General information: First Jewish presence: 15th century; peak Jewish population: 142 in 1864; Jewish population in 1933: 51
Summary: The Jews of Kuppenheim initially conducted services in private residences. The community established its first synagogue, on Geitzengasse, at some point between the years 1755 to 1789; in 1826, a new synagogue was inaugurated at Loewengasse. Later, in 1838, the old house of worship was replaced by a new community center housing a mikveh and a school, whose teacher also served as the shochet and chazzan. The Jewish cemetery on Stadtwaldstrasse, consecrated in 1692, served many of the surrounding Jewish communities; in 1889, a burial hall was built there. By 1938, all Jewish-owned businesses had been closed down or appropriated by “Aryans.” On Pogrom Night, the synagogue was burned down and its ritual objects were destroyed. Many locals, including children, watched the destruction. Jewish homes were heavily damaged, a Jewish woman was beaten and Jewish men were sent to Dachau, where one died. Two days later, the burial hall was burned down. Twenty-three local Jews emigrated, eight relocated in Germany, six died in Kuppenheim and 16 were deported to Gurs in October 1940. At least 35 Kuppenheim Jews perished in the Shoah. The synagogue ruins—the site had been sold in 1938—were demolished in 1950. A memorial stone and placard were later unveiled there (as of 1999, the site has been called Synagogenplatz, or “synagogue square”).
Photo: Curious onlookers, mainly children, in front of the synagogue of Kuppenheim after it was burned. Courtesy of: City Archive of Kuppenheim.
Author / Sources: Heike Zaun Goshen
Sources: AH, AJ, HU, PK-BW
Located in: baden-wuerttemberg