General information: First Jewish presence 1660; peak Jewish population: 200 in 1850; Jewish population in 1933: 66
Summary: Beginning in 1660, Jews were continuously present in Edenkoben. Jewish communal institutions included a synagogue (established in 1780-81), a new synagogue (1827), a mikveh, and a school building (1830), the last of which was adjacent to the synagogue. Jewish schoolteachers also performed the duties of chazzan and shochet; Maier Elsasser held this post between 1830 and 1865, followed by Leopold Stern, Josef Weil and then David Baer. Various reforms, for example, the playing of a harmonium and the use of German as a language for prayer, were introduced at the synagogue. The congregants, mostly cattle dealers and shopkeepers, also maintained a flourishing charity association. Several local Jews served in the army during World War I, and four died in combat; later, during the Nazi period, their names were removed from the town’s war memorial. Many Edenkoben Jews emigrated from Germany after the anti-Jewish boycott of 1933. On Pogrom Night, windows in Jewish-owned homes were smashed; at the synagogue, Nazis destroyed the interior, after which the contents, including the Torah scrolls, were burned in the marketplace as a local Nazi band played celebratory music. Approximately 14 Jews were left to be deported. The synagogue site was later rebuilt for commercial and residential purposes.
Author / Sources: Harold Slutzkin
Sources: AJ, LJG