General information: First Jewish presence: 14th century; peak Jewish population: 125 in 1810 and again in 1880; Jewish population in 1933: 69
Summary: In 1816, the Jewish community of Wiesloch began to employ teachers who also functioned as cantors and ritual slaughterers. Later, in 1840, local Jews replaced their gender-separated prayer facilities (built in the 18th century) with a synagogue. Wiesloch’s Jewish cemetery, which was consecrated in 1661, was enlarged in 1819 and again in 1862. In 1933, eight schoolchildren studied religion in Wiesloch. A women’s association and a charity were active in the town. On Pogrom Night, rioters demolished the synagogue’s interior and set the Torah scrolls and ritual objects on fire. Jewish homes were vandalized, windows were smashed and Jewish men were sent to Dachau. Twenty-four local Jews emigrated, 20 relocated within Germany, six died in Wiesloch and 18 were deported to Gurs on October 22, 1940. Two elderly women, the town’s only remaining Jews, were deported to Theresienstadt in 1942. At least 31 Wiesloch Jews perished in the Shoah, and we also know that 12 Jewish patients at the local psychiatric institute were killed in the Nazis’ “euthanasia” program. The synagogue building was used as a garage until it was pulled down in 1957, after which residential buildings were constructed on the site. Plaques were unveiled there in 1974 and 1988 respectively; a memorial was unveiled at the Jewish cemetery in 1988.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, EJL, HU, PK BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg