General information: First Jewish presence: Early Middle Ages; peak Jewish population: 158 in 1807; Jewish population in 1933: 16
Summary: Jews were persecuted in Weikersheim in 1298, in 1336/37 and in 1349. The 15th-century community was expelled in 1455, and it was not until 1637 that another Jewish presence was established in Weikersheim. In 1697, the new community employed a rabbi. Services were initially conducted in a prayer hall, but in 1688 the community established a synagogue with 15 seats for men and 13 for women. The Jews of Weikersheim inaugurated a larger synagogue, at 16 Wilhelmstrasse, in 1768, right next to the community center, which was built in 1748. In 1824, the complex was enlarged to accommodate a school (established in 1835) and a teacher’s apartment. The Jewish cemetery, opened on Gewann Stadelhof in 1730, served nearby Jewish communities too. In 1928, in response to the decrease in the town’s Jewish population, the synagogue was shut down. In 1933, three Jewish schoolchildren studied religion in Weikersheim. Although the community was dissolved in 1934, rioters nevertheless destroyed the synagogue’s interior on Pogrom Night. Ten local Jews emigrated, two died in Weikersheim and four were deported to Riga in December 1941 (an elderly couple died on the way). At least three Weikersheim Jews perished in the Shoah. The former synagogue, now a carpenter’s shop, bears a memorial plaque (affixed in 1981). The cemetery was desecrated in 1961.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL, HU, PK BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg