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The Jewish Community of Kehl am Rhein

Kehl am Rhein 

A town on the river Rhine, directly opposite the French city of Strasbourg, in the Ortenau district in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.

First Jewish presence: unknown; peak Jewish population: 156 in 1905; Jewish population in 1933: 109

This Jewish community was established in 1881. Services were conducted in a private residence, where a prayer hall had been set up, until 1889, when local Jews inaugurated their first synagogue. In 1924, prior to which burials had been conducted in Freistett, the community consecrated a cemetery in a section of the municipal burial grounds. A women’s association and a welfare organization for migrants were active in Kehl in 1933. The teacher instructed 18 Jewish children that year. In October 1938, a Jewish family was deported to Poland. One month later, on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), the synagogue interior was damaged and its ritual objects destroyed. Jewish men were imprisoned in the town hall together with Jews from the surrounding communities; they were brutally whipped by SS men, forced to torture each other, marched through the town and, finally, sent to Dachau. The synagogue was demolished later that year. Fifty-seven Kehl Jews fled the country, 39 relocated within Germany, seven died in Kehl and 22 were deported to Gurs concentration camp in France in October, 1940. Two Jewish women avoided this transport, but were deported to Nazi concentration camps in Eastern Europe in 1941/42. At least 55 local Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1983, a plaque was unveiled at the synagogue site; in 1991, a stone pillar was erected next to the old town hall as a reminder of the brutalities committed there on Pogrom Night.

----------------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Place Type:
Town
ID Number:
16741669
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Nearby places:

Related items:

Gurs internment camp

The Gurs camp was an internment camp built in France at Gurs near Oloron-Sainte-Marie in the Basses-Pyrénées (currently Pyrénées-Atlantiques) department by the French government of Édouard Daladier between March 15 and April 25 1939 to intern people fleeing Spain after the victory of the Franco's forces in the Spanish Civil War. 

Following the armistice of June 22, 1940 , signed with Germany by the French government of Pétain , the camp was used as a mixed internment camp to accommodate Jews of all nationalities - except French - captured and deported by the Nazi regime in countries under its control (Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands). Nearly 4,000 Jews were transferred from Gurs to the Drancy camp between August 6, 1942 and March 3, 1943. They were subsequently deported to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and almost all were murdered there.

Hoenheim

In German: Hönheim

A commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the historical region of Alsace, France. Hoenheim was annexed by Germany between 1871-1918.

The beginnings of the Jewish community of Hoenheim are documented in the first half of the 18th century with three Jewish families mentioned in 1746. The 1784 general census of the Jewish population in Alsace recorded in Hoenheim six Jewish families. There were 57 Jewish inhabitants in Hoenheim in 1807, their number grew to 103 in 1946. During the second half of the 19th century the Jewish population of Hoenheim started to decline with 97 Jews recorded in 1870, 87 in 1887, and 46 in 1910. In 1936 the Jewish population stood at 30 individuals.

The Jewish community of Hoenheim belonged to the Rabbinate of Bischheim. The first synagogue of Hoenheim dates from the 18th century. It was replaced by a new building in 1865. The Jewish community employed a teacher who also served as a prayers leader and a shochet. The Jews of Hoenheim were buried in the Jewish cemetery of Bischheim.

After the German occupation of Alsace in 1940, the remaining Jews of Hoenheim were deported to southern France, of them four perished in the Holocaust.  

After WW II, a handful of Jews returned to Hoenheim. In 1953 there were 14 Jews in Hoenheim. The building of the former synagogue is located on Rue des voyageurs. La maison juive de Hœnheim is a historic monument located at 21, rue de la République, Hoenheim. 

Strasbourg

The capital of Alsace, Eastern France

The earliest evidence of a Jewish presence in Strasbourg dates from 1188; Jews fled from the area during the anti-Jewish persecutions of the Third Crusade, but they appear to have returned after a short while. The size of the Jewish community, as well as its economic power, is reflected in the fact that in 1242 it paid the highest tax of all of the Jewish communities of the empire. In 1306, the Jewish population numbered about 300. Moneylending appears to have been their sole economic activity, and their customers included Christian religious institutions and noblemen.

The patrician municipality sought to protect the Jews during the Black Death persecutions, pogroms in European cities that began in 1348, after rumors spread that Jews were poisoning the wells in order to spread the plague. Unlike the majority of local governments, the city council attempted to protect its Jewish residents. Nonetheless, a new council arose in 1349 after a rebellion by the local population, who became convinced that the previous council was protecting the Jews because the council had been bribed by them. After the coup, the Jews of Strasbourg were no longer protected. Beginning St. Valentine's Day, Saturday, February 14, 1349, and lasting for approximately 6 days, at least 1,000 Jews were killed, many of whom were burned alive. The only people spared were those who chose to accept baptism. Jewish property was distributed among those who carried out the massacre. On September 12, 1349, Emperor Charles IV officially pardoned the town for the massacre of the Jews and the plunder of their possessions. Jews were not allowed to settle in the city. Every evening at 10:00pm the tolling of the cathedral bell and a municipal herald blowing a horn reminded any Jews in the city that it was time to leave.

In spite of the town's decision to prohibit the settlement of Jews, a number of Jews were authorized to reside there from 1369 onward, but only if they paid extremely high fees. The Jewish population numbered at least 25 families when they were again expelled from Strasbourg at the end of 1388. Those who had been banished settled in surrounding villages, where they continued to maintain commercial relations with the inhabitants of Strasbourg.

One of the most important figures from the area is Josel of Rosheim, (also known as Joselin, Joselmann, Yoselmann, Josel von Rosheim in German, Joseph ben Gershon mi-Rosheim or Joseph ben Gershon Loanz in Hebrew), who advocated for the Jews of Germany and Poland, and who was eventually appointed by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I as governor of all Jews of Germany. Among his numerous activities on behalf of the Jews of Alsace in general, and Strasbourg in particular, in 1543 he sent a petition to the magistrate of Strasbourg, in which he comprehensively refuted the assertions made by Martin Luther in his pamphlets "Concerning the Jews and their Lies" and "Concerning the Shem Ha-Meforash." As a result of Josel's efforts, the magistrate blocked the publication of the new edition of Luther's book.

Once the town came under French sovereignty in 1681, the severity of the anti-Jewish measures were eased, or even temporarily suspended; nonetheless, Jews were still prohibited from settled in Strasbourg, and were still subject to special taxes. In fact, a special mention was made of Strasbourg, where "the Jews are subjected to a corporal tax which reduces them to the level of animals." It was not until the French Revolution, 1789-1799, that restrictions on the Jews in France began to be significantly eased; full emancipation was grated to Sephardic Jews in 1790, and to Ashkenazi Jews in 1791. In spite of strong opposition from the local population, immediately after the National Assembly had granted Jews the rights of citizenship, many returned to established themselves in Strasbourg. In 1806, seven delegates represented the 1,500 Jews of Strasbourg at the Assembly of Notables, and that same year Napoleon appointed Rabbi Joseph David Sinzheim, the Chief Rabbi of Strasbourg, as president of the newly created "Great Sanhedrin."

The community, which was constantly growing, soon built a number of important institutions. In addition to synagogues, a vocational school was founded in 1825, and an old age home, "Elisa," was built in 1853. There was even a short-lived rabbinical seminary that was opened in 1885. The German annexation of 1871 was responsible for the departure of a number of Jews for France, though anti-Semitic violence in the town decreased under the new rule.

The interwar period saw a particularly rapid growth in the local population, in spite of the fact that the rate of immigration from abroad was much lower in Strasbourg than in other towns. In 1931, of the almost 8,500 Jews who were living in Strasbourg, over 60% were born in France.

The entire population of Strasbourg was evacuated to the Southwest of France when World War II broke out in September 1939. After the French surrender in June 1940, the Jewish community succeeded in setting up basic provisional arrangements, including setting up a synagogue and a welfare bureau in Perigueux and a synagogue in Limoges. In Strasbourg proper, the Nazis set fire to the Quai Kleber synagogue, which had been erected in 1898 and systematically destroyed all traces of the structure. Strasbourg Jews set up and directed agricultural schools. Under the auspices of OSE (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants, Children's Aid Society), they helped open clinics and children's homes. They also organized rescue missions to Switzerland or to Palestine (via Spain) for infants and older children.

Rabbi Hirschler, Robert Brunschwig, and Elie Cyper, along with youth leader Leo Cohn, were arrested and deported to death camps. Rabbi Samy Klein and Aron Wolf were killed while active in the resistance.

About 10,000 Jews lived in Strasbourg on the eve of World War II. 8,000 returned after the liberation; 1,000 died in concentration camps, and another 1,000 decided to settle elsewhere. In 1965 there were 12,000 Jews in Strasbourg (4.5% of the total population). This increase was the result of natural growth, immigration from smaller Alsatian centers, immigration from Central Europe, and refugees arriving from North Africa. The number of mixed marriages between Jews and non-Jews increased by 40% between 1960 and 1965.

Strasbourg Jewry was one of the most active communities in Europe after World War II, and many of the institutions created since 1945 stressed Jewish education. The University of Strasbourg has a chair of Jewish Studies, which was held by the scholar and philosopher Andre Neher.

Anti-Semitism is still an issue in Strasbourg, though it is generally more latent than it had been throughout the history of the city. The Alsatian population established organizations to prevent the return of Jewish property confiscated in 1940 to the owners, and later banded together to prevent the erection of a synagogue on town land.
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The Jewish Community of Kehl am Rhein

Kehl am Rhein 

A town on the river Rhine, directly opposite the French city of Strasbourg, in the Ortenau district in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.

First Jewish presence: unknown; peak Jewish population: 156 in 1905; Jewish population in 1933: 109

This Jewish community was established in 1881. Services were conducted in a private residence, where a prayer hall had been set up, until 1889, when local Jews inaugurated their first synagogue. In 1924, prior to which burials had been conducted in Freistett, the community consecrated a cemetery in a section of the municipal burial grounds. A women’s association and a welfare organization for migrants were active in Kehl in 1933. The teacher instructed 18 Jewish children that year. In October 1938, a Jewish family was deported to Poland. One month later, on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), the synagogue interior was damaged and its ritual objects destroyed. Jewish men were imprisoned in the town hall together with Jews from the surrounding communities; they were brutally whipped by SS men, forced to torture each other, marched through the town and, finally, sent to Dachau. The synagogue was demolished later that year. Fifty-seven Kehl Jews fled the country, 39 relocated within Germany, seven died in Kehl and 22 were deported to Gurs concentration camp in France in October, 1940. Two Jewish women avoided this transport, but were deported to Nazi concentration camps in Eastern Europe in 1941/42. At least 55 local Jews perished in the Shoah. In 1983, a plaque was unveiled at the synagogue site; in 1991, a stone pillar was erected next to the old town hall as a reminder of the brutalities committed there on Pogrom Night.

----------------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Strasbourg
Hoenheim
Gurs
Strasbourg

The capital of Alsace, Eastern France

The earliest evidence of a Jewish presence in Strasbourg dates from 1188; Jews fled from the area during the anti-Jewish persecutions of the Third Crusade, but they appear to have returned after a short while. The size of the Jewish community, as well as its economic power, is reflected in the fact that in 1242 it paid the highest tax of all of the Jewish communities of the empire. In 1306, the Jewish population numbered about 300. Moneylending appears to have been their sole economic activity, and their customers included Christian religious institutions and noblemen.

The patrician municipality sought to protect the Jews during the Black Death persecutions, pogroms in European cities that began in 1348, after rumors spread that Jews were poisoning the wells in order to spread the plague. Unlike the majority of local governments, the city council attempted to protect its Jewish residents. Nonetheless, a new council arose in 1349 after a rebellion by the local population, who became convinced that the previous council was protecting the Jews because the council had been bribed by them. After the coup, the Jews of Strasbourg were no longer protected. Beginning St. Valentine's Day, Saturday, February 14, 1349, and lasting for approximately 6 days, at least 1,000 Jews were killed, many of whom were burned alive. The only people spared were those who chose to accept baptism. Jewish property was distributed among those who carried out the massacre. On September 12, 1349, Emperor Charles IV officially pardoned the town for the massacre of the Jews and the plunder of their possessions. Jews were not allowed to settle in the city. Every evening at 10:00pm the tolling of the cathedral bell and a municipal herald blowing a horn reminded any Jews in the city that it was time to leave.

In spite of the town's decision to prohibit the settlement of Jews, a number of Jews were authorized to reside there from 1369 onward, but only if they paid extremely high fees. The Jewish population numbered at least 25 families when they were again expelled from Strasbourg at the end of 1388. Those who had been banished settled in surrounding villages, where they continued to maintain commercial relations with the inhabitants of Strasbourg.

One of the most important figures from the area is Josel of Rosheim, (also known as Joselin, Joselmann, Yoselmann, Josel von Rosheim in German, Joseph ben Gershon mi-Rosheim or Joseph ben Gershon Loanz in Hebrew), who advocated for the Jews of Germany and Poland, and who was eventually appointed by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I as governor of all Jews of Germany. Among his numerous activities on behalf of the Jews of Alsace in general, and Strasbourg in particular, in 1543 he sent a petition to the magistrate of Strasbourg, in which he comprehensively refuted the assertions made by Martin Luther in his pamphlets "Concerning the Jews and their Lies" and "Concerning the Shem Ha-Meforash." As a result of Josel's efforts, the magistrate blocked the publication of the new edition of Luther's book.

Once the town came under French sovereignty in 1681, the severity of the anti-Jewish measures were eased, or even temporarily suspended; nonetheless, Jews were still prohibited from settled in Strasbourg, and were still subject to special taxes. In fact, a special mention was made of Strasbourg, where "the Jews are subjected to a corporal tax which reduces them to the level of animals." It was not until the French Revolution, 1789-1799, that restrictions on the Jews in France began to be significantly eased; full emancipation was grated to Sephardic Jews in 1790, and to Ashkenazi Jews in 1791. In spite of strong opposition from the local population, immediately after the National Assembly had granted Jews the rights of citizenship, many returned to established themselves in Strasbourg. In 1806, seven delegates represented the 1,500 Jews of Strasbourg at the Assembly of Notables, and that same year Napoleon appointed Rabbi Joseph David Sinzheim, the Chief Rabbi of Strasbourg, as president of the newly created "Great Sanhedrin."

The community, which was constantly growing, soon built a number of important institutions. In addition to synagogues, a vocational school was founded in 1825, and an old age home, "Elisa," was built in 1853. There was even a short-lived rabbinical seminary that was opened in 1885. The German annexation of 1871 was responsible for the departure of a number of Jews for France, though anti-Semitic violence in the town decreased under the new rule.

The interwar period saw a particularly rapid growth in the local population, in spite of the fact that the rate of immigration from abroad was much lower in Strasbourg than in other towns. In 1931, of the almost 8,500 Jews who were living in Strasbourg, over 60% were born in France.

The entire population of Strasbourg was evacuated to the Southwest of France when World War II broke out in September 1939. After the French surrender in June 1940, the Jewish community succeeded in setting up basic provisional arrangements, including setting up a synagogue and a welfare bureau in Perigueux and a synagogue in Limoges. In Strasbourg proper, the Nazis set fire to the Quai Kleber synagogue, which had been erected in 1898 and systematically destroyed all traces of the structure. Strasbourg Jews set up and directed agricultural schools. Under the auspices of OSE (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants, Children's Aid Society), they helped open clinics and children's homes. They also organized rescue missions to Switzerland or to Palestine (via Spain) for infants and older children.

Rabbi Hirschler, Robert Brunschwig, and Elie Cyper, along with youth leader Leo Cohn, were arrested and deported to death camps. Rabbi Samy Klein and Aron Wolf were killed while active in the resistance.

About 10,000 Jews lived in Strasbourg on the eve of World War II. 8,000 returned after the liberation; 1,000 died in concentration camps, and another 1,000 decided to settle elsewhere. In 1965 there were 12,000 Jews in Strasbourg (4.5% of the total population). This increase was the result of natural growth, immigration from smaller Alsatian centers, immigration from Central Europe, and refugees arriving from North Africa. The number of mixed marriages between Jews and non-Jews increased by 40% between 1960 and 1965.

Strasbourg Jewry was one of the most active communities in Europe after World War II, and many of the institutions created since 1945 stressed Jewish education. The University of Strasbourg has a chair of Jewish Studies, which was held by the scholar and philosopher Andre Neher.

Anti-Semitism is still an issue in Strasbourg, though it is generally more latent than it had been throughout the history of the city. The Alsatian population established organizations to prevent the return of Jewish property confiscated in 1940 to the owners, and later banded together to prevent the erection of a synagogue on town land.

Hoenheim

In German: Hönheim

A commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the historical region of Alsace, France. Hoenheim was annexed by Germany between 1871-1918.

The beginnings of the Jewish community of Hoenheim are documented in the first half of the 18th century with three Jewish families mentioned in 1746. The 1784 general census of the Jewish population in Alsace recorded in Hoenheim six Jewish families. There were 57 Jewish inhabitants in Hoenheim in 1807, their number grew to 103 in 1946. During the second half of the 19th century the Jewish population of Hoenheim started to decline with 97 Jews recorded in 1870, 87 in 1887, and 46 in 1910. In 1936 the Jewish population stood at 30 individuals.

The Jewish community of Hoenheim belonged to the Rabbinate of Bischheim. The first synagogue of Hoenheim dates from the 18th century. It was replaced by a new building in 1865. The Jewish community employed a teacher who also served as a prayers leader and a shochet. The Jews of Hoenheim were buried in the Jewish cemetery of Bischheim.

After the German occupation of Alsace in 1940, the remaining Jews of Hoenheim were deported to southern France, of them four perished in the Holocaust.  

After WW II, a handful of Jews returned to Hoenheim. In 1953 there were 14 Jews in Hoenheim. The building of the former synagogue is located on Rue des voyageurs. La maison juive de Hœnheim is a historic monument located at 21, rue de la République, Hoenheim. 

Gurs internment camp

The Gurs camp was an internment camp built in France at Gurs near Oloron-Sainte-Marie in the Basses-Pyrénées (currently Pyrénées-Atlantiques) department by the French government of Édouard Daladier between March 15 and April 25 1939 to intern people fleeing Spain after the victory of the Franco's forces in the Spanish Civil War. 

Following the armistice of June 22, 1940 , signed with Germany by the French government of Pétain , the camp was used as a mixed internment camp to accommodate Jews of all nationalities - except French - captured and deported by the Nazi regime in countries under its control (Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands). Nearly 4,000 Jews were transferred from Gurs to the Drancy camp between August 6, 1942 and March 3, 1943. They were subsequently deported to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and almost all were murdered there.

Emilie Kehl
Kaitlin,Rose Kehl
Esther Kehl
Fred KEHL