General information: First Jewish presence: second half of the 13th century; peak Jewish population: 140 in 1835; Jewish population in 1933: 82
Summary: Jews were persecuted in Rockenhausen in 1283 and during the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49. It was only after 1662 that a Jewish presence was re-established in Rockenhausen. The community attended services in the synagogue in nearby Alsenz until the end of the 17th century. A prayer hall was established in Rockenhausen at some point during the 18th century, and another was opened in a private residence in 1811. Finally, in 1885, the Jews of Rockenhausen inaugurated a synagogue at 1 Gutenbrunnenstrasse; the synagogue accommodated 60 men, 35 women, a schoolroom and an apartment for a teacher. Other communal institutions included a Jewish public school (later a school for religious studies); a mikveh; an 18thcentury cemetery (enlarged in 1842); and a new cemetery (consecrated in 1908/12). In 1933, six children received religious instruction. A women’s association was active in the community, with which the Jews of Dielkirchen and Marienthal were affiliated. Later, on Pogrom Night (November 1938), the interior of the synagogue was destroyed; Jewish men were sent to Dachau. Seventeen Jews emigrated, 37 relocated within Germany and nine were deported to Gurs on October 22, 1940. At least 22 Rockenhausen Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue building was demolished in 1976. A memorial plaque was later unveiled at the site, and the old menorah is on display at the local museum. Rockenhausen’s new Jewish cemetery was desecrated in 2000.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL, FGW