General information: First Jewish presence: 1736; peak Jewish population: 192 in 1871; Jewish population in 1933: 68
Summary: The Jewish community of Kirchen, most of whose members were cattle dealers, built its first synagogue in 1789. In 1831, a new synagogue—it housed a classroom, a mikveh (in the adjacent building) and an apartment for a teacher—was inaugurated in Kirchen. Kirchen’s Jewish cemetery was consecrated in 1865. Sixty-eight Jews lived in Kirchen and nearby Efringen in 1933. A teacher from Muellheim instructed seven children in religion, and the community maintained a chevra kadisha and a charity association for orphans. On Pogrom Night, Jews were forced to watch as the synagogue was destroyed and then incinerated. Nine men were detained and sent to Dachau. Twenty-one Jews from Kirchen and Efringen emigrated, nine relocated within Germany and six died in Kirchen. In September 1939, all Jewish residents of the area were evicted, after which their homes were confiscated. These Jews were deported to Gurs in October 1940. At least 30 Kirchen Jews perished in the Shoah. Although the synagogue ruins were demolished in 1945, a small section of one of its walls still exists. Memorials were unveiled at the cemetery and at the synagogue site in 1966 and 1986, respectively.
Photo: The synagogue of Kirchen in or around the year 1900. Courtesy of: the Municipal administration of Kirchen, Efringen.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, PK-BW, SIA
Zentralarchiv zur Erforschung der Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg