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The Jewish Community of Obernai

Obernai

In German: Oberehnheim

A town in the department of Bas- Rhin, France.

The first evidence for the presence of Jews in Obernai dates from 1215. In 1349 a Jewish woman who had been sentenced to death for coin clipping accused the Jews of propagating the black death, whereupon all the Jews of Obernai were burned at the stake. Jews were recorded as living in Obernai again between 1437 and 1477 and from 1498 to 1507. Subsequently Jews were rarely even allowed to travel through Obernai or permitted to visit the local market. Only in 1647, when the town passed from French rule, were Jews again permitted to settle there. In 1784 the number of Jews in Obernai was 196. Many more were recorded as living there on the eve of World War II.

About 60 lived there in 1970.

Place Type:
Town
ID Number:
235195
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Nearby places:

Related items:
Neher, Andre (1914-1988), scholar and philosopher, born in Obernai, France, who became one of the foremost Jewish philosophers of the 20th century. He was a student at the Freppel school in Obernai, then at the Lycee Fustel de Coulange in Strasbourg, France. He studied modern Hebrew at the Orthodox synagogue in Strasbourg and learned for a time at the yeshiva in Montreux. A lover of France and French culture, Neher was at the same time an admirer of the German language and literature and he became a teacher of German first at the Erckmann-Chatrian secondary school in Sarrebourg, and then at the Lycee Kleber in Strasbourg. In 1939 he was drafted to the French army, but was released after the defeat. Together with his family he went to live in the small town of Brive-la-Gaillarde, in the Limousin region which was a centre of the Resistance movement. In Brive he became teacher of German at a secondary school. Later he went to live at Lanteuil in Corrèze. When the Vichy government was established, in accordance with the anti-Jewish laws, he was dismissed from his teaching position. A proud Frenchman, he was amazed at the indifference shown by his fellow teachers to his dismissal and shocked to find himself an outcast. It changed his feelings for France. Neher considered that he survived the Holocaust by the skin of his teeth, living in a French society which had adopted Jean-Paul Sartre's belief that man is “condemned to be free”. After WW 2, he became a professor at the University of Strasbourg, he abandoned his almost unconditional affection for France, his love of German culture and became much close to his Jewish roots. In 1955, Neher became professor of Jewish literature at the University of Strasbourg. He persuaded the authorities to include Hebrew among the languages offered by French universities. After the break between France and Israel before the Six Day War in 1967 and in reaction to the anti-Semitic comments of De Gaulle at the time, Neher decided to immigrate to Israel. He proceeded to teach at Tel Aviv University.

His masterpiece is "The exile of the Word" ("L'Exil de la parole. Du silence biblique au silence d'Auschwitz,(1970) which discusses God’s silence after the Shoah. Neher believed that one can find divine revelation through biblical silence, human freedom can emerge through the silence. It is better for man to concentrate his attention not on the ideas of redemption or salvation, but on the here and now. “Hope is not in the laugh or fullness, hope is in the tears, in the risk and in their silence”, he wrote. In other works Neher’s thoughts put color into each Jew’s daily sense of Jewish Renaissance, in his “Jerusalem”, his inner world. Every Jew, he believed, has a built-in “radar” which seeks a sense of spirituality, a longing for things beyond this physical world. For French Jewry, Neher served as a “Jewish renewer” after the Holocaust, along the veins of what Martin Buber was for German-speaking Jews.

“Man is capable of singing a dual song”, writes Neher, “with lyrics from both Jewish and universal sources; combining inspiration from both ‘the Earth in all its grander is to the Almighty’, with ‘a song for the Sabbath’; melding down-to-earth challenges with hope for Redemption – Nachamu, Nachamu Ami (be consoled, my people).” As to the Holocaust, writes Neher, one must remember that the Almighty’s relationship with man may at times be fairly apparent and “vocal”, while at other times it may be transcendental and “silent”. Silence is golden – transcendental silence.

Other books written by Neher include "Transcendance et immanence" ("Transcendence and immanence")(1946), "Amos, contribution à l'étude du prophétism" ("Amos, contribution to the study of the prophecy")(1950), "L'Essence du Prophétisme" ("Quality of Prophecy")(1955), "Le conflit du sacré et du profane dans la renaissance de l'Hébreu" ("The conflict of sacred and profane in the renaissance of Hebrew")(1958), "Moïse et la vocation juive" ("Moses and the Jewish vocation") (1956), "Histoire biblique du peuple d'Israël" ("Biblical history of the people of Israel") written together with his wife Renee Neher (1962), "L'Existence Juive" ("The Jewish Existence") (1962), "Dans tes portes, Jérusalem" ("Within your gates, Jerusalem)"(1972).

Facade of the synagogue in Obernai?,
Alsace, France c.1990
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Dan Givol, Israel)

Relief on a column capital at the entrance to the courtyard of the former old synagogue complex on 43 Gouraud street, today a residential building, Obernai, Alsace, France, October 1996
The building ia a part of the old synagogue complex built in the 17th and 18th centuries
Photo: Rachel Schnold Sternkranz
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, courtesy of Rachel Schnold Sternkranz)

Remains of a stone sign from 1696 on a wall of the former old synagogue on 43 Gouraud street, today a residential building, Obernai, Alsace, France, October 1996
The building is part of the Old synagogue complex built in the 17th and 18th centuries
Photo: Rachel Schnold Sternkranz
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, courtesy of Rachel Schnold Sternkranz)

Jews' Alley (Ruelle Des Juifs), Obernai, Alsace, France, October 1996
Photo: Rachel Schnold Sternkranz
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, courtesy of Rachel Schnold Sternkranz)

The entrance to the courtyard of the old synagogue on 43 Gouraud street, today a residential building, Obernai, Alsace, France, October 1996
The building was part of the old synagogue complex built in the 17th century, it was expanded during the 18th century
Photo: Rachel Schnold Sternkranz
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, courtesy of Rachel Schnold Sternkranz)

Typical Alsatian decorated well, Obernai, Alsace, France, October 1996
Photo: Rachel Schnold Sternkranz
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, courtesy of Rachel Schnold Sternkranz)

Entrance door to the former old synagogue on 43 Gouraud street, today a residential building, Obernai, Alsace, France, October 1996

On the right: a hole in the doorstep for the mezuzah. The building ia a part of the Old synagogue complex built in the 17th and 18th centuries
Photo: Rachel Schnold Sternkranz
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, courtesy of Rachel Schnold Sternkranz)

Jews' Alley (Ruelle Des Juifs), Obernai, Alsace, France, October 1996

Photo: Rachel Schnold Sternkranz
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, courtesy of Rachel Schnold Sternkranz)

Remains of a column and reliefs from the old synagogue complex on 43 Gouraud street, today a residential building, Obernai, Alsace, France, October 1996
The building is part of the Old synagogue complex built in the 17th and 18th centuries
Photo: Rachel Schnold Sternkranz
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, courtesy of Rachel Schnold Sternkranz)

Neher, Andre (1914-1988), scholar and philosopher, born in Obernai, France, who became one of the foremost Jewish philosophers of the 20th century. He was a student at the Freppel school in Obernai, then at the Lycee Fustel de Coulange in Strasbourg, France. He studied modern Hebrew at the Orthodox synagogue in Strasbourg and learned for a time at the yeshiva in Montreux. A lover of France and French culture, Neher was at the same time an admirer of the German language and literature and he became a teacher of German first at the Erckmann-Chatrian secondary school in Sarrebourg, and then at the Lycee Kleber in Strasbourg. In 1939 he was drafted to the French army, but was released after the defeat. Together with his family he went to live in the small town of Brive-la-Gaillarde, in the Limousin region which was a centre of the Resistance movement. In Brive he became teacher of German at a secondary school. Later he went to live at Lanteuil in Corrèze. When the Vichy government was established, in accordance with the anti-Jewish laws, he was dismissed from his teaching position. A proud Frenchman, he was amazed at the indifference shown by his fellow teachers to his dismissal and shocked to find himself an outcast. It changed his feelings for France. Neher considered that he survived the Holocaust by the skin of his teeth, living in a French society which had adopted Jean-Paul Sartre's belief that man is “condemned to be free”. After WW 2, he became a professor at the University of Strasbourg, he abandoned his almost unconditional affection for France, his love of German culture and became much close to his Jewish roots. In 1955, Neher became professor of Jewish literature at the University of Strasbourg. He persuaded the authorities to include Hebrew among the languages offered by French universities. After the break between France and Israel before the Six Day War in 1967 and in reaction to the anti-Semitic comments of De Gaulle at the time, Neher decided to immigrate to Israel. He proceeded to teach at Tel Aviv University.

His masterpiece is "The exile of the Word" ("L'Exil de la parole. Du silence biblique au silence d'Auschwitz,(1970) which discusses God’s silence after the Shoah. Neher believed that one can find divine revelation through biblical silence, human freedom can emerge through the silence. It is better for man to concentrate his attention not on the ideas of redemption or salvation, but on the here and now. “Hope is not in the laugh or fullness, hope is in the tears, in the risk and in their silence”, he wrote. In other works Neher’s thoughts put color into each Jew’s daily sense of Jewish Renaissance, in his “Jerusalem”, his inner world. Every Jew, he believed, has a built-in “radar” which seeks a sense of spirituality, a longing for things beyond this physical world. For French Jewry, Neher served as a “Jewish renewer” after the Holocaust, along the veins of what Martin Buber was for German-speaking Jews.

“Man is capable of singing a dual song”, writes Neher, “with lyrics from both Jewish and universal sources; combining inspiration from both ‘the Earth in all its grander is to the Almighty’, with ‘a song for the Sabbath’; melding down-to-earth challenges with hope for Redemption – Nachamu, Nachamu Ami (be consoled, my people).” As to the Holocaust, writes Neher, one must remember that the Almighty’s relationship with man may at times be fairly apparent and “vocal”, while at other times it may be transcendental and “silent”. Silence is golden – transcendental silence.

Other books written by Neher include "Transcendance et immanence" ("Transcendence and immanence")(1946), "Amos, contribution à l'étude du prophétism" ("Amos, contribution to the study of the prophecy")(1950), "L'Essence du Prophétisme" ("Quality of Prophecy")(1955), "Le conflit du sacré et du profane dans la renaissance de l'Hébreu" ("The conflict of sacred and profane in the renaissance of Hebrew")(1958), "Moïse et la vocation juive" ("Moses and the Jewish vocation") (1956), "Histoire biblique du peuple d'Israël" ("Biblical history of the people of Israel") written together with his wife Renee Neher (1962), "L'Existence Juive" ("The Jewish Existence") (1962), "Dans tes portes, Jérusalem" ("Within your gates, Jerusalem)"(1972).

France

République française

A country in Western Europe, member of the European Union (EU).

21st Century

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: 450,000 out of 65,000,000 (0.6%). France is the home of the third largest Jewish population in the world and the largest Jewish community in Europe. 

Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France - Representative Council of Jews of France
Phone: 33 1 42 17 11 11
Fax: 33 1 42 17 11 13
Email: infocrif@crif.org
Website: www.crif.org

Consistoire Central de France – Union des Communautés Juives de France
19, rue St Georges
75009 Paris
France
Phone: 01 49 70 88 00
Fax: 01 42 81 03 66
Website: https://france.consistoire.org/consistoire-central/
e-mail : administration@consistoirecentral.fr

 

HISTORY

The Jews of France

1040 | In Rashi Veritas

Brain drain is not a new phenomenon. Between the eighth and tenth centuries a mass movement began of Jewish merchants from Babylon – then the largest Jewish population center in the world – migrating to Western Europe, where international trade centers began to emerge. These Jews joined a larger and older group of fellow Jews, who had migrated back in 2nd Temple times, through the Mediterranean to Gaul, the land that we know as France.
As befits a goose laying golden eggs, the Jews received special rights and sheltered under the protection of French nobles, who shielded them from the maws of the Catholic Church. The economic prosperity allowed them to establish yeshivas and Torah centers which produced many scholars. One of these, a genius who made his living as a vintner, was born in 1040 in the province of Champagne in France, and bequeathed to posterity a comprehensive commentary on the Torah. Legend has it that the incomparable Rashi script was invented by his daughters, who were scholars themselves, but the truth is that it's the font of a Sephardi cursive script that was used in the Jewish printing presses in 16th century Italy to distinguish it from the biblical text itself. His name was Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (Rashi), and his monumental work is still the authoritative commentary on Holy Scripture in the rabbinical world.

1240 | Where They Burn Books...

The crusades, which spread from Europe beginning in 1096, ended the idyll of Jewish existence in the lands of Ashkenaz in the early second millennium. Blood libels, persecutions and expulsions were the lot of the Jews for hundreds of years afterward.
One of the low points was reached in the year 1240 and is known as “The Trial of Paris”. At this trial, initiated by King Louis IX and Pope Gregory IX, the defendant was not a person, but a work of literature - The Talmud, to be precise, which according to the Catholic Church holds messages of hatred towards all gentiles and disparagement of Jesus.
One fine day an incited mob gathered in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, to watch the condemned criminal – 12,000 hand-written copies of the Talmud – burned at the stake. 600 years later Jewish-German poet Heinrich Heine would comment on this event: “Where they burn books, they will eventually burn people.”

1481 | The Provenance of Provence

When speaking of the Jews of France, one cannot help but pay special attention to a singular group of Jews who lived in what is now the south of France and was called “The Sages of Provence”.
These sages were the advanced placement class of the Jewish world. They created a unique brand of thought and Bible exegesis and also engaged in philosophy and Kabbalah. The teachings of these sages was spread throughout Europe, Spain and North Africa, and their genius was a byword among Jewish intellectuals of Western Europe.
Among the main writers of this group are Hameiri, Rabbi David Kimchi (aka Rada”k), Rabbi Zarhia HaLevi (aka Raza”h), Abraham Ben David (aka Raba”d) and his son, Rabbi Isaac the Blind, and of course the great translator Judah ibn Tibbon, the man who disseminated the thought of Maimonides after translating it from Arabic into Hebrew.
The Jews of Provence as a cultural phenomenon came to an end in the year 1481, when King Louis XI of France annexed Provence to his realm.

1498 | The Odyssey of Expulsions

To the Jews of France, the late Middle Ages were an agonizing ping-pong affair of expulsions and recalls. In 1306 King Phillip IV issued an edict banning the Jews from residence in French territory. 11 years later his son, Louis X, recalled the Jews – provided they wear an identifying patch on their clothes. A mere seven years went by and the Jews were expelled again. This time it was King Charles IV, who claimed that the Jews, in their temerity, failed to pay their full amount of taxes to him.
In 1357, under Jean II and later under Charles V, the Jews returned to France, but once again suffered persecution, restriction of their freedom of occupation to the sole field of money-lending, and finally – abduction of their children.
The odyssey of expulsions ended on September 17th, 1394, when Charles VI succumbed to the pressure of the masses and issues an edict of expulsion for all Jews in his domains. To his credit, it must be noted that he gave the expelled Jews ample time to sell their property and decreed that any Christian who borrowed money from them must repay it. By 1498 there was not a Jew left anywhere in France, save for a smattering of small communities that lived in Avignon and its environs in the south of France, which was then under Papal control.

1791 | No Bread? Eat Challa

The French Revolution, which broke out in 1789, costing many their lives through the services of “Madame Guillotine”, heralded the idea of the liberal democratic state as we know it today. From a tyrannical class-based society France transformed (albeit through much bloodshed), to a democratic regime in which each person can be master of their own fate.
The first to enjoy the fruits of emancipation were the Jews of Alsace-Lorraine, an area conquered by France back in 1630. The Jews of France, then numbering some 40,000 people, were as mentioned above the first in Europe to enjoy the fruits of the revolution, but their release from the burden of being the “other” and “alien” was not easy. At first the leaders of the revolution claimed that the Jews were “a nation within a nation” and as such not eligible for treatment as equal citizens. But in 1791 the General Law Relating to the Jews was issued, granting the Jews full equality, and there was much rejoicing in the Jewish quarter of Paris.

1806 | The Twelve Question Program

It would not be off the mark to characterize the history of Europe's Jews in general and those of France in particular as a series of “almosts”. Almost equality. Almost Emancipation. Almost liberty.
As though the Law Relating to the Jews had not been passed 15 years prior, in 1806 the question of Jewish status was raised once again, this time under Napoleon, the legendary general known for his unlimited ambition.
Napoleon took a creative approach. In 1806 he gathered an assembly of leading Jews and presented them with the “12 Question Test”, designed to assess their loyalty to France. Among other things the Jews were asked how Jewish halacha views mixed marriages, whether a Jew may charge interest from a gentile, how the Jews view France and more.
The answers the Jews gave, declaring France their motherland and non-Jewish Frenchmen their brothers, did not satisfy Napoleon, and a year later he issued the “Shameful Edict”, limiting the Jews' freedoms of occupation and movement, yet forced them to enlist in the army. Shameful indeed.

1860 | All Israel Are Friends

The story of the first global Jewish organization, Alliance Israelite Universelle, established in Paris in 1860, begins with a Jewish 3 year-old from Bologna named Edgardo Levi Mortara, who one day was kidnapped from his parents and taken to the Vatican, where he was “reeducated” in Catholic institutions.
The Mortara affair created great furor throughout liberal circles in Europe and was the main impetus for the founding of “Alliance”, a Jewish cultural organization meant to protect Jewish rights, which was active mainly in education.
During this period, 12 years after the “Spring of Nations” revolution, a wave of nationalism broke out and swept over France. As though through Pavlovian conditioning, the Jews were once again blamed for all the ills that had befallen the land of good taste. 12 years later, one of the main accusations hurled at the Jews was that they had gotten rich lending money to the French government for the disastrous war against the hated enemy of Prussia.

1894 | A Legendary Story

It was a winter he would never forget, and it seems that neither shall we. He was the Paris correspondent for the Austrian newspaper Neue Freie Presse, a handsome man with a thick black beard and burning eyes. He would not forget the toxic hatred, the obvious lie; he would not forget the shouts of “Death to the Jews” and the pleas of the accused, a Jewish-French military officer named Alfred Dreyfus, reprimanding those who were his subordinates but a moment ago, in a cracked voice: “I forbid you to curse me”, to no avail of course. To this day, the ripped-off ranks of Dreyfus appear in the all-Jewish nightmares.
Many historians believe that it was the Dreyfus trial that pushed the “Visionary of the Jewish State,” Binyamin Zeev (Theodore) Herzl, to dedicate his life to establishing a state for the Jews. For if in France, the country that had committed itself more than any to the ideals of equality, liberty, and fraternity, such anti-Semitism raged – what would become of the Jews huddled in the Pale of Settlement in Eastern Europe?
"If you will it", the young journalist thought to himself, "it is no legend".

1914 | Bloom of Life

On July 31st, 1914, Jean Jaures, leader of the Social-Democrat camp in French politics, sat and ate dinner at the famous Cafe du Croissant in the ninth arrondissement of Paris. All around the tempest was raging. The winds of WW1 began to blow, and Jaures, who had done everything in his power to stop the war, but in vain, was bitterly disappointed. This did not last long. During the meal an assassin appeared behind him and put two bullets in his head.
The murder of Jaures made a deep impact on his pupil and friend, Leon Blum, a socialist Jewish intellectual who would make history 22 years later by becoming the first Jewish Prime Minister of France. Blum, an attorney with a well-developed social conscience, who was defined by his biographer as a “man of words”, embodied the spirit of French Jews between the world wars. He was a man of French culture through and through, and at the same time deeply aware of his Jewish identity, an avowed Zionist, and was admired by the leaders of the Hebrew population in mandatory Palestine, who often sought his advice.

1942 | Vichy-ing The Jews Away

During WW2 France showed its ugly side. The Vichy government, a puppet regime under German protection, took part – and according to German testimony, with great zeal – in the deportation of the Jews of France (mostly Jews without French citizenship, including many who had fled from Nazi-controlled areas) to the extermination camps in the east.
One of the events that will live in infamy in French history was the deportation of 12,500 of the Jews of Paris, who were led in the dark of night, in the middle of July 1942, to the Velodrome d'hiver, where many of them died due to the harsh sanitary conditions and a severe shortage of food and water.
True, proud Francophiles will say – and rightly so – that there was a French resistance movement that abhorred the treatment of the Jews. To strengthen their argument for the republic, perhaps they will also offer the story of the nun Mother Maria Skobtsova, a Righteous Among the Nations, who managed to sneak into the velodrome along with her son disguised as waste removal workers, and hid several dozen Jewish children in the trash cans she took out. But these were the exceptions that did not indicate the rule. The numbers show that some 76,000 of the Jews of France (about a quarter of the Jews in the country) were sent to the death camps, of whom only 2,500 or so survived.

2000 | From Rothschild to Levinas

After the fall of the Iron Curtain and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Jews of France became the largest Jewish community in Europe: Some 600,000 Jews, most of whom migrated to France in the 1950s and 1960s from North Africa, as the French colonies there came to an end. The Six Day War represented a sort of messianic moment for the Jews of France as well. Their identification with Israel following the war was expressed in rallies and marches in the streets of Paris, financial support for Israel and the establishment of the “National Coordination Committee”, which united the vast majority of Jewish organizations in France.
In the 1980s the Jewish community in France was a hotbed of intellectual ferment, that included youngsters considered assimilated as well. Jewish radio stations were launched, departments of Jewish studies at universities received funding and resources, and research and publications on Jewish topics flourished. Among the celebrated Jews of France one may find intellectual Bernard Henri Levi, filmmaker Claude Lelouche, philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, thinker Jacques Derida, the famous Rothschild family and more.
But even in the 21st century France is not yet completely rid of anti-Jewish expressions and actions, this time led mostly by Muslim immigrants. These outbreaks, which included rock throwing, vandalism at synagogues and even murderous terror attacks, have led to another wave of aliyah to Israel.

Alsace

A historical region in northeastern France on the Rhine River plain, bordering Germany and Switzerland. 

Balbronn

A commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Alsace, France. Balbronn was annexed by Germany between 1871-1918

The first Jewish presence in Balbronn is documented in 1665. The 1784 “Census of Jews tolerated in the Province of Alsace in compliance with the Letters Patent of his Majesty” ordered by the French government recorded 33 Jewish families with a total of 170 persons living in Balbronn. The number of the Jewish residents grew to 184 in 1805 and about 200 in 1840. After mid-19th century the Jewish population of Balbronn decreased continuously with 144 Jews recorded in 1910 and 62 in 1936.

The first synagogue was opened around 1730. The building of the old synagogue still stands and is located at 47-48, rue Balbach, in a edifice known as the Maison des Juifs. This house dates from 1638, however it seems to have been used as a synagogue only after 1730. The prayer room was located on the first floor and the mikve was situated in a nearby house.

The old synagogue was replaced by a new building in neo-Romanesque style with 100 places for men and 60 for women. It was inaugurated December 10, 1895. The community also operated a mikve and a school. The community of Balbronn belonged to the district rabbinate in Westhofen, and after the 1920s to rabbinate of Obernai. The Jews of Balbronn did not have a separate cemetery and used the regional Jewish cemetery of Rosenwiller.

In the summer of 1940 Alsace was occupied by the Germans and all remaining Jews in Balbronn were deported to southern France. At least 26 Jews from Balbronn perished in the Holocaust.

The building of the new synagogue, located on rue des Femmes in Balbronn, is classified as a historic monument. It narrowly escaped destruction during the German occupation. It was restored after the war and used for worship until the end of the 1960s. The building was declared historical monument on February 10, 1999. A model of the synagogue of Balbronn is on display at the Muse Judeo-Alsacien in Bouxwiller

Itterswiller 

In German: Ittersweiler

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

The Jewish settlement in Itterswiller dates from the end of the 17th century. In 1689 there were 12 Jews in the village and in 1725 their number grew to 48. The 1784 general census of the Jewish population in Alsace recorded in Itterswiller 19 Jewish families with a total of 108 people. In 1807 there were 110 Jewish inhabitants in the village and their number reached a peak of 208 in 1846.  The Jewish population remained at around 200 individuals for more than thirty years. In 1870 there were 190 Jews in Itterswiller, but that number decreased towards the end of the 19th century. In 1900 there were 79 Jews in the village and ten years later their number stood at 63. Jews continued to leave the village during the first half of the 20th century: in 1936 there were only 19 Jews in Itterswiller.

The Jewish community of Itterswiller belonged to the Rabbinate of Niedernai and later to that of Obernai. From 1854 to 1867 the rabbinate of Niedernai was relocated temporarily to Itterswiller . The community had a prayer room since the 18th century. A new synagogue building was erected in the early 1841. The building was extensively renovated and then re-inaugurated in 1894. The community also had a school and a mikveh. Itterswiller did not have a Jewish cemetery and the community used the large Jewish cemetery in Rosenwiller.

In the early 1930s the Jewish community was in the process of disintegration. The synagogue was still in use, but they could no longer gather a minyan.

After the German occupation of Alsace in 1940, the remaining Jews of Itterswiller were deported to southern France, of them twelve perished in the Holocaust

In 1953 there were 4 Jewish inhabitants in Itterswiller . The synagogue building was partially destroyed during WW II. It has been restored and it is now privately owned. Address of the former synagogue: 76, route du Vin, Itterswiller.

Westhouse

In German: Westhausen 

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

Jews started to settle in Westhouse during the 18th century. The 1784 general census of the Jewish population in Alsace recorded in Westhouse 25 Jewish families with a total of about 140 people. In 1807 there were 160 Jewish inhabitants in Westhouse. Their number reached a peak of 236 in 1846. After mid-19th century the Jewish population of Westhouse decreased continuously with 214 Jews recorded in 1861, 201 in 1870, 93 in 1900, and 80 in 1910. In 1936 there only 40 Jews in Westhouse.

The Jewish community in Westhouse belonged to the Rabbinate of Niedernai, and after 1910 to that of Obernai. A synagogue established in 1808 was replaced by a new building in 1858. The community also operated a school that was open from 1858 to 1896, and a mikveh. A teacher employed by the community served also as prayer leader and shochet.  

After the German occupation of Alsace in 1940, the remaining Jews of Westhouse were deported to southern France, of them 20 perished in the Holocaust.

In 1953 there were 5 Jewish inhabitants in Westhouse. The synagogue building was destroyed during the Second World War.

Stotzheim 

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

A certain Cossmann was the first Jew documented in Stotzheim in 1580. In 1613 two Jews, Michell and Koppell, are recorded in the village. From the end of the 17th century through the second half of the 18th century the number of Jewish residents of Stotzheim was between 20 individuals recorded in 1689 to 37 recorded in 1780. The 1784 general census of the Jewish population in Alsace recorded in Stotzheim 5 Jewish families with a total of 29 people. In 1807 the number of the Jewish inhabitants was 59 and it increased during the first half of the 19th century to 72 in 1846, 79 in 1861, and reached a peak of 86 in 1870. Towards the end of the 19th century the Jewish population of the village decreased to 67 people in 1900, and then to 46 in 1910 and 21 in 1936.

The Jews of Stotzheim belonged to the rabbinate of Niedernai until 1910, and then to the rabbinate of Fegersheim. The synagogue was opened in 1837 and it was in use until 1939. The community operated a school and a mikveh. The community employed a teacher who also served as a prayer leader and shochet. There was no Jewish cemetery in Stotzheim and the local community used the Jewish cemetery of Rosenwiller.  

After the German occupation of France during WW II, the remaining Jews of Stotzheim were deported to southern France and then to the Nazi death and concentration camps in Eastern Europe. A total of about 30 Jews from Stotzheim perished in the Holocaust.

Only a handful Jews returned to Stotzheim after WW II. The building of the synagogue survived and has been used as a storage room. Address of the former synagogue: 27, rue de Benfeld, Stotzheim.