Honoring the dead is an important duty in Judaism. That’s because here, in their graves, the deceased await the resurrection of the dead at the end of days. In Creglingen, the cemetery was in use for more than three centuries and served as a final resting place for the originally separate communities of Creglingen, Craintal and Archshofen.
On the left is the oldest part of the cemetery on undulating ground. On the right is the extension, with graves from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Many of the figures you may have encountered during your visit to Creglingen’s Jewish Museum were laid to rest here: for example, school principal Josef Pressburger, and the victims of the pogrom of March 25, 1933: Hermann Stern, Arnold Rosenfeld and Peppi Sinsheimer.
For centuries, the gravestones were only inscribed in Hebrew letters. The first gravestone to combine German and Hebrew script is from 1854. Just under 40 years later, the Jewish community decided to replace the picket fence surrounding their cemetery with a solid barrier.
The initial proposal for an iron fence was rejected because it was thought to allow the “noise and bustle of the living” to encroach on the dead, and would fail to ensure they rested in peace. The wall was finally built in 1892. It’s 961 feet long and surrounds both the old and new parts of the cemetery.
In the Third Reich, many of the cast iron decorations and grates were ripped off, because metal was required for war production. In 1943, when there were no longer any Jews living in Creglingen, the town of Creglingen took possession of the cemetery following a compulsory sale. Today, the site’s owner is the Jewish Religious Community of Württemberg, while the town of Creglingen is responsible for conservation and maintenance.
The cemetery not only bears witness to the history of Jewish life in Creglingen. It’s still visited by the descendants of the town’s Jewish families.
The key is available at Creglingen’s municipal offices or, if it’s a Sunday, from the Jewish Museum Creglingen between 2 and 5 p.m.
Foto: © Martin Heuwinkel