General information: First Jewish presence: 1214; peak Jewish population: 189 in 1880; Jewish population in 1933: 56
Summary: Jews were persecuted in Oppenheim in 1336/37, in 1348/49 and again in 1353. Although all Jews had left Oppenheim by 1548, a Jewish presence was re-established there in the 1670s. In 1864, the modern community, founded in 1720, replaced its synagogue and mikveh on Schlachthofstrasse with a new synagogue at 19 Rathofstrasse (at the corner of Kirchgasse), which was renovated in 1914. Local Jews also maintained a mikveh and a cemetery, the latter of which was consecrated in the early 18th century and enlarged in 1914. The community’s elementary school, established in 1841, later became a school for religious studies; during the 20th century, its teacher also served as chazzan and shochet. On Yom Kippur, 1928, Nazis smashed windows in Jewish homes and assaulted Jews, stabbing two. In 1933, 10 Jewish schoolchildren studied religion in Oppenheim. A welfare society and two charitable funds were active in the community, with which the Jews of Dienheim and Nierstein were affiliated. The cemetery and synagogue were desecrated in June of 1934 and March of 1938, respectively. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue was burned to the ground; Jewish-owned shops and homes were ransacked, and Jewish men were sent to Buchenwald, The synagogue’s ruins were cleared, after which a bomb shelter was erected on the site. Six local Jews emigrated from and 28 relocated within Germany. In 1941, only one Jewish family (four members) still lived in Oppenheim; they were deported to the East in 1942. At least 50 Oppenheim Jews perished in the Shoah.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AJ, EJL, FGW, PK-HNF