General information: First Jewish presence: 16th century; peak Jewish population: 435 in 1925; Jewish population in 1933: 260
Summary: Baden-Baden (Baden-Wuerttemberg) Between the 16th and 18th centuries, a handful of Jewish families lived in Baden-Baden. In 1862, Jews were allowed to settle there and were granted equal rights; accordingly, a community was founded in 1890. In 1899, the community replaced its old prayer hall (established in 1867) with a new synagogue. Later, in 1921, the Jews of this town (popular among wealthy Jews for its health spas) consecrated a Jewish cemetery. In response to the anti-Semitism rampant in Baden- Baden during the 1920s, Jews boycotted the town. In 1920, a Jew was murdered there by a radical nationalist. Baden-Baden was home to 260 Jewish residents in 1933. Several charity associations and branches of major Jewish organizations were active in the town, and the community had a teacher in its employment that year. Jews owned two hotels and an art gallery. The cultural and social life of the community continued to thrive well into the Nazi period. In 1937, Jews were forbidden to visit the town’s tourist facilities. On Pogrom Night, 80 Jews were rounded up and marched through the city center, after which they were crammed into the synagogue, forced to listen to anti-Semitic abuse and to practice gymnastics. The synagogue was set on fire that night—it was later razed to the ground—and Jewish-owned businesses were looted. Seventy-eight Baden-Baden Jews immigrated, 76 relocated within Germany, 21 died in Baden-Baden and six committed suicide. In October 1940, 114 Jews were deported to the concentration camp in Gurs, France. At least 113 Baden-Baden Jews perished during the Shoah. The new Jewish community of Baden-Baden was founded in 1946. A monument was unveiled near the Jewish cemetery in 1976, and in 1992 a prayer room was opened in the town.
Photo: The synagogue of Baden-Baden on fire. Courtesy of: Yad Vashem Photo Archive, 213BO5.
Photo 2: The Jews of Baden-Baden were forced to enter the synagogue and listen to anti-Semitic lectures given by the SS. Courtesy of: Yad Vashem Photo Archive.
Author / Sources: Maren Cohen; Sources: AJ, PK-BW, SG-BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg