History of the Synagogue of Leutershausen

Postcard from 1901 with a picture of the synagogue

Read here the speech of Professor Erhard Schnurr on 16th September 2018 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the inauguration of the Synagogue in Leutershausen.

1553Since this year there has been written evidence of Jewish life in Leutershausen and Grosssachsen.
1781The Jews of Leutershausen bought the room under the roof of the house at no. 1 Hauptstrasse for 130 guilders and used it as a prayer hall.
1862The Jewish community acquires two pieces of land at the “Schriesheimer Tor” (Schriesheimer gate)  for 816 and 411 guilders to build their own synagogue.
1868After setting the cornerstone on May 22th in 1867, the inauguration of the synagogue took place on September 4th, 1868.
1938After most of the Jewish families had left Leutershausen as a result of the Nazi reprisals, the synagogue was sold to the municipality on April 4th. For this reason the synagogue was safed from the Kristallnacht destruction on November 9th.
1950The synagogue, which was used as a hospital and prison camp during the Second World War, is owned by the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization.
1952From 1952 to 1955 the building was owned by the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg. In 1955 it became private property and was subject to different kinds of commercial usage and multiple remodeling of the building.
1985The municipality Hirschberg purchases the building and attaches a memorial stone at its west side on November 9th, 1988.
1996The council commissioned the architectural firm Diesbach & Kopp in Weinheim to dismantle and reconstruct the former synagogue in its original shape as far as possible and to restore it for the purpose of cultural use.
2001The synagogue building is opened to the public as a center for culture and as a meeting place. The ceremony takes place on November 11th in the  presence of descendants of former Jewish citizens of Leutershausen. 
2006The glass painter John K. Clark from Scotland creates two rose windows for the west and east facade which are set up in April.
2010The house standing next to the synagogue, formerly inhabited by a family named Bickel, is demolished. The resulting square is redesigned.
2014The square is named “Meier-Heller-Platz”.
2014Dedication of the Memorial to the Jewish Holocaust victims from Hirschberg

History of the Jewish community in Leutershausen

Jewish community at the farewell of teacher Meier Heller, 1936
1553 In a Palatine register “Jakob Jud zu Luttershausen” (Jacob Jew of Leutershausen) and “Abraham und Jakob Jud zu Großsachsenheim” (Abraham and Jacob Jews of Grosssachsen) are mentioned. This is the first written evidence of Jewish life in our community.
1582 Count palatine Friedrich III expels all Jews from his territory.
1694 Only under the local rule of Count Hamilton were Jews allowed to settle again in Leutershausen.
1700 At the beginning of the reign of the Earl of Wiser there are three Jewish households in Leutershausen, named Aron, Mortge and Joseph.
1722 The Jew Levi Mayer owns the property in today’s no. 1 Hauptstrasse. Until 1937 ths house remains exclusively owned by Jews. It hosted the first prayer hall, the “Jewish school”.
1819 From this time until the introduction of an interconfessional “simultaneous” school in 1876, a dedicated Israelite elementary school existed. It was located in the street “Mittelgasse” from 1858.
1864 A total of 165 Jewish men, women and children are living in Leutershausen. Their houses are all located in the center. They earn their living primarily as traders, and after the emancipation of the Jews in 1809 also as craftsmen.
1900 The emerging industry in the region leads to emigration, so that the number of Jewish inhabitants in Leutershausens decreases to 68.
1933 At the beginning of the Nazi rule in 1933 there are only 43 Jewish people.
1940 In the year of the deportation of Jews from Baden and the Palatinate to Gurs in southern France, no more Jews are living in Leutershausen. 21 Jews from Leutershausen and six from Grosssachsen were murdered by the Nazi regime in the extermination camps.
  This terminated nearly 400 years of common history of the Christians and Jews in Leutershausen. The fate of the Jews murdered in the Holocaust are described in a book (in German).