Station 12

Former synagogue & memorial plaqueIntegration, exclusion & murder of the Jewish population

Information point:
- Memorial plaque on the Synagogue Road

Gradual integration in the 19th century
Since Roman times Jews have settled in the Rhineland. In the 13th century Jewish settlement traces can also be found in the northern and western Sauerland. After the 30 Years' War there was a stronger Jewish settlement in the Duchy of Westphalia; Jews in Schmallenberg have been mentioned in documents for the first time since 1685. In 1738 two and until 1803 three Jewish families can be traced here.
After 1808 the Jews of Schmallenberg also adopted German surnames (due to a law of the then Hessian sovereign). Their legal situation initially did not improve after 1815: they required special permits to settle and marry. Under Prussian rule, they were granted civil (not yet civic) rights in 1841. Judaism was still considered by the Westphalian parliament to be incompatible with the principles of a Christian state. The
Prussian constitution of 31.1.1850 finally granted civil and civic rights to all Prussians, regardless of their religious confession. The exercise of state offices, however, which were connected with the practice of religion (education, justice), remained closed to them. In 1869, the political and legal equality of all citizens, independent of their religious confession, was established and adopted as an imperial law with the foundation of the Empire. In
Schmallenberg, the numerical ratio of Jews and Christians did not change significantly between 1800 and 1933: in 1818, 23 Jews lived in Schmallenberg with a total population of 863 (2.6%). In 1855 there were 27 of 1,032 (2.7%), in 1900 45 of 1,690 (2.6%), in 1932 52 of 2,334 (2.2%). The Protestant population of Schmallenberg was also a minority during this entire period, almost always smaller than that of the Jews.
Excluded from the practice of guild trades, Jews were mainly engaged in trade and - due to their religious slaughtering regulations - were often employed as butchers and cattle dealers. At the beginning of the Prussian era, the Jews of Schmallenberg were exclusively active as butchers and traders. Moses Stern and Emanuel Bamberger traded in textiles and ironmongery according to a 1843 register. In 1867 the brothers Michel and Simon Stern founded a wool spinning mill, which remained in family ownership until 1938. A member of the Sterns family emigrated to England where he became the "king of stockings"; Alfred Stern provided the Falke company with orders after 1910. Socially the Jews were well integrated in Schmallenberg since about 1860: In 1910 Max Frankenthal became the first Jewish citizen to become Vice-Shooting King.

Persecution and murder by the National Socialists
When the National Socialists seized power in 1933, the persecution and harassment began. The approximately 60 Jewish fellow citizens were increasingly marginalized and persecuted. Police organs spied on the synagogue, adults were excluded from political rights, children from official celebrations and, since 1938, from school lessons. In the November pogrom the synagogue was set on fire. Some apartments of Jewish residents were devastated and destroyed; all Jewish men were arrested and some were maltreated.
At the end of September 1938 the cattle dealers lost their commercial licence; in 1938 the Stern family had to sell their textile companies, some family members managed to emigrate to England. After negotiations with several interested parties the factory with about 100 employees was transferred to Arthur Stern's school friend Franz Falke. From 1939 the unemployed Jewish men were obliged to do forced labour. The Jewish inhabitants of Schmallenberg had to give up their houses and move together in the "Judenhäuser" Weststraße 1, where the Jewish school was also housed until 1941, and Weststraße 30. On 28 April 1942 the first deportation of Schmallenberg Jews to Dortmund and from there to ghettos and extermination camps took place, where the majority were murdered. In 1943 Schmallenberg was "free of Jews".

After the war, individual Jewish concentration camp prisoners returned, including Hans Frankenthal, who wrote his story in the 1990 autobiography "Verweigerte Rückkehr" (Refused Return). In 1988, on the initiative of Hans Frankenthal, a plaque was erected on the site of the former synagogue in memory of the 36 Jews murdered by the Nazis in the concentration camps. As a testimony to its history, the Jewish Cemetery was entered in the list of monuments in the city of Schmallenberg in November 2003

The Jewish victims of the Holocaust are also remembered by 36 Stumbling Stones.

Synagogue in Schmallenberg around 1935. Built in 1857, it was destroyed in the night of pogrom on 10.11.1938.

Synagogue in Schmallenberg in winter.

Factory owner Arthur Stern with his foreman Franz Störmann

Deportation of Dortmund Jews to Riga, end of April 1942

Grave of Hedwig Goldschmidt at the Jewish cemetery in Schmallenberg, which was built around 1840.

Stumbling blocks for Max and Adele Frankenthal at Obringerstraße 14 (10)

The Schützenhofstaat 1910: right next to the royal couple Wilhelm and Maria King Viceroy Max Frankenthal and his sister Selma

Women employees of the S. Stern company took part in a Nazi parade as late as the mid-1930s.

Jewish Schmallenbergs are forced to do street work

Hans Frankenthal

Ernst and Hans Frankenthal as children around 1929

Hans Frankenthal was born in Schmallenberg on 15.6.1926 as the younger son of Adele Meyer and Max Frankenthal. The father Max (1883-1943) ran a cattle trade with his brothers Julius, Sally and Josef, the fifth brother Emil worked in the associated butcher's shop. Max was responsible for bookkeeping and accounting and was considered the "head" of the company. In 1910 he became the first Jewish vice king of Schmallenberg. The parents Max and Adele married in 1924; the eldest son, Ernst, was born in the same year. In 1927 the family moved into their own house at Obringhauser Straße 10 (today 14).
During the pogrom of 10.11.1938, Max's father was arrested and taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp; his 15-year-old brother Ernst was put into "protective custody" for five days on 11.11.1938. Since the synagogue in Schmallenberg had been destroyed during the night of the progrom, Adele and Max Frankenstein first made their house available for the service; Hans celebrated his bar mitzvah there in June 1939. Shortly afterwards, in the course of the "Aryanization", the city of Schmallenberg took possession of the Frankenthal house; the family had to move to the "Judenhaus" Weststraße 30. Hans had already been expelled from the Catholic school in 1938. His father sent Hans and Ernst to Dortmund to train as locksmiths in order to prepare for emigration to Palestine; the two were, however, quickly forced to do forced labour; emigration did not take place.
On 28.2.1943 Max and Adele and their sons Ernst and Hans were arrested by the Gestapo. A deportation train took them from Dortmund to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. There Max and Adele were selected as "unfit for work" and immediately sent to the gas chamber and murdered. Ernst and Hans were sent to the Auschwitz III-Monowitz labor camp (Buna-Werke of IG Farben). Both brothers survived the terrible years in various concentration camps as forced laborers under unimaginable conditions. Medical experiments were conducted on Hans' teeth. On January 18, 1945, the prisoners from Auschwitz-Monowitz were sent on a death march to the West. They were sent to the Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp and were used in the production of the V2 rockets. In April he and his brother were transported to Theresienstadt, where the brothers were liberated by the Red Army on May 2. In July 1945 they returned to Schmallenberg. Both lived again in their parents' house on Obringhauser Straße. The brothers initially received the parental home only for use, and not as property: the town initially wanted, among other things, the ridiculous price at which it had bought the house from the Frankenthals in 1939 to be reimbursed. It was only in 1950 that the brothers became half owners of their parents' house, and in September 1948 Hans married
Anni Labe from Berlar, Meschede district (+22.09.1926, Catholic). They had three children: Adelheid (*19.02.1950), Hans-Dieter (15.12.1952) and Anita (*19.02.1954). The children were brought up catholically. Hans again ran a cattle trade and ran a slaughterhouse until the 1970s. He was supported by his wife. In 1976 Hans and Anni decided to divorce.
The two brothers reacted very differently to the behaviour of the Schmallenberger after their return. While Ernst remained silent for decades, Hans talked about the injustice suffered, the almost daily death toll and the system of injustice, but met with much incomprehension and disbelief from his fellow citizens. Like many Germans after 1945, many people from Schmallenberg suppressed the persecution and annihilation of the Jews from their consciousness: in the face of the Holocaust, there was a mixture of not wanting to know, ignorance, incorrigible, looking away, in which at times old anti-Semitism also still flashed up.
At the age of 19, Hans returned to the city he considered his home town and found the alleged ignorance of his old neighbours and acquaintances alienating and dishonest; he felt that the unwillingness to believe his reports was once again wrong. He quickly reacted aggressively and dismissively to authorities and their representatives, often the same as before 1945. He too became more and more silent and adapted: in 1958 he became viceroy in the shooting club. It was not until
the 1980s that he began to talk again about his terrible experiences and now began to publish them. He was involved in the regional association of the Jewish religious communities of Westphalia, as a representative of the Jewish cemeteries in Westphalia and on the board of the German Auschwitz committee. In the 1990s, he also appeared several times at shareholder meetings of the liquidation company of I.G. Farben, where he described his experiences and demanded compensation for the former forced laborers. In 1999 his autobiography was published under the title "Verweigerte Rückkehr. Experiences after the murder of the Jews".
Hans Frankenthal died in Dortmund on December 22, 1999, and was buried at the Jewish cemetery in Eilpe