Jews living in Hanau.

In 1933 community institutions included a synagogue, a cemetery, three charitable societies, and a religious school attended by 75 children. Jews were active in the town’s commercial and industrial life, but the economic boycotts initiated by the Nazis took their toll. By May 1939 Hanau’s Jewish population had dropped to 107, due mainly to immigration.

 

THE HOLOCAUST

The synagogue was burned down during the Pogrom Night (November 9-10, 1938). Once the site was cleared, ownership over the property was transferred to the town. The teachers' residences, which were owned by the community, were demolished and the cemetery was desecrated.

The last 26 Jews remaining in Hanau were deported in 1942 to Auschwitz and Theresienstadt. Another five Jews, partners of mixed marriages, remained in the town throughout the course of the war.

 

POSTWAR

In 1968 there were a few Jews living in Hanau.

Place Type:
Town
ID Number:
265328
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Related items:
Grammarian

He was born in Hanau where his father officiated as cantor. He taught in Frankfurt, where in 1708 he published a Hebrew grammar caustically criticizing earlier grammarians. This offended the leaders of the community and Hanau moved to Hamburg where he taught and continued his linguistic research. His best-known work Tsohar ha-Tevah ,incorporating all his grammatical innovations, went through twelve editions and greatly influenced all future Hebrew grammarians. His listing of "errors" in the current prayer books drew the anger of community leaders and he moved to Amsterdam, moved from place to place in Germany, dying in Hanover.

Moritz Daniel Oppenheim (1801-1882) Painter.

Born of Orthodox parents in Hanau, he received there his first instruction in painting and moved on to the Munich Academy of Arts at age 17. He went to Paris and then to Rome where he made studies of life in the ghetto in preparation for several large canvases which he painted on his return to Germany. In 1825 he settled in Frankfurt where his painting "David playing before Saul' attracted many admirers. In 1832, at the instance of Goethe, the duke of Saxe Weimar conferred on him the title of professor. He established a reputation as one of the foremost Jewish artists of the 19th century, noted for his genre and portrait paintings. One of his best-known works is 'Home Coming of a Jewish Soldier'.

HANAU

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birth place, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives.

Hanau is a town in Hesse-Nassau, Prussia (Germany), where Jews lived since the early 13th century and which was an important centre for Hebrew printing in the 17th and 18th centuries.

As a surname, Hanau is documented in Frankfurt am Main in 1332 with Jakob von Hanau.

Distinguished bearers of this Jewish family name include Zebi Hirsch Ha-Levi Ben Haggai Enoch (Fraenkel) Hanau (1662-1740), Austrian-born German rabbi; Solomon Ben Judah Hanau (1687-1746), German grammarian, born in Hanau, and Richard Hanau, 20th century U.S. physicist and educator.
HANAUER

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birth place, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives.

The German ending "-er" means "of/from". Hanau is a town in Hesse-Nassau, Prussia (Germany), where Jews lived since the early 13th century and which was an important centre for Hebrew printing in the 17th and 18th centuries.

As a surname, Hanau is documented in Frankfurt am Main in 1332 with Jakob von Hanau.

Distinguished bearers of this Jewish family name include Zebi Hirsch Ha-Levi Ben Haggai Enoch (Fraenkel) Hanau (1662-1740), Austrian-born German rabbi; Solomon Ben Judah Hanau (1687-1746), German grammarian, born in Hanau, and Richard Hanau, 20th century U.S. physicist and educator.

The German ending "-er" means "of/from". A distinguished bearer of this name was the 19th/20th century German physician, Wilhelm Hanauer, professor of social medicine and historian.

Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812) Fiancier.

Born in Frankfurt, he attended a rabbinical school in Fuerth and after his father's death was sent to Hanover to train in banking. Returning to Frankfurt, he acted as money-changer and set up business as a general trader. He produced an annual art catalogue of rare objets d'art and in 1769 was appointed supplier to the principality of Hesse-Hanau. Rothschild prospered and helped to restore the fortunes of the ruler, the Landgrave William, after the French occupation. He served as intermediary for several members of royalty and in 1800 was appointed imperial crown agent. At the same time he provided loans to Napoleon. Rothschild was instrumental in obtaining equal citizenship rights for the Jews of Frankfurt. He always remained in his home in the ghetto marked by a red shield (hence his name). He had 19 children; five sons and five girls survived. He took his sons into the business and eventually they spread through Europe and developed the famous banking syndicate.

Nyanaponika Thera (also Mahathera) (born Siegmund Feniger) (1901-1994), Buddhist monk, author, and teacher, co-founder of the Buddhist Publication Society, born in Hanau, Germany, into a Jewish family. He received a traditional Jewish upbringing and was very interested in religious matters. He first discovered Buddhism while working in the book trade. In 1921 he moved to Berlin, along with his family. In Berlin he met the first Buddhists, among them Nyānatiloka Mahāthera (Anton Walther Florus Gueth) (1878-1957), the first German Buddhist monk and the founder of the "Island Hermitage" in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), a hermitage that was also open to Western monks. Fleeing the Nazi regime in Germany, Feniger moved to Austria in 1935. One year later he joined Nyānatiloka Mahāthera in Ceylon and in 1937 he was ordained a Buddhist monk and took the name Nyanaponika ("inclined to knowledge").

In 1939, Nyanaponika organized the escape of his mother and other relatives from Nazi Germany, and their immigration to Sri Lanka. His mother too became a devoted Buddhist.

After the outbreak of WW II, along with Nyānatiloka, he was interned by the British as an “enemy German” and detained for the duration of the war, first in the Diyatalawa Army Cantonment in Sri Lanka, and then in the Dehra Dun camp in northern India.

He returned to Sri Lanka in 1946, and later, along with his teacher, he settled in the newly established meditation center Forest Hermitage in Kandy in the highlands of Sri Lanka. In 1951 he became a citizen of Sri Lanka. He participated in the 6th Buddhist Council in Rangoon (Yangon) in Myanmar (then known as Burma) in 1954, where he met the meditation master Mahasi Sayadaw.

In 1958 he was appointed director and editor of the newly founded Buddhist Publication Society (BPS), a position he held until 1984. Nyanaponika became a world-renowned publisher for the dissemination of the Buddhist teachings, particularly in Switzerland and Germany.

In 1978 Nyanaponika was appointed an honorary member of the German Oriental Society. He was awarded a Honoris Causa Degree of Doctor from the University of Sri Lanka in 1987, and another one from University of Peradeniya in 1990

His works include many translations of Buddhist writings, including Gruppierte Sammlung (Samyutta Nikaya) Book II (17–21) and the entire Book III (22–34) (1925-1930), and Angereihte Sammlung (Anguttara Nikaya). He is the author of a number of books, among them Geistestraining durch Achtsamkeit (1970), and Im Lichte des Dhamma (1989). His works have been translated in numerous languages.

Nyanaponika Thera died at Forest Hermitage in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

Hochstadt

A district of the city of Maintal in the Main-Kinzig district in Hesse, Germany.

First Jewish presence: 16th century; peak Jewish population: 46 in 1856; Jewish population in 1933: approximately: 30

The Jewish community of Hochstadt, established in the 18th century and affiliated with the community in Hanau, initially conducted services in a prayer room. In or around 1850, a synagogue—with 55 seats for men, 53 for women— was erected at 43 Hauptstrasse, next door to which was the mikveh. Later, in 1868, a Jewish school was built in front of the synagogue. The community maintained its own cemetery on Brunnenstrasse until 1850, at which point local Jews commenced to bury the dead in Hanau. In 1933, five children studied religion with a teacher who also served as chazzan and shochet. A Jewish welfare association, founded in 1879 or in 1889, was active in the community.

On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), local SA troops damaged the synagogue’s interior and vandalized a Jewish home. In 1940, the synagogue was sold to the local municipality. Several local Jews emigrated or moved to Frankfurt am Main and to other German cities. By 1939, only five Jews lived in Hochstadt, all of whom were deported in 1942. At least 22 Hochstadt perished in the Shoah. According to records, one Jew returned to Hochstadt after the war. Memorial “stumbling blocks” were later unveiled on Ritterstrasse.

-------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Langendiebach

A village in the municipality of Erlensee in the Main-Kinzig district in Hesse, Germany. 

First Jewish presence: 17th century; peak Jewish population: 100 in 1861 (7.2% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 36

In 1747, the Langendiebach Jewish community established a synagogue—with 21 seats for men, 10 for women—in a private residence at 33, Wilhelmstrasse (present-day Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse). According to one report, the house accommodated a schoolroom and lodgings for the teacher, while the barn housed the synagogue. Other communal institutions included a mikveh (at 23 August-Bebel-Strasse) and a Jewish school, the latter of which was presided over by a teacher by the name of Katzenstein from 1860 until 1900. The community, an affiliate of Hanau, conducted burials in Rueckingen and Langenselbold. In 1933, 36 Jews lived in Langendiebach. A teacher/ shochet from Wachenbuchen instructed five schoolchildren in religion. Later on Pogrom Night, November 9-10 1938, SA troops damaged the synagogue and set its interior on fire; books and ritual items were burned on the street. Twenty-two local Jews managed to emigrate (they went mainly to South Africa, Canada, and the United States). Several died in Langendiebach, and by 1939 only 12 Jews lived in the town. In 1941/42, 11 local Jews were deported. At least 25 Langendiebach Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue building was torn down either in 1939 or in the 1950s. A shop was later erected there, and in 1961 a memorial plaque was unveiled at the site.

-------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Langenselbold

A town in the Main-Kinzig district, in Hesse, Germany. 

First Jewish presence: 1682; peak Jewish population: 178 in 1861; Jewish population in 1933: 226

Records from 1682 mention two Jewish families in Langenselbold. A Jewish community developed there in the late 17th or early 18th century. In the years 1682 to 1714, services were conducted in a synagogue at 17 Rotehohl, after which the community attended a synagogue on the Judengasse (“Jews’ alley”). In 1849, a synagogue was established in a farmhouse at 41 Steinweg; the dedication of a new Torah scroll was celebrated there in 1903, and we also know that the synagogue was enlarged in 1907. Other communal institutions included a mikveh, a cemetery (18th century) and a Jewish elementary school (closed in 1934), the last of which was located at 43 Steinweg and was presided over by a teacher who also served as shochet and chazzan. The community was affiliated with the rabbinate of Hanau.

In 1933, 226 Jews lived in Langenselbold. That year, a teacher instructed 11 schoolchildren at Jewish elementary school. Four welfare associations looked after the sick: an Israelite women’s association (1905), two benevolent societies and a Schomer Mizwoh-Verein, or “association of the mitzvah-observant” (1923). The town council introduced severe anti-Jewish measures in 1935, whereupon several Jewish families emigrated or moved to other German cities. On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 193), SA troops and members of the local Hitler Youth damaged the synagogue’s interior, smashed its windows, burned Torah scrolls in the courtyard and destroyed the community’s hearse. Jewish men were arrested and sent to Buchenwald. In 1939, 96 Jews lived in Langenselbold, 17 of whom moved to Frankfurt am Main. The remaining Jews were deported in 1941 and 1942. Records mention that the synagogue was converted into a kindergarten belonging to the Nazi Welfare Organization in 1941. At least 110 Langenselbold Jews perished in the Shoah. Sold to a physician after the war, the synagogue building was converted into an apartment building in the 1960s. In 1988, a memorial plaque was affixed to the local Protestant church.

------------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Somborn

A village in the municipality of Freigericht in the Main-Kinzig district in Hesse, Germany. 

First Jewish presence: unknown; peak Jewish presence: 47 in 1905 and in 1933

The Jews of Somborn belonged to the community of Meerholz until 1905. Religious services were initially conducted in prayer rooms, but in 1906 the newly-founded Somborn community established a synagogue (40 seats for men, 27 for women) at 14 Josephstrasse. Although the community was able to maintain a religious school and a mikveh, burials took place in Niedermittlau. Jewish children attended the elementary school in Meerholz. Somborn belonged to the Hanau district rabbinate. In 1931/32, the community leaders were Josef Sonneberg and Siegfried Strauss. Leo Strauss instructed six children in religion that year. Forty-seven Jews lived in Somborn in 1933, shortly after which seven emigrated from or relocated within Germany. On Pogrom Night (November 9, 1938), the interior of the synagogue was destroyed; during the Shoah, the building housed prisoners of war. Only four Jews lived in Somborn in 1939; in 1942, the last two were deported. At least 19 Somborn Jews perished in the Shoah. During the years 1945 to 1955, the former synagogue building was used as a school. It stood empty until 1966, when it was converted into a residential building. In November 2002, a plaque commemorating the destroyed community was affixed to the house of Josef Sonneberg, a former Jewish resident.

-------------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

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The Jewish Community of Hanau

Hanau

A town in Main-Kinzig district, Hesse, Germany. Part of West Germany until the unification of Germany in October 1990.

 

21ST CENTURY

In 2005, Hanau was home to a Jewish community of approximately 130 members, most of whom were immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

 

HISTORY

The earliest documented evidence for the presence of Jews in Hanau dates from 1313. The community was destroyed, however, in the wake of the Black Death (1348-1349) when anti-Jewish violence broke out throughout Europe. The synagogue was confiscated, and Jewish communal life came to an end.

In 1429 two Jewish families were living in Hanau, the first Jews to live in the city since the previous century. Later, in 1603, ten Jewish families were granted permission (Judenstaettigkeit) to settle in the city by Count Philip Ludwig II. These families were also given permission to build a special quarter (Judengasse), and to construct a synagogue, which was dedicated in 1608. The community also consecrated a cemetery in 1603.

By 1607 the community had grown to 159; 100 years later there were 111 families (600-700 individuals) living in the city.

Hanau’s Jewish community grew in prominence during the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1659 a prestigious conference took place in Hanau representing five Jewish communities. A number of Jewish scholars were also active in Hanau during this period, including Rabbi Tuviah Sontheim (1755-1830), who served as the Landrabbiner beginning in 1798, and as the chief rabbi for the province of Hanau from 1824 to 1830. He was succeeded by Samson Felsenstein (1835-1882).

During the 17th and 18th centuries Hanau also developed into an important center for Hebrew printing. Hans Jacob Hena's press, which was established in 1610, published important works, including responsa by Jacob Weil, Solomon b. Adret, Judah Minz, and Jacob B. Asher's Arba'ah Turim. Within 20 years the press produced a large number of rabbinic, kabbalistic, and liturgical works. H. J. Bashuysen became the town’s main printer about 100 years later; works published by his printing press included Isaac Abrabanel's Torah commentary (1709). In 1714 Bashuysen's press was taken over by J. J. Beausang and was active until 1797. Several court Jews lived in Hanau during the last quarter of the 18th century, most of whom were occupied in supplying the army.

Beginning in 1806 the Jews were allowed to live in any part of the town they chose, although they were not fully emancipated until 1866.

The community numbered 540 in 1805, and 80 families in 1830. In 1871 the Jewish population was 447. By the turn of the 20th century there were 657 Jews living in Hanau. In 1925 the Jewish population was 568. By the time that the Nazi Party rose to power in March of 1933 there were 447 Jews living in Hanau.

In 1933 community institutions included a synagogue, a cemetery, three charitable societies, and a religious school attended by 75 children. Jews were active in the town’s commercial and industrial life, but the economic boycotts initiated by the Nazis took their toll. By May 1939 Hanau’s Jewish population had dropped to 107, due mainly to immigration.

 

THE HOLOCAUST

The synagogue was burned down during the Pogrom Night (November 9-10, 1938). Once the site was cleared, ownership over the property was transferred to the town. The teachers' residences, which were owned by the community, were demolished and the cemetery was desecrated.

The last 26 Jews remaining in Hanau were deported in 1942 to Auschwitz and Theresienstadt. Another five Jews, partners of mixed marriages, remained in the town throughout the course of the war.

 

POSTWAR

In 1968 there were a few Jews living in Hanau.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Hanau ,Solomon Zalman
Grammarian

He was born in Hanau where his father officiated as cantor. He taught in Frankfurt, where in 1708 he published a Hebrew grammar caustically criticizing earlier grammarians. This offended the leaders of the community and Hanau moved to Hamburg where he taught and continued his linguistic research. His best-known work Tsohar ha-Tevah ,incorporating all his grammatical innovations, went through twelve editions and greatly influenced all future Hebrew grammarians. His listing of "errors" in the current prayer books drew the anger of community leaders and he moved to Amsterdam, moved from place to place in Germany, dying in Hanover.
Moritz Daniel Oppenheim

Moritz Daniel Oppenheim (1801-1882) Painter.

Born of Orthodox parents in Hanau, he received there his first instruction in painting and moved on to the Munich Academy of Arts at age 17. He went to Paris and then to Rome where he made studies of life in the ghetto in preparation for several large canvases which he painted on his return to Germany. In 1825 he settled in Frankfurt where his painting "David playing before Saul' attracted many admirers. In 1832, at the instance of Goethe, the duke of Saxe Weimar conferred on him the title of professor. He established a reputation as one of the foremost Jewish artists of the 19th century, noted for his genre and portrait paintings. One of his best-known works is 'Home Coming of a Jewish Soldier'.

HANAU
HANAU

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birth place, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives.

Hanau is a town in Hesse-Nassau, Prussia (Germany), where Jews lived since the early 13th century and which was an important centre for Hebrew printing in the 17th and 18th centuries.

As a surname, Hanau is documented in Frankfurt am Main in 1332 with Jakob von Hanau.

Distinguished bearers of this Jewish family name include Zebi Hirsch Ha-Levi Ben Haggai Enoch (Fraenkel) Hanau (1662-1740), Austrian-born German rabbi; Solomon Ben Judah Hanau (1687-1746), German grammarian, born in Hanau, and Richard Hanau, 20th century U.S. physicist and educator.
HANAUER
HANAUER

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birth place, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives.

The German ending "-er" means "of/from". Hanau is a town in Hesse-Nassau, Prussia (Germany), where Jews lived since the early 13th century and which was an important centre for Hebrew printing in the 17th and 18th centuries.

As a surname, Hanau is documented in Frankfurt am Main in 1332 with Jakob von Hanau.

Distinguished bearers of this Jewish family name include Zebi Hirsch Ha-Levi Ben Haggai Enoch (Fraenkel) Hanau (1662-1740), Austrian-born German rabbi; Solomon Ben Judah Hanau (1687-1746), German grammarian, born in Hanau, and Richard Hanau, 20th century U.S. physicist and educator.

The German ending "-er" means "of/from". A distinguished bearer of this name was the 19th/20th century German physician, Wilhelm Hanauer, professor of social medicine and historian.
Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812) Fiancier.

Born in Frankfurt, he attended a rabbinical school in Fuerth and after his father's death was sent to Hanover to train in banking. Returning to Frankfurt, he acted as money-changer and set up business as a general trader. He produced an annual art catalogue of rare objets d'art and in 1769 was appointed supplier to the principality of Hesse-Hanau. Rothschild prospered and helped to restore the fortunes of the ruler, the Landgrave William, after the French occupation. He served as intermediary for several members of royalty and in 1800 was appointed imperial crown agent. At the same time he provided loans to Napoleon. Rothschild was instrumental in obtaining equal citizenship rights for the Jews of Frankfurt. He always remained in his home in the ghetto marked by a red shield (hence his name). He had 19 children; five sons and five girls survived. He took his sons into the business and eventually they spread through Europe and developed the famous banking syndicate.

Nyanaponika Thera

Nyanaponika Thera (also Mahathera) (born Siegmund Feniger) (1901-1994), Buddhist monk, author, and teacher, co-founder of the Buddhist Publication Society, born in Hanau, Germany, into a Jewish family. He received a traditional Jewish upbringing and was very interested in religious matters. He first discovered Buddhism while working in the book trade. In 1921 he moved to Berlin, along with his family. In Berlin he met the first Buddhists, among them Nyānatiloka Mahāthera (Anton Walther Florus Gueth) (1878-1957), the first German Buddhist monk and the founder of the "Island Hermitage" in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), a hermitage that was also open to Western monks. Fleeing the Nazi regime in Germany, Feniger moved to Austria in 1935. One year later he joined Nyānatiloka Mahāthera in Ceylon and in 1937 he was ordained a Buddhist monk and took the name Nyanaponika ("inclined to knowledge").

In 1939, Nyanaponika organized the escape of his mother and other relatives from Nazi Germany, and their immigration to Sri Lanka. His mother too became a devoted Buddhist.

After the outbreak of WW II, along with Nyānatiloka, he was interned by the British as an “enemy German” and detained for the duration of the war, first in the Diyatalawa Army Cantonment in Sri Lanka, and then in the Dehra Dun camp in northern India.

He returned to Sri Lanka in 1946, and later, along with his teacher, he settled in the newly established meditation center Forest Hermitage in Kandy in the highlands of Sri Lanka. In 1951 he became a citizen of Sri Lanka. He participated in the 6th Buddhist Council in Rangoon (Yangon) in Myanmar (then known as Burma) in 1954, where he met the meditation master Mahasi Sayadaw.

In 1958 he was appointed director and editor of the newly founded Buddhist Publication Society (BPS), a position he held until 1984. Nyanaponika became a world-renowned publisher for the dissemination of the Buddhist teachings, particularly in Switzerland and Germany.

In 1978 Nyanaponika was appointed an honorary member of the German Oriental Society. He was awarded a Honoris Causa Degree of Doctor from the University of Sri Lanka in 1987, and another one from University of Peradeniya in 1990

His works include many translations of Buddhist writings, including Gruppierte Sammlung (Samyutta Nikaya) Book II (17–21) and the entire Book III (22–34) (1925-1930), and Angereihte Sammlung (Anguttara Nikaya). He is the author of a number of books, among them Geistestraining durch Achtsamkeit (1970), and Im Lichte des Dhamma (1989). His works have been translated in numerous languages.

Nyanaponika Thera died at Forest Hermitage in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

Hochstadt

Hochstadt

A district of the city of Maintal in the Main-Kinzig district in Hesse, Germany.

First Jewish presence: 16th century; peak Jewish population: 46 in 1856; Jewish population in 1933: approximately: 30

The Jewish community of Hochstadt, established in the 18th century and affiliated with the community in Hanau, initially conducted services in a prayer room. In or around 1850, a synagogue—with 55 seats for men, 53 for women— was erected at 43 Hauptstrasse, next door to which was the mikveh. Later, in 1868, a Jewish school was built in front of the synagogue. The community maintained its own cemetery on Brunnenstrasse until 1850, at which point local Jews commenced to bury the dead in Hanau. In 1933, five children studied religion with a teacher who also served as chazzan and shochet. A Jewish welfare association, founded in 1879 or in 1889, was active in the community.

On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), local SA troops damaged the synagogue’s interior and vandalized a Jewish home. In 1940, the synagogue was sold to the local municipality. Several local Jews emigrated or moved to Frankfurt am Main and to other German cities. By 1939, only five Jews lived in Hochstadt, all of whom were deported in 1942. At least 22 Hochstadt perished in the Shoah. According to records, one Jew returned to Hochstadt after the war. Memorial “stumbling blocks” were later unveiled on Ritterstrasse.

-------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Langendiebach

Langendiebach

A village in the municipality of Erlensee in the Main-Kinzig district in Hesse, Germany. 

First Jewish presence: 17th century; peak Jewish population: 100 in 1861 (7.2% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 36

In 1747, the Langendiebach Jewish community established a synagogue—with 21 seats for men, 10 for women—in a private residence at 33, Wilhelmstrasse (present-day Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse). According to one report, the house accommodated a schoolroom and lodgings for the teacher, while the barn housed the synagogue. Other communal institutions included a mikveh (at 23 August-Bebel-Strasse) and a Jewish school, the latter of which was presided over by a teacher by the name of Katzenstein from 1860 until 1900. The community, an affiliate of Hanau, conducted burials in Rueckingen and Langenselbold. In 1933, 36 Jews lived in Langendiebach. A teacher/ shochet from Wachenbuchen instructed five schoolchildren in religion. Later on Pogrom Night, November 9-10 1938, SA troops damaged the synagogue and set its interior on fire; books and ritual items were burned on the street. Twenty-two local Jews managed to emigrate (they went mainly to South Africa, Canada, and the United States). Several died in Langendiebach, and by 1939 only 12 Jews lived in the town. In 1941/42, 11 local Jews were deported. At least 25 Langendiebach Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue building was torn down either in 1939 or in the 1950s. A shop was later erected there, and in 1961 a memorial plaque was unveiled at the site.

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This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Langenselbold

Langenselbold

A town in the Main-Kinzig district, in Hesse, Germany. 

First Jewish presence: 1682; peak Jewish population: 178 in 1861; Jewish population in 1933: 226

Records from 1682 mention two Jewish families in Langenselbold. A Jewish community developed there in the late 17th or early 18th century. In the years 1682 to 1714, services were conducted in a synagogue at 17 Rotehohl, after which the community attended a synagogue on the Judengasse (“Jews’ alley”). In 1849, a synagogue was established in a farmhouse at 41 Steinweg; the dedication of a new Torah scroll was celebrated there in 1903, and we also know that the synagogue was enlarged in 1907. Other communal institutions included a mikveh, a cemetery (18th century) and a Jewish elementary school (closed in 1934), the last of which was located at 43 Steinweg and was presided over by a teacher who also served as shochet and chazzan. The community was affiliated with the rabbinate of Hanau.

In 1933, 226 Jews lived in Langenselbold. That year, a teacher instructed 11 schoolchildren at Jewish elementary school. Four welfare associations looked after the sick: an Israelite women’s association (1905), two benevolent societies and a Schomer Mizwoh-Verein, or “association of the mitzvah-observant” (1923). The town council introduced severe anti-Jewish measures in 1935, whereupon several Jewish families emigrated or moved to other German cities. On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 193), SA troops and members of the local Hitler Youth damaged the synagogue’s interior, smashed its windows, burned Torah scrolls in the courtyard and destroyed the community’s hearse. Jewish men were arrested and sent to Buchenwald. In 1939, 96 Jews lived in Langenselbold, 17 of whom moved to Frankfurt am Main. The remaining Jews were deported in 1941 and 1942. Records mention that the synagogue was converted into a kindergarten belonging to the Nazi Welfare Organization in 1941. At least 110 Langenselbold Jews perished in the Shoah. Sold to a physician after the war, the synagogue building was converted into an apartment building in the 1960s. In 1988, a memorial plaque was affixed to the local Protestant church.

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This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Somborn

Somborn

A village in the municipality of Freigericht in the Main-Kinzig district in Hesse, Germany. 

First Jewish presence: unknown; peak Jewish presence: 47 in 1905 and in 1933

The Jews of Somborn belonged to the community of Meerholz until 1905. Religious services were initially conducted in prayer rooms, but in 1906 the newly-founded Somborn community established a synagogue (40 seats for men, 27 for women) at 14 Josephstrasse. Although the community was able to maintain a religious school and a mikveh, burials took place in Niedermittlau. Jewish children attended the elementary school in Meerholz. Somborn belonged to the Hanau district rabbinate. In 1931/32, the community leaders were Josef Sonneberg and Siegfried Strauss. Leo Strauss instructed six children in religion that year. Forty-seven Jews lived in Somborn in 1933, shortly after which seven emigrated from or relocated within Germany. On Pogrom Night (November 9, 1938), the interior of the synagogue was destroyed; during the Shoah, the building housed prisoners of war. Only four Jews lived in Somborn in 1939; in 1942, the last two were deported. At least 19 Somborn Jews perished in the Shoah. During the years 1945 to 1955, the former synagogue building was used as a school. It stood empty until 1966, when it was converted into a residential building. In November 2002, a plaque commemorating the destroyed community was affixed to the house of Josef Sonneberg, a former Jewish resident.

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This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.