General information: First Jewish presence: 1722; peak Jewish population: 118 in 1880; Jewish population in 1933: 26
Summary: In 1847, the Jews of Leimersheim replaced an older synagogue, which had been in use since 1750, with a new synagogue on Neugasse; the new building not only housed a gallery and living quarters for the caretaker, but also accommodated a classroom. Burials were conducted in nearby Ruelzheim. Although only 26 Jews lived in Leimersheim in 1933, the community still employed a chazzan. One child received religious instruction that year. In October 1938, members of the German military partly destroyed the interior of the Leimersheim synagogue. One month later, on Pogrom Night, axe-wielding SS men damaged the door, smashed windows and destroyed seats, ritual objects and Torah scrolls; anything made of wood was thrown onto the street and carried home by local residents for firewood. Local police, however, fearing for the safety of the neighboring homes, forbade the rioters from burning down the synagogue. The village’s Jewish men were sent to Dachau. In 1942, Leimersheim’s five remaining Jews were deported to the concentration camp in Gurs, France. At least 18 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The former synagogue—it had been sold, for a very low price, to the municipality in 1940—was returned to the Jewish community of Rheinland-Pfalz in 1950. In 1970, however, the dilapidated building was demolished, after which, in the early 1970s, a memorial was unveiled at Synagogenplatz (“synagogue square”).
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn