General information: First Jewish presence: 1576; peak Jewish population: 181 in 1880; Jewish population in 1933: 46
Summary: In 1840, the Jewish community of Wenkheim replaced its 17th-century prayer hall with a proper synagogue; the new building housed a mikveh, a school and an apartment for a teacher who also served as shochet and chazzan. The Jewish cemetery on Gewann Grosser Wald, which had been consecrated in, at the latest, the 17th century, served Wenkheim and the neighboring Jewish communities. In 1933, four schoolchildren studied religion in Wenkheim. Torah study groups and a charitable organization were active in the town. The synagogue’s interior and ritual objects were destroyed on Pogrom Night; Jews, however, were permitted to bury several desecrated prayer books. An attempt to dynamite the synagogue building failed, and it was subsequently used to house prisoners of war. Thirty Jews emigrated from Wenkheim before 1940; five relocated within Germany. The 11 remaining Jews were eventually moved into the Bravmann family’s home, from which they were deported to Gurs on October 22, 1940. At least 34 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue—it had been used as a residence and warehouse after the war— was restored in 1992. Now a cultural center, it houses a memorial plaque and an exhibition on regional Jewish history.
Photo: In the background, the synagogue of Wenkheim. Courtesy of: Unknown.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL, HU, PK BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg