1869 rendering of the Mannheim Synagogue, held by the Stadtarchiv Mannheim (Bildsammlung 15355).
The first known synagogue to be built in Mannheim was under the concession of Karl Ludwig during the 1660s. Its exact location is uncertain. The second synagogue to be built in 1670 was situated at F2, 13/15 (originally, “Quadrat 39, Nr.6”). This building was destroyed in 1689 when the city of Mannheim was sacked by the French.
The third synagogue, built on the same site, was completed in 1700. This structure was insufficient with the influx of Jews to Mannheim during the early 19th century. Plans to build a completely new synagogue were commenced in 1851, starting at F2, 13. The building was dedicated in 1855. It would undergo numerous renovations, including the construction of an organ and choir loft (1899), and further renovations in 1907. In Mannheim’s 1919 Adressbuch der Stadt (city address book), the F2, 13/15 synagogue is referred to as the “Hauptsynagoge,” or “Main Synagogue” of the city, however, there was another synagogue, the "Klaussynagoge," which remained orthodox. The Hauptsynagoge, while fundamentally orthodox in practice (separate seating for men & women, etc.), included sermons in the vernacular along with other liberalizations.
The building was destroyed during the Nazi pogrom known as Kristallnacht (“Night of Glass”), 10 November 1938. The photographs that follow show the building in ruins. We do not know who took these pictures or how they found their way into my grandfather’s possession. If you have pictures of this structure, or know anything about these photographs, please contact me.