Extract from Gunzenhausen Entry in Book of the Lost Communities Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

(translated from Hebrew by Tammy Pre-El. Tami is a native Hebrew speaker)

1933 - 1938 Under the Nazi reign

During 1933 Gunzenhausen's community was attached to the Ansbach Rabbinical District which had under its wings a Synagogue, Community Centre, public school, mikva and cemetery. They also in the community had a group called "Friends of the Needy" (a support group) established in 1740. There was a Chevra Kadisha for Women from 1750, a general trust fund, a trust for new brides, a trust fund named after Rosenau to support Torah students.

The town had branches of the Zionist Federation, Agudat Yisroel, TSPAU (CV) the Central Organisation for the Jews of Germane also a branch of the general Jewish youth movement "Judischer Jugendverein".

During the academic year of 1932'33 the school had 17 children all in one classroom. An additional 16 were in the local schools but they participated in Jewish studies at the Jewish school.

The community budget (in 1930) was 11,000 marks out of which 3,000 marks was allocated to welfare needs, 2,000 marks for education.

The community had special kosher meat (shechita) arrangements by a visiting shaliach. In 1933.41 Jews of Gunzenhausen were in commerce. 9 were merchants, 3 bankers, 3 craftsmen, 2 clerks. 2 doctors. 1 teacher. 1 coffee shop owner. 6 women employed in domestic service and 4 received a regular allowance (Pensioners).


Already by March 1933, Jews were attacked in the streets and a Jewish butcher's son was badly wounded. Windows in many Jewish shops were smashed. The local community was incited to anti-Semitic attacks which were out of control.

In the riots of 25/3/34 in Gunzenhausen, it was very evident that anti-Semitism had reached epidemic proportions.

The riots started when a group of people from the S. A. led by the "Obersturmführer" Kurt Bar entered the coffee shop owned by a Jew, taking a non Jew out by force. In the coffee shop, they bumped into a Jew called Jacob Rosenberger (Rosenfelder) known as an anti­Nazi from before 1933 and they decided to return and arrest him, but an their return Rosenberger (Rosenfelder) was not there, so they took the son of the owner of the coffee shop instead, Julius Strauss.

The people who incited the riots gathered outside the shop shouting. They hit him & were very brutal and very sadistic so that he fainted & fell to the ground. His parents were badly beaten when they came out to help and were threatened with Kurt's gun.

Later on, Kurt Baer made a violent anti-Semitic speech which was very provocative. He instigated members of the S. A. in the crowd to arrest some local Jews. First the members of the Strauss family and then others. He had 25 people responding to his call. The Strauss family was brought to the local prison accompanied by screams from the mob shouting "Out with the Jews". Others forced their way into the coffee shop and destroyed it.

The rioters went to Jacob Rosenberger's (Rosenfelder’s) house and, after frightening his sister, she told them that her brother went into a neighbour's house. They found him in a barn, in their words - hanging from the ceiling with no life (dead).

Later an they ransacked other Jewish apartments. They beat the Jews and put them into prison. The mob were seeking a Jew called Max Rosenau who was not at his home so they forced their way into his neighbour's flat, the name was Lehmann.

Mr. Lehmann had a severe heart condition and his daughter asked them to arrest her instead of her sick father. She was brutally beaten and her father & brother were arrested.

Later an in Lehmann's apartment, in one of the rooms. Max Rosenau was found dead with five knife wounds in his body.

On the same day 35 Jews from Gunzenhausen were arrested. 6 were women. The prisoners were forced to exercise and the mob taunted them. The women were released later in the day & the men were held until the following evening. ("in order to protect them from the mob")

Only after the riots had subsided did the officials (police) arrive to stop the riots. The size of the mob was estimated at 1,000 - 1,500 out of a population of 5,600.

The office of the interior was concerned about a negative response from the world following the pogroms in Gunzenhausen. Hence they insisted on an investigation from the Munich authority and took the perpetrators of these violent acts to Court.

The Minister of the Interior mentioned in a letter of 5th April 1934 that the suicides of the Jews in Gunzenhausen did not seem correct, but the findings of the Courts agreed the version of suicide by using the statements of Lehmann's daughter who said that she saw Max a few minutes before his death holding a kitchen knife and saying "I am already dead - you do not have to kill me!" * Note

The Nazi movement (Kurt Baer & 24 members) were accused of being responsible for the violence in Gunzenhausen.

The defence lawyer was against the court case, claiming that the judges and the jury were not members of the Nazi party and therefore would not be able to understand the ideology of the movement.

The members of the court did understand the ideology of the accused but it rejected any appeal by the defence lawers. The verdict was that Kurt Bar was imprisoned for a year and a half and 20 others were given sentences of 4 months to a year.

A few days later Kurt's sentence was reduced to 10 months and the others from 3 - 7 months: the rest were set free.

Meanwhile the riots continued in Gunzenhausen and an official letter from the Munich police from 5/6/34 said:

On 12 April shop windows & apartment windows of Jews were smashed. The people of the S.A. (Nazis) kept singing loudly & repeatedly a song with these words: " When the Jew's blood comes out of the knife then it is the best. The S. A. members hang the Jews."

* Note of Hazel Green (grandchild of the Lehmann family)

This version supports the "suicide'' case.
However, I can confirm that my mother alwavs spoke of someone having been murdered" in their apartment. I think it likely that Lisbeth made the statement under duress fearing that her father & brother could be re-arrested or other action taken against the family.