During the events of November 9th and 10th, 1938 called the “Kristallnacht” or “Night of Broken Glass” the Nazis destroyed almost all Jewish synagogues in Germany. The only synagogue believed to have escaped the destroying rage of the Nazis is at Bad Mergentheim, in southern Germany, Hermann Fechenbach’s family home town.
Here is a copy of the text from the letter from the new Mayor of Bad Mergentheim, Dr. Karl Herz to Chaplain Aaron Kahan, dated 4th May 1945.
To the Honorable Rabbi, Bad Mergentheim:
Sir: As Mayor of the Municipality of Bad Mergentheim, I have the honor to present to you the keys of the Synagogue of the former Jewish Community. By a particular chance, this synagogue was "prevented" from being demolished like all others in Germany because a setting on fire of this building would have caused great danger to the whole town. But I still feel a much greater joy that I am able to present to you the Holy of the Holies of the Jewish Community which the last head handed over to a faithful Catholic, giving him the instruction to hide it until Jews would be again in Bad Mergentheim. Unfortunately the Jews who resided formerly here are scattered in all directions of the world or dead. I can assure you that the greater part of the population of Bad Mergentheim did not take part in this terrible misdeeds and that they saw with inward wrath this crime which dishonors our German people for all times. I hope that many of our Jewish residents might come back and that they, as far as they are still living, might collaborate with us in order to rebuild a free and better Germany, delivered from the nazi-plague and from racial and national hatred. I am greeting you in the name of the Municipality of Bad Mergentheim and I remain with the greatest respect, yours.
Signature Dr. Karl Herz
Amongst the Jewish American GI’s who helped put back the synagogue at the end of April and beginning of May 1945, and took part in the first services was Bernard Beckman of the 254th Infantry who's daughter Sharon Beckman contact us, she is putting together a history of her family and father Bernard Beckman. We are most thankful to her for this information. As are we also most grateful to Matt Selig, son of August Selig who was a merchant in groceries in Bad Mergentheimin the 1930’s and a friend of Hermann, for additional information that he sent us. All of which are helping us build a more complete history of the time.
The synagogue was demolished in 1970 and currently a school sits on the site.
This photo was taken in 1946 and is part of our collection.