Jewish Life in Frankfurt

Frankfurt has been the scene of Jewish life for around 800 years. World War II brought an abrupt end to the continuity of this long history. After virtually all Jews had been driven out of Frankfurt during the war and perished in various concentration camps, Frankfurt today is again the centre of active Jewish life. With more than 7 100 members, Frankfurt has one of the largest Jewish communities in Germany. Prior to 1933, however, the Jewish community numbered more than 30 000 persons, at the end of the War only 146 still lived in Frankfurt.

A new Jewish community has existed since 1946, but it pursued a very withdrawn existence for many years. By protests against the destruction of parts of the ancient Judengasse it first regained public awareness in the eighties. The opening of the community centre designed by Salomon Korn in 1986, the Jewish Museum in 1988 and the completion of the reconstruction of the Westend Synagogue in 1994 were yardsticks in the reacclimatization of the community in Frankfurt. With a diverse cultural programme such as the Jewish Culture Week, regularly celebrated since 1982, Jewish life in Frankfurt is now an integral part of Frankfurt’s history and vivacious cultural environment. Although Jewish facilities are still subject to permanent police protection, the beginning has been made: an energetic community with more than 7 000 members that actively participates in the shaping of the City of Frankfurt.

With the Jewish community, the rebuilt synagogue and the affiliated adult education centre, a Jewish society has become established in Frankfurt. Furthermore Frankfurt offers a wide spectrum for the cultural communication of Jewish history. Thanks to two different locations of the Jewish Museum - on Mainufer and the site of the former Judengasse – and initiatives such as the “stumbling blocks” the past will remain an open book to be consulted for repeated interchanges with other religious communities and confrontation with the own sensitive history.