General information: First Jewish presence: 17th or 18th century; peak Jewish population: 195 in 1895 (20% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: approximate
Summary: In 1838, Laufersweiler’s 10 Jewish homes and synagogue (the latter was inaugurated in or around the year 1825) burned down in a neighborhood fire. Six years later, in 1844, the Jews of Laufersweiler inaugurated a new synagogue— it accommodated a mikveh, a schoolroom and between 150 and 160 seats—at 3 Neuer Weg. The building, later deemed unsafe, was demolished in 1909, after which, in 1910/11, the community established another synagogue (its last) at 6 Kirchgasse. Laufersweiler’s Jewish cemetery, presumably consecrated at the turn of the 19th century, was enlarged in 1911. Beginning in 1877, at which point the Jewish elementary school closed down, the community maintained a school for religious studies whose teacher also performed the duties of chazzan and shochet. Thirteen children received religious instruction in 1933. That year, a charitable society and a women’s association were active in the community, with which the Jews of Buechenbeuren had been affiliated. In 1936, graves from the older part of the cemetery were moved to the newer section, after which the old section was sold. On Pogrom Night, SA men desecrated and destroyed the interior of the Laufersweiler synagogue. Most Jews left Laufersweiler before 1940. In 1942, seven were deported to the East and 10 to Theresienstadt. At least 37 Laufersweiler Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1988, the renovated synagogue building was reopened as a museum and cultural center. The building was renovated yet again in 2001.
Photo: The synagogue of Laufersweiler in June 1911. Courtesy of: Hans Werner Johann, Laufersweiler.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL, FJW