Encyclopaedia of Jewish Communities:
Germany volume 3

50°11' / 09°08'

Translation from Pinkas ha-kehilot Germanyah

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem, 1992



Project Coordinator and Donor


Our sincere appreciation to Yad Vashem for permission
to put this material on the JewishGen web site.

This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopaedia of Jewish Communities, Germany
Volume 3, pages 510, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1992

This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.

JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.

[Page 510]

Meerholz, Germany
(a village, today a part of the
city of Gelnhausen in the region of Main-Kinzig)

Translated by Jerrold Landau

YearNumber of
of Jews
1835 117 

Religious Affiliation by Percentage in the year 1925


History of the Community

Jews lived in Meerholz in 1683, and during the 18th century, there was a cheder for the children of Meerholz and the communities of Niedergrundau, Rothenbergen, Roth and Lieblos (see their entries). In the middle of the18th century, the Jews of these villages seceded and formed their own community in Lieblos.

The community of Meerholz had an elementary school. In 1855, 40 Jews of Meerholz, Niedermittlau (22 people in 1885[1]), Neuenhasslau, Hailer and Somborn (see entries) studied there. 22 students remained about ten years later. In 1873, there were 30, in 1901 – 13, and in 1921 – 6. In 1873, the school moved from its old, dilapidated building to a new building, through the efforts of the teacher Immanuel Neu (1847-1874). After him, Shmuel Birk (1838-1929) served as the teacher, cantor and shochet (ritual slaughterer). He retired on pension in 1908. The school was closed in 1926, and the Jewish teacher served only as a religion teacher.

During the time of the Weimar Republic, four of the Jews of Meerholz owned textile shops, and the rest were – cattle traders, butchers (2), a baker, and several pensioners. The grain merchant Leo Stern owned horse stables, the only truck in the region, and a private car driven by a driver. The horse merchant Ferdinand Stern was also among the wealthy people of the town. 55 local Jews lived in 18 houses, most of them on two streets.

The community of Meerholz had a synagogue and mikva (ritual bath), and conducted kosher slaughter. The plan to reopen the school in 1932 did not come to fruition because of the change of regime. At that time, four children studied religious studies from the teacher, cantor and shochet Leopold Strauss. The head of the community was the baker Leopold Perlsheim, and the head of the “Central Union” chapter in Meerholz was Leo Stern. The community belonged to the regional rabbinate of Hanau. Three families (13 souls ) from Niedermittlau, where the regional Jewish cemetery was located, were part of the community.

Under Nazi Rule

The window panes of the Jewish homes were shattered in September 1934, and in October the brothers Peretz and Michael Perlsheim were sentenced to imprisonment. The cemetery in Niedermittlau was desecrated in 1935 and again in 1938. Most of the Jews left Meerholz within a few years. In 1937, nine Jewish families remained, and the head of the community Leo Stern sold the synagogue. The holy objects were brought to Frankfurt.

No Jews were left in the city in 1939. 13 members of the community immigrated to the United States, a few went to Holland, and the rest moved to other cities in Germany.

The synagogue was demolished in the 1960s, and residential dwellings were built in its place. The school building also serves as residential dwellings today. Today, the cemetery in Niedermittlau (3,211 square meters) is located in the bounds of the towns of Hasselroth.

Translator's Footnotes

  1. Seemingly referring to the Jewish population rather than the number of students. Return

 Yizkor Book Project    JewishGen Home Page  

Yizkor Book Director, Lance Ackerfeld
Emerita Yizkor Book Project Manager, Joyce Field
Contact person for this translation
This web page created by Max Heffler

Copyright © 1999-2024 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 17 May 2007 by LA