General information: First Jewish presence: 1241; peak Jewish population: 97 in 1890; Jewish population in 1933: 90
Summary: The medieval Jewish quarter of Schwaebisch-Gmuend, established in 1258, accommodated a synagogue, a mikveh, a school and, perhaps, a cemetery. Jews were persecuted in the town in 1298, annihilated in the Black Death pogroms of 1349 and expelled from Schwaebisch-Gmuend in 1469, in 1501 and again in 1521. The modern Jewish community of Schwaebisch-Gmuend was established in 1890. Local Jews maintained prayer rooms until 1926, when a synagogue and school were established at 4 Katharinenstrasse. Burials were conducted in Oberdorf and, later, in Stuttgart. We also know that Schwaebisch-Gmuend was home to two ancient ritual baths. In 1933, the teacher/chazzan instructed ten schoolchildren in religion. Jewish associations and branches of nation-wide organizations were active in Schwaebisch-Gmuend that year. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s interior was destroyed; local Jews were sent to Dachau. The community was disbanded shortly afterwards, and the synagogue was sold to a bank in 1939. The remaining Jews were then crammed into several houses from which they were taken for forced labor. Thirty-eight local Jews emigrated, 47 relocated within Germany, three died in Schwaebisch-Gmuend, one committed suicide and approximately 20 were deported to the East. At least 18 Schwaebisch-Gmuend Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue was demolished in the early 1950s. Memorial plaques were unveiled at the site in 1979 and in 2000, respectively.
Photo: Men from the Jewish community of Schwaebisch Gmuend prepare to carry Torah scrolls into the newly-built synagogue during its inauguration ceremony in 1926. Courtesy of: City Archive of Schwaebisch Gmuend.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL, HU, PK BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg