Witnesses to the past

Witnesses to the past

The bad kissingen women’s ring invited members and guests to a search for traces of jewish life in bad kissingen – as the first event in the association’s fall program. Frauenring member marlies walter, who is a proven expert on the jewish history of bad kissingen, led a city walk to the homes and dwellings of well-known jewish families, bringing their often very sad history in the spa town back to life.
Until its destruction during the nazi era, bad kissingen was one of the largest and most important jewish communities in bavaria, with roots going back to the middle ages. The numerous "stolpersteine, the group of the women’s ring was accompanied on its way through the city by the memorial stones that had been laid in front of the places of residence or work of the victims of the nazi regime in bad kissingen in the past years.
The "judenhof" was the starting point of the investigation in the bachstrabe. Around 1850, the old synagogue was built in the bachstrabe, when it became too small, the new synagogue was built in the maxstrabe around 1900. In 1927/28 the old synagogue was demolished. The tour continued through the wahlerbrau parking lot to the current hotel "bayerischer hof", marlies walter explained that the kugelmann family once ran an international art and antiquities business in the rosengarten.
On their way, the group of the women’s ring passed the former jewelry store of the jewish rosenau family, which was located directly at the spa garden in the house collard. Here, in 1907, simon rosenau had made the chain of office of the mayor of bad kissingen, which is still in use today.
At the balling bazaar, one could still see the remains of a sign in the window of a store – this was intended to mark the shops of jewish owners, according to walter. After 1933, all jewish businesses were boycotted, and in 1938 the jewish doctors also lost their licenses.
In the ludwigstrabe there was the bankers family lowenthal. Ludwig lowenthal had been very politically active in addition to his profession, which is why he had to emigrate to amsterdam at an early stage, but was deported to theresienstadt in 1943, where he died in february 1944.
Several large businesses belonged to jewish owners, such as the fashion house of the ehrlich family. The ehrlich family was a typical german-jewish family, marlies walter said, a family that was well integrated. Hans-josef ehrlich, born in 1921, had to emigrate in 1938 to what was then palastina, where he found a new home with his new name joske ereli in the kibbutz en gedi on the dead sea – he would later be the initiator and active "motor" the partnership between the counties of bad kissingen and tamar, for which he received several awards. His father ludwig ehrlich ran the prestigious fashion house "felix ehrlich" with his wife grete and his brother franz in the ludwigstrabe 17, at that time the biggest business of the area. In 1908, his grandfather was the first jew to be elected to the town council of bad kissingen.
The group stopped at many houses, and marlies walter had many stories to tell about the former residents. Marlies walter concluded the tour at the former jewish community center, next to which the former synagogue had stood.
After kristallnacht, the jewish community was forced to sell the synagogue to the city, which then soon wore it down. The apartment of the long-serving cantor ludwig steinberger was located in this parish house. When the steinbergers realized that it was getting dangerous for jews in germany, they sent their eldest sons hans and herbert to the united states. There jack, as hans now hieb, became a physics professor and nobel prize winner from 1988.
Marlies walter reported that it was not until he was awarded the nobel prize that contact was re-established with bad kissingen – after he had reacquainted himself with his hometown, where he had made a close friend, especially in the former mayor georg straus. In 2001, the grammar school was named after the town’s famous son.

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