General information: First Jewish presence; 1724; peak Jewish population: 843 in 1869; Jewish population in 1933: 325
Summary: By 1856, this Jewish community was the largest in Wuerttemberg. A rabbi was appointed in 1745, and Laupheim hosted a regional rabbinate between 1832 and 1922. Services were initially conducted in a private residence. Local Jews consecrated a cemetery after 1730, and records tell us that it was enlarged on several occasions. A synagogue was built near the cemetery in 1771, and it was there that Jews congregated until 1822, when the community inaugurated a new house of worship. When that new synagogue quickly fell into disrepair, yet another synagogue—it housed a mikveh— was inaugurated in Laupheim in 1836/37. We also know that the Jewish school, which had been founded in 1823, was moved to the new rabbinate house (opposite the synagogue) in 1829; and in 1868, the school was moved yet again—this time to its own building. According to records, the 19thcentury community maintained a school for girls. In 1933, several Jewish associations and branches of national organizations were active in Laupheim; eleven pupils attended the school. Jewish-owned businesses were frequently attacked in 1935 and in 1936. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue was set on fire while Jewish men were forced to perform exercise drills in front of the burning building; approximately 40 men were sent to Dachau that night. The community was dissolved in 1939, by which point the Jews of Laupheim and other communities had been forcibly moved into huts on a camp. Seventy-three Jews moved to Laupheim during the Nazi period. At least 134 emigrated, many of whom were aided by Laupheim native Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Studios in Hollywood. Forty-one relocated within Germany, 57 died in Laupheim, four committed suicide and 73 were deported to Riga and Theresienstadt in 1941/1942. At least 120 Laupheim Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1961, a church was built on the synagogue site. Several monuments and plaques commemorate the Jews of Laupheim, and the town is home to a museum of local Jewish history.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL, GGL, HU, PK-BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg