General information: First Jewish presence: 1264; peak Jewish population: 265 in 1895; Jewish population in 1933: 114
Summary: In Bretten, it was not until after the Thirty Years’ War that a lasting Jewish community began to develop. In 1827, a district rabbinate was established in the village. The community conducted services in private residences houses until 1822, when a synagogue—it housed a school between 1835 and 1876—was inaugurated in Bretten. In 1933, 114 Jews lived in Bretten. The community maintained a cemetery and several associations and youth groups. The district rabbi was Dr. Siegfried Grzymisch. Bretten’s Jewish population actually increased after the Nazis’ rise to power. On Pogrom Night, the community center, Jewish-owned businesses and the synagogue were destroyed. The synagogue was set on fire: 25 Torah scrolls, together with other ritual objects, went up in flames. At noon the following day, members of the SA and SS paraded Jewish men through town before forcing them to stand in front of the synagogue and listen to a racist tirade. All Jewish men under 60 were sent to Dachau. Between 1937 and 1940, at least 76 local Jews emigrated; 36 moved to other German cities. Eighteen Jews, the town’s last, were eventually deported to Gurs, France. At least 23 Bretten Jews perished in the Shoah. A memorial stone was unveiled at the synagogue site in 1979; it was replaced in 1988.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, EJL
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg