General information: First Jewish presence: 13th century; peak Jewish population: 4,548 in 1925; Jewish population in 1933: 4,408
Summary: Jews lived in Stuttgart as early as the 13th century; that early community maintained a synagogue and a cemetery. Although the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49 and the expulsion of 1488/98 decimated Stuttgart’s medieval Jewish community, influential court Jews—Joseph “Jud” Suess Oppenheimer and the Kaula family were prominent examples—and their descendants lived in Stuttgart during the centuries that followed. Other Jews were permitted to resettle in Stuttgart in 1806. The community officially founded in 1831 would become Wuerttemberg’s central Jewish community. In 1834, Stuttgart became the headquarters of a district rabbinate. The Stuttgart community, however, employed a separate rabbi. Services were conducted in prayer halls until 1861, when local Jews inaugurated a large, Reform synagogue at 36 Hospitalstrasse; weekday services were conducted in a prayer hall at the community center (at 34 Hospitalstrasse). Stuttgart’s Orthodox Jews founded an Adas Jeschurn association and prayer hall in 1878. Two Eastern European Jewish societies established prayer halls in the early 1900s: Esras Achim at 3 Marienstrasse and Linath Hazedek at 13 Kasernenstrasse (established in 1928). Although Stuttgart was not home to a Jewish elementary school until 1934, the community did maintain a school for religious studies before then. Cemeteries were consecrated in 1834 (in the Hoppenlaufriedhof), in 1874 (in the Pragfriedhof) and in the 1930s (at Steinhaldenfeld). Paul Rieger and Heinemann Auerbach served as rabbis in 1933, and many Jewish associations and branches of nation-wide organizations were active in the city that year. The jurist Otto Hirsch (1885-1941) was appointed, in 1933, chairman of the Reich’s Deputation of the German Jews (of which Rabbi Leo Baeck of Berlin was president). In 1935, the Bad Cannstatt Jews became affiliated with the Stuttgart community. Stuttgart’s Orthodox Jews inaugurated a prayer hall at 30 Gartenstrasse in June 1938. The Hospitalstrasse synagogue was burned down on Pogrom Night. Torah scrolls and ritual objects were destroyed, Jewish homes and businesses were severely damaged, and 800 men were arrested and abused by the mob before being sent to the Welzheim and Dachau camps (two died in Dachau). The Orthodox teacher, his wife and their two children committed suicide a day after the pogrom; another Jew took his own life a few days later. Jewish prisoners were later forced to clear the synagogue ruins. In 1939, those Jews still living in Stuttgart were forcibly moved into designated houses, from which the able-bodied were taken for forced labor in 1940. In 1941, Jewish public worship was outlawed. Approximately 1,342 local Jews emigrated during the years 1933 to 1937. Many others emigrated after 1937, and still others relocated within Germany. Forty-four Stuttgart Jews committed suicide, 14 died in prisons and camps, and 611 were deported in a total of 12 transports, between December 1941 and February 1945, to Riga, Izbica, Auschwitz and Theresienstadt. Among the victims was Otto Hirsch. At least 1,200 Stuttgart Jews perished in the Shoah. Stuttgart’s new Jewish community, founded in 1948, established a prayer hall at 26 Reinsburgstrasse. In 1952, the community built a new house of worship on the site of the former synagogue. Several memorials have been erected in the city to commemorate the Jews of Stuttgart.
Photo: The synagogue of Stuttgart. Courtesy of: The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, Art. No. 7355/114.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut
Sources: AJ, PK BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg