Jewish Community Frankfurt am Main (2024)

Frankfurt’s Westend Synagogue was consecrated in 1910 and is the only one of the city’s four major synagogues to have escaped total destruction by the National Socialists.

Frankfurt’s Westend Synagogue is an architectural gem and worth a visit if only to see its majestic dome. The original structure in Freiherr-vom-Stein-Straße (formerly Königsteiner Straße) took two years to build and was consecrated on the 28 September 1910. The interior was one of the most elaborate in Germany. Rather than being restricted to the gallery, women could be seated on the lower level, alongside the men but on separate sides of the nave. The synagogue also had an organ.

Run as a liberal establishment by Rabbis Caesar Seligman, Arnold Lazarus and Georg Salzberger, the synagogue used to be so full on High Holidays that from 1918 an additional service was held in the main auditorium of the Philanthropin.

Prior to the construction of the Westend Synagogue, the main House of Prayer had been run by the private association Westend Union (Immanu-El-Verein) in Niedenau 21. It had been consecrated in 1868 by the reform Rabbi Leopold Stein.

Damage and reconstruction

The Westend Synagogue was the only one of Frankfurt’s four major synagogues to survive the November pogrom in 1938 and the bombings of World War II, albeit severely damaged. During the war it was initially used to store stage sets for the opera house. It later became a warehouse for furniture belonging to ‘fliegergeschädigte Volksgenossen’ — ‘members of the national community injured during air raids’. On 20 March 1944 an air raid on Frankfurt brought firebombs raining down onto the synagogue, destroying all that had remained after the pogrom, the so-called ‘Reichskristallnacht’.

By the end of the war, only a few of the over 11,000 Frankfurt Jews deported to concentration and extermination camps had survived. In early September 1945, on the eve of Rosh Hashana (New Year), a number of them gathered in the patched-up Westend Synagogue along with Jewish-American occupying troops. The ceremonial speech was delivered by Rabbi Dr Leopold Neuhaus, who had been the last rabbi of the Jewish Community in Frankfurt until 1942 and became the first of the ‘new’ community after the war.

In June 1948 the reconstruction of the Westend Synagogue commenced as part of the ‘reparations programme’. The City of Frankfurt and State of Hesse provided 800,000 Deutschmarks in funding for the project, and the architects Max Kemper and Werner Hebebrand joined forces with the painter and graphic designer Hans Leistikow to redesign the interior in simplified form. Little remained of the synagogue’s former glory.

When the Jewish Community in Frankfurt was re-established in 1948, it consisted for the most part of Shoah survivors from eastern Europe. Having grown up in an orthodox environment, most of them felt the need to retain their approach to Judaism as a reminder of their families and lives before their destruction, even though they did not necessarily abide strictly by the commandments of Orthodox Judaism. Since its re-consecration, the synagogue has therefore operated as an orthodox establishment, with separate areas for men and women. The organ is not used during services.

The Westend Synagogue was officially re-consecrated in post-war Germany on 6 September 1950 and operated under the auspices of liberal rabbis. The ceremonial speeches were given by Georg Salzberger, who had emigrated to London, and the incumbent Rabbi Wilhelm Weinberg, and a synagogue choir was brought in from Paris.

A new era

Between 1980 and 1984 the Jewish Community in Frankfurt’s largest place of worship underwent a renovation. Blackened over the decades, the limestone facade was restored to its former glory thanks to the efforts of a campaign to save the Westend Synagogue, launched by Council member Dr Henryk Gelbart. Between 1988 and 1994 the interior was also refurbished, directed by the architect Henryk Isenberg and based on his plans.

Egalitarian Minyan

When the US army left Frankfurt in the mid-1990s, some of the younger community members who had regularly attended their liberal services in the US Central Chapel, decided to continue the tradition in Frankfurt. Initially, they worshipped in various locations, but in the late 1990s Ignatz Bubis, Chief Executive of the Jewish Community, invited them to use the Community Centre.

Known as the Egalitarian Minyan, the group has since become an integral part of the Jewish Community and is headed by Rabbi Elisa Klapheck. Since October 2007 they have had their own fixed location in the small former weekday synagogue within the Westend Synagogue building, bringing liberal Judaism in Frankfurt back to its original birthplace.
The Westend Synagogue is the main place of worship for Frankfurt’s Jews and home to members of all denominations.

Westend Synagogue

Freiherr-vom-Stein-Straße 30, 60323 Frankfurt

Phone 069 / 76 80 36 420

Jewish Community Frankfurt am Main (2024)


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The city is traditionally known for its production of high-quality sausages (frankfurters). Frankfurt has long been a key stopping point for river, rail, and road traffic from Switzerland and southern Germany northward along the Rhine River to the Ruhr region and across the Main River to north-central Germany.

Where do the wealthy live in Frankfurt? ›

The Westend neighborhood, known for its luxurious ambiance and high-end living spaces, epitomizes the city's blend of sophistication and charm. Housing costs in Westend reflect its exclusivity, with prices significantly higher than in other parts of the city.

Why is Frankfurt called Frankfurt am Main? ›

The suffix am Main has been used regularly since the 14th century. In English, the city's full name of Frankfurt am Main means "Frankfurt on the Main" (pronounced like English mine or German mein). Frankfurt is located on an ancient ford (German: Furt) on the river Main.

What are the two Frankfurts in Germany? ›

The official name Frankfurt (Oder) and the older Frankfurt an der Oder are used to distinguish it from the larger city of Frankfurt am Main. The city's recorded history began in the 13th century as a West Slavic settlement.

What makes Frankfurt special? ›

Frankfurt am Main is most famous for the International Book Fair in the fall, is the home of the Central European Bank and the Bundesbank, and is a transportation hub for the rest of Germany and Central and Western Europe. Also known for its sausages. Birthplace of Goethe.

Where to avoid in Frankfurt at night? ›

Bahnhofsviertel: Frankfurt's well-known district, recognized for its vibrant nightlife, is the bustling red-light district. It's primarily associated with activities like prostitution and incidents such as drug dealing. If you're uncomfortable with these, then this is an area to avoid in Frankfurt.

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17. Frankfurt. Frankfurt in Germany, once again, has 16 billionaires.

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Most of the billionaires who are dwelling in Germany are living in or near Munich, Hamburg, Düsseldorf and the metropolitan Ruhr Area, including Essen, where the Albrecht brothers came from.

Is there a difference between Frankfurt and Frankfurt am Main? ›

There is no difference, the city is called Frankfurt am Main and is sometimes called Frankfurt/Main for short. It may also be called Frankfurt/M. There is a second Frankfurt in Germany (Frankfurt an der Oder, Frankfurt/Oder) which makes the distinction necessary.…

What does Frankfurt mean in German? ›

Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (German: [ˈfʁaŋkfʊʁt ʔam ˈmaɪn] ( listen); Hessian: Frangford am Maa, lit. "Frank ford on the Main"), is one of the biggest cities in Germany. The city of Frankfurt has a population of 700,000.

Is Frankfurt am Main airport big? ›

It covers an area of 2,300 hectares (5,683 acres) of land and features two passenger terminals with capacity for approximately 65 million passengers per year; four runways; and extensive logistics and maintenance facilities.

What is the nickname of Frankfurt Germany? ›

The skyscrapers of the banks form a characteristic and for German cities' unusual skyline, which gave Frankfurt the nickname "Mainhattan". Frankfurt is located in the middle of the Rhine-Main area, a vibrant metropolitan area.

What nationality is frankfurter? ›

Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, is traditionally credited with originating the frankfurter. However, this claim is disputed by those who assert that the popular sausage - known as a "dachshund" or "little-dog" sausage - was created in the late 1600's by Johann Georghehner, a butcher, living in Coburg, Germany.

Why is Frankfurt popular? ›

Frankfurt, situated in the heart of the metropolitan region of Frankfurt Rhine-Main, ranks amongst the leading conference destinations in Germany and Europe. It is a pulsating city, cosmopolitan, colourfully diverse and highly dynamic.

What food is Frankfurt known for? ›

Are you into hot dogs that “snap”? Well, that hot dog is likely based on the Frankfurter Wurst, the local sausage of Frankfurt. Frankfurters are long, thin sausages, typically made from lightly smoked pork, and generally served with bread and mustard. Other common accompaniments include sauerkraut and potato salad.

What drink is Frankfurt famous for? ›

Apfelwein (apple wine) is the quintessential drink of the region and is an acquired taste. Called Ebbelwoi by some locals, ordered as a Schobbe by others, it is also known as Apfelmost farther east (like in Wurzburg) and in Austria.

What industry is Frankfurt famous for? ›

Frankfurt is known as the centre of the German logistics and mobility industries. With one of Europe's largest airports, Germany's busiest train station and a well-developed motorway network, Frankfurt disposes over an ideal traffic and transport infrastructure, one that has expanded significantly over time.


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