General information: First Jewish presence: 1743; peak Jewish population: 151 in 1875; Jewish population in 1933: 24
Summary: The Jews of Hagenbach used a prayer room, probably opened in 1772, until the late 18th century, when a synagogue was established on Theresienstrasse. By 1882, the synagogue had become so dilapidated that the community decided to build a new one on Ludwigstrasse; dedicated in May 1885, the new synagogue seated 70 men and 50 women. Hagenbach’s Jews, most of whom were traders, maintained a mikveh from 1856 until 1900, and a Jewish elementary school from 1839 until 1924, the latter of which was presided over by a schoolteacher who performed the duties of chazzan and shochet. The Jewish cemetery, consecrated in 1868, was desecrated several times. A women’s association was active in the community in 1933, and one child received religious instruction. The day after Pogrom Night, Nazis from Hagenbach and neighboring villages broke into the synagogue and lit a bonfire of furniture, prayer books and ritual objects inside the building; the flames gutted the building, but not before the Torah shrine had been stolen. Hagenbach’s Jewish cemetery was desecrated during the pogrom. All Jews had left Hagenbach before November 1938. Four emigrated from and 20 relocated within Germany. At least 27 are thought to have perished in the Shoah (Nazi records also refer to another village called Hagenbach in Upper Franconia, Bavaria). Torn down after the pogrom, the synagogue was handed over to the Reich Association for German Jews and, later, to the Finance Ministry. The building was returned to the Jewish community of Rhineland-Pfalz in January 1950, and sold five years later. The new owners built a residential property in its place. Hagenbach’s Jewish cemetery was desecrated again in 1978.
Author / Sources: Bronagh Bowerman
Sources: AJ, EJL, FJG, SG-RPS, SIA