General information: First Jewish presence: 1343; peak Jewish population: 397 in 1858; Jewish population in 1933: 213
Summary: The Jews of Haigerloch, first documented in 1343, were murdered in the Black Death pogroms five years later. An organized Jewish community existed there during the 16th century. By 1858, most local Jews were living in the Haag district. Records from 1595 mention a prayer room. The community inaugurated a synagogue at 14 Am Haag in 1783; the house of worship was enlarged in 1839/40 to accommodate 294 seats, and we also know that the building was renovated in 1930. The community not only hosted a rabbinate from 1820 until 1894, but also maintained an elementary school (1823-1939), a mikveh and a cemetery, the last of which was consecrated in Weildorf in the 16th century and closed in 1884. According to records, a regional Jewish cemetery was consecrated in the Haag district in 1802 (enlarged in 1929). In 1933, 213 Jews lived in Haigerloch. Fourteen pupils attended the school, and several Jewish associations and branches of national Jewish organizations were active in the town. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s interior was destroyed: windows were smashed, and benches and ritual objects were thrown out. The interiors of the school and mikveh were destroyed, two community functionaries were assaulted, Jewish homes were vandalized and 10 men were sent to Dachau. A year later, on November 10, 1939, most local Jews were imprisoned for two days and tortured, after which, later that year, they were used as forced laborers. At least 53 Jews emigrated from Haigerloch. Between 1940 and 1942, hundreds of Jews from other places in Wuerttemberg were forcibly moved to Haigerloch, from where they were deported to the East. At least 158 Haigerloch Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue and mikveh were sold to the city in 1939. A memorial organization, the Gespraechskreis Ehemalige Synagoge Haigerloch (founded in 1988) bought the building in 1999. In 2004, it was opened to the public as a memorial and a museum of local Jewish history. The cemetery has a memorial stone.
Photo: The synagogue of Haigerloch. Courtesy of: Leo Baeck Institute, New York.
Author / Sources: Daniel Weiss
Sources: AJ, PK-BW, HU
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg