General information: First Jewish presence: Middle Ages; peak Jewish population: 809 in 1843; Jewish population in 1933: 101
Summary: The medieval Jewish community of Hechingen established a synagogue in 1546 and a cemetery in the mid-1600s. Although Jews were allowed to settle permanently in 1701, it was only in 1901 that they received full civil rights. A yeshiva, opened in 1770, was replaced in 1803 by a Beit Midrash, or house of Jewish learning, (the latter closed down in 1850). Between 1780 and 1875, Hechingen was the seat of a rabbinate. The community established a synagogue in the 18th century, two others during the 19th century (closed in 1850 and 1870, respectively) and a Jewish school in the early 1800s. Paul Levy, a local Jew, was a co-founder of the Spartacus League (a Marxist, revolutionary movement), leader of the Communist Party and, later, of the Social Democratic party. The synagogue’s interior and a shop were destroyed on Pogrom Night; most Jewish men were sent to Dachau. The cemetery was destroyed during the war, and we also know that 53 Hechingen Jews left the town, 16 died there, one committed suicide and 32 were deported in 1941/1942. At least 37 Hechingen Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1991, the synagogue building was rebuilt as a cultural center, housing an exhibition on Hechingen’s Jewish history. A new Jewish community was founded in Hechingen in 2003.
Photo: The vandalized synagogue of Hechingen. Courtesy of: US Holocaust Memorial Museum, 87449.
Author / Sources: Magret Liat Wolf
Sources: AJ, PK-BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg