General information: First Jewish presence: 16th century; peak Jewish population: 413 in 1936; Jewish population in 1933: 296
Summary: This Jewish community consecrated two cemeteries: one in 1717, the other in 1899. A prayer hall was established in a private residence on Kirchstrasse in 1727, and records also tell us that the same building was converted into a proper synagogue in 1763. Local Jews inaugurated a new synagogue in 1823, after which the old house of worship served as a community center with classrooms and living quarters for the schoolteacher/chazzan. Emmendingen was also home to a mikveh (consecrated in 1840) and a Jewish school (1830- 1872) In 1933, the 296 Jews of Emmendingen maintained a library and several local branches of Jewish associations and national organizations. The Jewish population grew after 1933 as Jews from rural communities moved to Emmendingen. On Pogrom Night, SA men dynamited the synagogue building, but not before destroying the interior with axes. Benches, books and sacred objects were piled up outside and set on fire. The community center was vandalized (the building remained intact), the two cemeteries were vandalized, windows in Jewish-owned businesses were smashed and nearly all Jewish men were sent to Dachau, where one died. Later, in 1939, the remaining Jews were forced to sign over to the authorities both the Kirchstrasse building and the synagogue. One hundred and eighty-seven Emmendingen Jews emigrated, 88 relocated within Germany, 27 died in Emmendingen and 66 were deported to Gurs in October 1941, the same year during which between 25 and 30 patients at the local psychiatric hospital were murdered. Approximately 123 Emmendingen Jews perished in the Shoah. The “Old Synagogue” was converted into an apartment building in 1941; it was returned to the new Jewish community of Southern Baden in 1945, only to be sold again. Several plaques have been unveiled in the town. In Emmendingen, a community of 74 Jews from the former Soviet Union was founded in 1995, after which, in 1999, the Old Synagogue was returned to the community, home to 350 Jews by 2007. A museum was opened in the mikveh building in 1997.
Photo: Interior of the synagogue of Emmendingen. Courtesy of: Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, Art. No. 101A-17.
Photo 2: The synagogue of Emmendingen. Courtesy of: Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, Art. No. 101A-16.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AJ, PK-BW, SG-BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg