General information: First Jewish presence: 1655; peak Jewish population: 996 in 1858; Jewish population in 1933: 314
Summary: The Jewish community of Gailingen established the following institutions: a cemetery in 1676; a prayer room in 1700; a new synagogue in 1836 (enlarged and renovated in 1865); a mikveh on an unspecified date; a hospital in 1892; and an old-age home in 1898. Gailingen was home to a Jewish elementary school from 1815 until 1876, after which the Jewish community employed a teacher who also served as the chazzan and shochet. In 1827, a regional rabbinate was established in the town. Leopold Guggenheim was elected head of the local council in 1870, the first Jew in Germany to hold such a position. Dr. Mordechai Bocherer was regional rabbi in 1933. Thirty-three schoolchildren received religious instruction that year, and Jewish associations and branches of national Jewish organizations were active in the community. In October 1938, the town’s Polish Jews were deported to Poland. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s interior and ritual objects were destroyed, after which the building was set on fire. Jews were arrested and forced to watch as the fire consumed the building. Twelve local Jews were sent to Dachau that night; among them was Rabbi Bocherer, who died in the camp. The synagogue and school buildings were sold to the municipality in 1939. In 1940, 75 Jews lived in Gailingen. They were deported to Gurs, together with 90 residents of the old-age home and 13 hospital patients, on October 22, 1940. Twenty-eight elderly Jews were sent to the town of Konstanz in November 1940, but their fate is unknown. One local Jewish woman—she was married to a Christian—was sent to a forced labor camp in February 1945. At least 160 Gailingen Jews perished in the Shoah. After 1945, hundreds of Jewish displaced persons lived in Gailingen, all of whom had emigrated by 1950. Memorials were unveiled at the cemetery (1948) and the empty synagogue site (1967), at the latter of which another memorial was built in 2000. In 1982, a Torah scroll from Gailingen, saved by a Christian on Pogrom Night, was transferred to the synagogue of Beth-El in Israel.
Photo: The synagogue of Gailingen after it was destroyed on Pogrom Night, 1938. Courtesy of: Town Archive of Gailingen.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut
Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg