General information: First Jewish presence: unknown (see below); peak Jewish population: 173 in 1835; Jewish population in 1933: 16
Summary: A relatively large Jewish community flourished in Gauersheim during the 18th century. In 1768, the community established its first synagogue on present-day Friedhofstrasse. A Jewish cemetery was consecrated in 1770 and enlarged in 1874. Although plans for the construction of a new synagogue and school were made in 1824, they never materialized. Instead, the original synagogue’s chairs were replaced by benches in 1865; further improvements were made in 1877, and the end result was a women’s balcony with 23 seats and a main sanctuary with 40 seats for men. A fireplace was added in 1906. During the 19th century, the community employed a teacher who also served as chazzan and shochet. Gauersheim’s Jewish schoolhouse housed an apartment for the teacher. By 1933, the Jews of Albisheim had been affiliated with the Gauersheim community. Sixteen Jews lived in Gauersheim that year, but this figure increased to 38 in 1936. All religious services ceased after 1933, and the last Jewish burial took place in 1934. Although the synagogue was no longer in use, its windows were smashed in 1937. The synagogue’s roof was destroyed on Pogrom Night, the interior demolished. Gauersheim’s Jewish community was later forced to sell the synagogue’s ruins to the local authorities; the sale covered the cost, for which the Jews had been billed, of clearing the debris. The building was demolished in 1939/40. All Jews had left Gauersheim by September 1939. At least 10 Gauersheim Jews perished in the Shoah.
Author / Sources: Bronagh Bowerman
Sources: AJ, FJG, SG-RPS