General information: First Jewish presence: 1471; peak Jewish population: 227 in 1839; Jewish population in 1933: 40
Summary: Although a Jewish man by the name of Benedit von Hohenheim lived in Hoffenheim in 1471, other Jews were not allowed to settle there until 1715. The synagogue, built in 1750, was renovated in 1834 and again in 1865. The Jewish community maintained an elementary school from 1840 until 1876, after which a teacher, who also served as a chazzan and shochet, instructed children in religion. Hoffenheim was home to a Jewish men’s association, a women’s association, an association for the sick and a society called Binyan Bes- Hakneses. We also know that the community had built a mikveh by 1932, and that burials were conducted in Waibstadt. In 1935, local Nazis attacked the synagogue and wounded the shamash (synagogue caretaker); the local evangelical minister denounced these crimes. Later, on Pogrom Night (November 1938), SA men heavily damaged the synagogue: the chandelier and the windows were smashed, and ritual objects were hauled to the outskirts of town, where they were set on fire. The synagogue ruins were later demolished. Twelve Hoffenheim Jews emigrated, 10 relocated within Germany, three died in the town and 15, the last, were deported to Gurs in October 1940. At least 28 Hoffenheim Jews perished in the Shoah, 15 of them in Auschwitz. Hoffenheim’s general cemetery houses a memorial plaque for the victims of the Shoah.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg