General information: First Jewish presence: 1337; peak Jewish population: 150 in 1862; Jewish population in 1933: 38
Summary: The Jewish community of Buchen was formed after the pogroms of 1348/49. The first synagogue, inaugurated in 1700, burned down in 1861, after which (in 1864) local Jews inaugurated a new synagogue with a mikveh and an elementary school. In 1889, however, disaster struck again when another fire inflicted major damage on the building and Torah scrolls. We also know that the cemetery at Buchen- Bodingen served Buchen and the surrounding Jewish communities, and that local Jews employed a teacher and maintained several associations. Although the synagogue had been sold in the summer of 1938, the Nazis still destroyed its interior on Pogrom Night. The scrolls were spared, having been transferred to Karlsruhe beforehand. Of the 38 Jews still living in Buchen in 1933, eight emigrated, 13 relocated within Germany, three died of natural causes, one committed suicide, five were deported to Gurs from elsewhere and 10 were sent to Gurs from Buchen (in October, 1940). At least 18 Buchen Jews perished in the Shoah. After the war, the synagogue housed refugee families. In 1951, the building was converted into an apartment. A plaque was unveiled there in 1983; and in 2006 a memorial square was named after Jacob Mayer, a poet and community leader who committed suicide in 1939.
Photo: Cantor Willi Wertheimer in the synagogue of Buchen. Courtesy of: State Archive of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ, SG-BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg