General information: First Jewish presence: 16th century (first half ); peak Jewish population: unknown; Jewish population in 1933: 309
Summary: By the early 1840s, the Jewish community of Ichenhausen numbered over 1,000 members, making Ichenhausen Bavaria’s second-largest Jewish community. Local Jews managed their internal affairs independently from their Christian neighbors until 1869. The community established a Jewish cemetery in 1634; a synagogue in 1687; a new synagogue, which contained a mikveh, in 1782 (renovated in 1852, 1896 and again in 1929); a regional rabbinate in 1792; and a Jewish elementary school in the 1820s. The school—it was moved into its own building in 1833—enrolled 210 pupils in 1857. Ichenhausen’s Jewish cemetery was desecrated in 1929. In 1933, Simon Schwab was rabbi of Ichenhausen; he emigrated in 1936, and was replaced by Rabbi Gerhard Frank. Fortythree pupils were enrolled at the school, and numerous associations and branches of nation-wide Jewish organizations were active in the town. By 1933, the Jews of Neu-Ulm had been affiliated with the Ichenhausen community. On the morning before Pogrom Night, between 80 and 100 Jews were forced out of their homes, marched to the municipal hall and beaten along the way; 39 were imprisoned in Guenzburg. That afternoon, a large mob smashed the synagogue’s windows, vandalized the interior, burned ritual items and Torah scrolls and pulled up hundreds of Jewish gravestones at the cemetery. A few days later, the town’s Jewish women were forced to don the men’s traditional hats and clear the synagogue’s rubble before an audience of mocking locals. Jewish homes were again attacked in December 1939, and the cemetery was desecrated in 1940. In all, 168 Ichenhausen Jews emigrated, 64 relocated within Germany and 43 died in Ichenhausen. The deportations to Piaski, Theresienstadt and Auschwitz in 1942 and 1943 included 123 Ichenhausen Jews. At least 223 local Jews perished in the Shoah. The former synagogue, renovated during the years 1984 to 1987, is now a social hall.
Photo: The synagogue of Ichenhausen. Courtesy of: The Central Archive for the History of the Jewish People, the Harburg Collection, P160/265.
Author / Sources: Yaakov Borut
Sources: AJ, EJL, PK-BAV
Located in: bavaria