General information: First Jewish presence: 1241; peak Jewish population: 694 in 1880; Jewish population in 1933: 530
Summary: A medieval Jewish community was expelled from Ulm in 1499. Jews re-established a presence there in 1782, founding an official community in 1857. In 1880, one year after the birth of Ulm native Albert Einstein, the community recorded a peak Jewish population of 694. Ulm’s medieval Jewish community had maintained a synagogue, a mikveh, a school and two cemeteries. The modern Jewish community established the following institutions: a prayer hall in 1845; a cemetery in 1852; a Jewish community center—located on Weinhof, it housed a school and a teacher’s apartment—in 1868/9; a Reform synagogue, established within the community center in 1873 (renovated in 1928); and, finally, a district rabbinate in 1889. Ulm’s Orthodox Jews maintained their own prayer hall. In 1933, 530 Jews lived in Ulm. Seventy-four Jewish schoolchildren studied religion, and several Jewish associations and branches of nation-wide organizations were active in the city. The synagogue was burned down on Pogrom Night. Jews were taken to the Weinhof square, were assaulted by a mob and maltreated at the police station. Jewish-owned businesses were vandalized and looted, and 38 Jewish men were sent to Dachau, where one died (another died after his release). The synagogue’s ruins were demolished shortly afterwards at the community’s expense. Ulm’s Jewish cemetery was destroyed during the Nazi period. Three hundred and thirty-one Jews emigrated from Ulm (among them Richard Strauss, the founder of the State of Israel’s Strauss dairy concern). Others relocated within Germany, 39 died in Ulm and 98 were deported to Riga, Izbica and Theresienstadt between the years 1941 and 1945. At least 118 Ulm Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1958, a bank was built on the site of the former synagogue; a plaque was later unveiled there. A memorial was erected on Weinhof in 1988. The cemetery is now a park. In 2002, the new Jewish community of Ulm established a prayer hall.
Photo: The synagogue of Ulm after Pogrom Night, before it was completely demolished. Courtesy of: City Archive of Ulm.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH. AJ, EJL, PK BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg