The Jewish community in Mühringen

The synagogue and the Catholic church were in the village centre.
The synagogue and the Catholic church were in the village centre.

The first mention of “Baruch, a Jew in Mühringen” is found in the year 1570. In 1722, there were 19 families with a total of 47 members in the community which increased greatly up to the 19th century. Mühringen was very significant as a religious centre. It was the seat of the rabbinate which was the largest in South West Germany both in expanse and membership. It produced many well-known rabbis.

The first synagogue was built in 1728. In 1810, a large new synagogue equipped for 500 people was officially opened on the same site. 75 years later it was renovated and modernized. In 1846 the Jewish population of over a hundred families with a total of 512 members reached its highest level.

In the year 1900, there were only 130 Jewish inhabitants left. Since the migration of families to the cities continued, the seat of the rabbinate was transferred to Horb in 1913. In 1933, 45 Jews were still living in Mühringen. 12 men and women were deported and murdered in 1941 and 1942.

On the night between November 8th and 9th, 1938, the interior of the synagogue was demolished and set on fire. The building remained standing and was used by the Mauser Weapons Firm from Oberndorf during the war for the storage of rifle butts. Finally the building was pulled down in1960. Today there is a parking lot on the site with an inconspicuous memorial stone.

The Jewish cemetery in Mühringen

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It is the oldest cemetery in Württemberg-Hohenzollern and contains more than 1000 grave plots. It is situated far outside the town on a forested slope above the Eyach valley. The oldest intact tombstone is dated 1697. Up to the 18th century, the cemetery in Mühringen served a whole area. The dead of Nordstetten, Dettensee, Rexingen and Baisingen were buried there until these communities had cemeteries of their own.

The last grave is that of Julius Feigenheimer who died in October, 1940. One month after his death, his only son Heinz was murdered in Grafeneck. Heinz’ ashes were buried in his father’s grave. His mother, Emma Feigenheimer, was deported to Riga in 1941 and murdered.