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Jews in Langenselbold

Members of the Association for local history and geography at Langenselbold paid a one-day visit to the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen. “We are going to investigate the fates suffered by the Jewish inhabitants of our town and compile their data. First of all, though, we want to get an impression of the ITS and come to know the research possibilities the institution offers”, so Dr Manfred Keil, President of the Association.

Since the summer of 2010, a couple of citizens have been occupying themselves with the Persecution of the Jews through the National Socialists in Hessian Langenselbold. They base their honorary work on a pupils’ project relating to “The fate of the Jews in the Main-Kinzig District”. “Research pursued at the time resulted in the production of a book titled ‘Spurensuche. Das Schicksal der Juden in Langenselbold’ (Looking for traces. The Fate of the Jews in Langenselbold), which in turn became our starting point for conducting research“, reports Keil.

In 1933, the Jewish community had counted 226 persons. In the years to follow, though, part of the Jewish community members went away or emigrated – reacting to the economic consequences the boycott of Jewish shops, the ever-increasing denial of rights and direct reprisals had for them. In the summer of 1935, the town council of the place took sharp anti-Jewish measures. In consequence, several families immigrated to the USA and to South Africa, others moved to bigger towns, mainly to Frankfurt/Main. On 5 September 1942, numerous Jews were deported first to Hanau and from there to the extermination camps. “Up to now, we have come to know of about 40 persons who had to endure such fate”, says Langenselbold-resident Keil.

Following a guided tour through the ITS archives, the visitors were given time to experiment with the research program of the ITS on their own. “We have come upon some new names already”, rejoices Keil. “For instance Sally Goldschmidt, born in Langenselbold on 22 June 1902. This name has not yet turned up in our documents.” Details on the persecution people suffered, names of the concentration camps they were detained in and prisoner’s numbers they were given are examples of data the committed amateur researchers may add to many a name now. “We as history association are under an obligation to give evidence on the verity of the Persecution of the Jews who had lived in our place“, explains Keil. “We would very much like to lay stumbling stones or put up commemoration plaques.”