General information: First Jewish presence: 1658; peak Jewish population: 176 in 1858; Jewish population in 1933: 7
Summary: Jews first settled in Lauchheim in 1658; that same year, six Jews who had been expelled from the county of Oettingen- Baldern found refuge in Lauchheim despite the opposition of Father Philipp Freiherr von Grafeneck. Most Jews lived on the Judengasse, or “Jews’ alley” (present-day Bleichstrasse), and although the community suffered a series of pogroms, Christian residents often protected their Jewish neighbors from the violence. The community inaugurated a synagogue in, at the latest, 1686; its location is not known, but records do tell us that the building burned down in 1743, after which, during the years 1768 to 1770, a new synagogue was built in Lauchheim (with the permission of the local count). Lauchheim became the headquarters of a regional rabbinate in 1716, the same year in which the community first employed a Jewish teacher. Other communal institutions included a Jewish school and a mikveh, both of which were built on the corner of 15 Bienner Strasse and Pfarrer-Bestlin-Strasse in the mid-1850s. Burials were conducted in nearby Aufhausen. Prominent Lauchheim rabbis included Joseph Bloch and Shmuel Bloch. In 1920, because many Jews had left Lauchheim in the early 20th century, the community was disbanded. Those Jews who stayed on were affiliated with the community in Oberdorf, and the synagogue was eventually sold to a private buyer. In 1933, only seven Jews still lived in Lauchheim. On Pogrom Night, Nazis unsuccessfully attempted to burn down the former synagogue building. According to Yad Vashem, at least 18 Lauchheim Jews were killed during the Shoah. Lauchheim is no longer home to a Jewish community. The local museum of history houses a few Jewish artifacts, commemorating the history of the community.
Author / Sources: Benjamin Rosendahl
Sources: AJ, LJG, YV
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg