General information: First Jewish presence: 1228; peak Jewish population: 192 in 1905; Jewish population in 1933: 168
Summary: Jews were persecuted in Weinheim in 1298 and during the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49; in 1391, they were expelled from the Palatinate, as were all Jews in the region. It was not until the 17th century that a new Jewish community began to develop in Weinheim. The Jewish community of the Middle Ages maintained several synagogues during the 13th and 14th centuries, one of which was burned down in 1298 with 79 worshipers still inside. A new synagogue was erected on Hauptstrasse in 1690 (it was renovated and enlarged on several occasions), and we also know that another house of worship was inaugurated at 5 Ehret Strasse in 1906. Weinheim Jews were not only able to hire a teacher of religion (he served as chazzan and shochet), but also maintain a mikveh and a teacher’s seminary, the latter of which was based in Weinheim during the years 1861 to 1863. Although a Jewish cemetery was consecrated in Weinheim in 1666, it was eventually abandoned; from the 18th century onwards, burials were conducted in Hemsbach. In 1933, 22 local schoolchildren received religious instruction. Several Jewish associations and branches of national organizations were still active in the community that year. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s interior and ritual objects were demolished, after which the building was dynamited. Jewish businesses and homes were damaged, and Jewish men were sent to Dachau. In all, 102 local Jews emigrated, 25 relocated within Germany, 24 passed away in Weinheim and 47 were deported to Gurs, France, on October 22, 1940. At least 92 Weinheim Jews perished in the Shoah. Twenty-six Jewish patients from the local psychiatric hospital were also murdered. A residential building was erected on the former synagogue site after World War II. A commemorative plaque was unveiled nearby in 1967; in 1999, a monument was erected on the street.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL, HU, PK-BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg