General information: First Jewish presence: 18th (possibly 17th) century; peak Jewish population: 60 in 1890; Jewish population in 1933: 35
Summary: The Jewish community of Schifferstadt, officially founded in 1856, attended the synagogues in Speyer and Boehl during the early 19th century. Local Jews established a prayer hall in 1826 and a synagogue on Neue Sandgasse (present-day Hauptstrasse) in 1852, the latter of which accommodated 32 worshipers (20 men and 12 women, using different entrances), a mikveh, a school and an apartment for a teacher who also served as chazzan and shochet. The synagogue building had fallen into a dilapidated state by 1888 and, in 1890, soon after it was damaged in a fire, the structure was demolished. Services were conducted at a local dance hall until the inauguration, in 1892, of a new synagogue at 48 Bahnhofstrasse. It was not until 1907, however, that the Jews of Schifferstadt consecrated their own cemetery on Portheide, prior to which the community had used the cemetery in Otterstadt. Many Jews left Schifferstadt after 1933. Later, on Pogrom Night (November 1938), SA men desecrated the cemetery and burned down the defunct synagogue. The remaining Jews were forced to sell the synagogue site to the municipality in 1939. Eighteen local Jews managed to emigrate, but most of the others relocated within Germany. Three Jews remained in Schifferstadt in October of 1940, all of whom were deported to Gurs, France. At least 17 Schifferstadt Jews perished in the Shoah. Returned to the community after the war, the synagogue site was sold to a private buyer in 1951. A commemorative plaque was erected on a neighboring plot of land in 1984.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL