Station: [11] Synagogue, Mittelgasse 4

M: A small memorial plaque on the building serves as a reminder that from 1824, this was the site of the synagogue used by Niederstetten's former Jewish community. The small model of "The Jewish House of Worship" is part of the Tacheles Trail. It brings a hint of life back to the place where Jews once came together to pray, to learn and to celebrate. The model is interactive, so it allows you to see the interior layout of the synagogue. Try pressing the buttons.

F: The presence of Jews in Niederstetten was first recorded in 1298 – though the occasion was rather horrific. They fell victim to one of the pogroms that were taking place in many towns and villages in Southern Germany at the time. The leader of the marauding gangs of killers was an executioner called "Rintfleisch". The Rintfleisch Pogrom, which resulted in thousands of deaths, was one of the first widespread massacres of Jews after the First Crusade at the end of the 11th century.

M: The next time a Jewish community in Niederstetten was mentioned was in 1647, as the Thirty Years War was nearing its end. In that year, the local lord presented the Jewish community with a writ of protection.

F: A century after that, in 1737, local Jewish residents were given permission to have their own Jewish cemetery. It still exists and lies just beyond the edge of town. Today, it’s part of our cultural heritage.

M: Shortly afterwards, in 1744, the first synagogue was built here, on this site. In the 19th century, thanks to the Jewish business community, Niederstetten became an important centre for the trade in furs, wine, textiles and livestock.

F: This was reflected in the building of a new, larger synagogue in 1824. That structure was destroyed about 120 years later, when Niederstetten was bombed on the 9th of April, 1945.

M: In 1925, the Jewish community had 112 members. Eight years later, in 1933, there were still 96 Jews living in Niederstetten. By 1940, forty of those had emigrated to the United States. The deportations began in November 1941, and the last Jews were deported in August 1942. Almost from one day to the next, the centuries-old Jewish community in Niederstetten had been obliterated...

F: ... but not wiped from our memories.

M: Next, we’re heading back in time to the 16th century. Our journey begins at Erbsengasse number 1.

Fotos: © Trüpschuch