General information: First Jewish presence: 1667; peak Jewish population: 484 in 1857 (16% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 172
Summary: The Jewish community of Ruelzheim, which peaked at 484 members in 1857, was then the second largest Jewish community in the Speyer bishopric and one of the few in the Palatinate to have a mohel. Earlier, in 1832/33, a synagogue was built on the Kuntzengasse; the roof was renovated in 1867, and the building was enlarged at the end of the 19th century. Other communal institutions included the following: a mikveh (unknown date of construction), a regional cemetery (1826), an elementary school (1830/31) and a library. In 1856, 100 students attended the elementary school. In 1933, the community, with which the Jews of Kandel were affiliated, not only employed a teacher (he instructed 14 students that year) and a chazzan, but also maintained several Jewish associations. On Pogrom Night, rioters destroyed the synagogue’s interior and set the roof on fire; Torah scrolls, ritual objects, rugs and lamps were burned in the backyard. Jewishowned homes and businesses were wrecked and looted, the cemetery was desecrated and Jewish men were sent to Dachau. Beginning in 1930, 75 Ruelzheim Jews emigrated and 88 relocated within Germany (75 in 1938/39). At least 96 Ruelzheim Jews and four from Kandel perished in the Shoah. The synagogue building, used after the war as a storage site and, later, as a Catholic youth center, was reopened in 1991 as a “Historical and Meeting Center.”
Author / Sources: Yehoshua Ahrens Sources: AJ, EJL, FGW