General information: First Jewish presence: 16th century; peak Jewish population: 427 in 1846; Jewish population in 1933: 262
Summary: The Jewish community of Rexingen was first documented in the 16th century. Large numbers of young Jews remained in Rexingen until the Nazi period, an anomaly in rural Germany. The Rexingen Jewish community established the following institutions: a synagogue in 1710; a community center and cemetery—the 16th-century cemetery was abandoned after a flood—in 1760; a new synagogue, on Freudenstaedterstrasse, in 1837 (renovated during the years 1933 to 1935); and an elementary school, presided over by a teacher who also served as a shochet and chazzan, in 1824. In 1933, 262 Jews lived in Rexingen. Twenty pupils attended the school, and several Jewish associations and branches of nation-wide organizations were active in the community. The synagogue was vandalized and set on fire on Pogrom Night, but the blaze was extinguished by the fire brigade; its interior and its ritual objects, however, were destroyed. Windows in Jewish homes were smashed, and Jewish men were sent to Dachau. The synagogue building later accommodated a Mauser ammunitions factory. After 1933, 105 Jews moved to Rexingen from other towns; 13 Jewish babies were born there during this period. In February 1938, 38 local Jews immigrated to Palestine, where they founded the community of Shavei Zion. Another 174 Jews subsequently emigrated, 38 died in the town, three committed suicide and 128 were deported, mainly to Riga and to Theresienstadt, in 1941/42. At least 112 Rexingen Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1977, the community center was demolished. The restored synagogue, now a public building, contains a memorial hall. A monument was unveiled at the cemetery in 1947, and a damaged Torah scroll from Rexingen is kept in Shavei Zion.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL, HU, PK BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg