General information: First Jewish presence: 1347; peak Jewish population: 578 in 1848 (one-third of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 90
Summary: The Jews of Ingenheim consecrated a cemetery in the mid-17th century, if not earlier. Ingenheim was home to a synagogue in the 18th century, and records also tell us that a district rabbinate was established there in the 19th century. In 1832, a new synagogue was built at 17-19 Hauptstrasse. With 240 seats for men and 170 for women, it was the largest synagogue in the Palatinate region. We also know that a Jewish school was based in a nearby building, and that the 19th-century community employed a teacher of religion and a chazzan/shochet. Later, the duties of teacher, chazzan and shochet were combined into one post. The community maintained a mikveh and a library. Most unusually, Ingenheim had a Jewish mayor, Bernard Roos, from 1860 until 1864. In 1933, four schoolchildren received religious instruction. Four Jewish associations and a branch of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith were active in the community, with which the Jews of Goecklingen, Heuchelheim and Klingenmuenster had been affiliated. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue and all its contents— including 20 Torah scrolls and numerous ritual objects— were burned. Most of the town’s remaining Jews left after the pogrom. The cemetery was desecrated in 1939. On October 22, 1940, Ingenheim’s remaining three Jews, all elderly women, were deported to the concentration camp in Gurs, France. At least 30 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue’s ruins, damaged by artillery fire during the war, were eventually cleared, after which, in 1951, the plot was sold to a private buyer. A commemorative plaque was unveiled in Ingenheim in 1986.
Author / Sources: Maren Cohen and Nurit Borut
Sources: AJ, EJL, FJG