General information: First Jewish presence: 17th century; peak Jewish population: 233 in 1864; Jewish population in 1933: 20
Summary: Wangen’s first documented Jew, Baruch Moises Ainstein, was an ancestor of Albert Einstein’s. The Wangen Jews established the following institutions: a small wooden synagogue (with 22 seats for men) and mikveh next to Lake Constance in 1750; an additional prayer hall (set up in the community leader’s home) in 1783; a new synagogue in 1825/1826; and, finally, a cemetery on Gewann Am Hardtbuehl in 1827. Jewish schoolchildren attended the community’s elementary school until 1870, when all confessional schools in Baden were closed, after which local Jews employed a teacher of religion who also functioned as a chazzan and shochet. By the 1920s, the community had dwindled to such an extent that regular services were no longer held in the synagogue. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue was burned down; six Jews were brutally assaulted, and the cemetery was desecrated. Six local Jews emigrated, three relocated within Germany, five died in Wangen and seven were deported to Gurs on October 22, 1940. At least six Wangen Jews died in the Shoah. The synagogue site—it was transferred to the municipality in 1945—is now a camp site; in 1968, a memorial stone was unveiled there. The cemetery was vandalized in 1992.
Photo: View of the Torah Ark in the synagogue of Wangen before 1938. Courtesy of: Photo Archive of the Jacob Picard Memorial, Oehningen- Wangen.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL, HU, PK BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg