General information: First Jewish presence: unknown; peak Jewish population: 143 in 1905; Jewish population in 1933: 96
Summary: The Jewish community of Lahr was destroyed during the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49. It was not until 1862 that Jews were allowed to return to Lahr; in 1888, they established a community and inaugurated a prayer hall on Bismarckstrasse. Although local Jews were able to maintain a school—the teacher also served as the shochet and chazzan— they conducted burials in nearby Schmieheim. Prominent local Jews included the Weil family, whose steel plant was one of the largest in Europe. The prayer hall was sold in September 1938, after which prayers were conducted in a private residence. Later on Pogrom Night, rioters ravaged Jewish-owned homes and businesses, demolished the former prayer hall and threw out its ritual objects. Jews were dragged from their homes, and the men were sent to Dachau. The following morning, the remaining Jews were marched through the town. In 1939, those Jews who still lived in Lahr were forcibly moved into so-called “Jews’ houses.” Thirty-nine Lahr Jews emigrated, 30 relocated within Germany, nine died in Lahr and 21 were deported to Gurs in October 1940. Three Jews who were married to Christians managed to remain in Lahr, but a fourth was deported to Theresienstadt in 1945. At least 61 local Jews perished in the Shoah. A memorial plaque was later affixed to the Bismarckstrasse building.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, PK-BW
Historischer Verein Mittelbaden
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg