Jewish community of Richen

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The formation of the Jewish community in Richen , today part of Eppingen in the Heilbronn district , dates back to around 1700.


While six Jewish families with 30 people are mentioned in the sources around 1722, 60 years later there are eleven families with over 50 people. Already in the 18th century the Jews of Richen had a certain prosperity. In 1743, no family was classified as poor, and five out of nine families were classified as wealthy. In addition, Jewish families had servants and maidservants.

As was customary at the time, most of the Jewish Richener had to pay protection money that enabled them to live in Richen. It had to be paid quarterly to the official cellar in Hilsbach.

After the electoral Palatinate was dissolved in 1803, Richen came first to the Principality of Leiningen and finally in 1806 to Baden , which was one of the most liberal German states, also when it came to the emancipation of Jews . After the formation of the district rabbinate in Baden, Richen was assigned to the district rabbinate Sinsheim in 1827 . According to the 1825 census, a total of 124 Jews lived in Richen, which corresponds to 17.5% of the total population. After a rabbi was named in 1746 and a schoolmaster in 1749, a synagogue was inaugurated in Richen in 1790 . Behind the house at 15 Hintergasse was a ritual bath . The Richen Jews Gerson and Samuel had also donated a synagogue in a house in neighboring Ittlingen in the 18th century for the Jews there, to whom there were family ties.

The Jewish school was located in the synagogue, as was the actual synagogue room, on the upper floor of the nearly square two-story building on a floor plan of 11.40 × 11 meters. The Jewish children originally received all of their lessons there, but from 1831 they attended the local school and only received Israelite religious instruction in the Jewish school. Short-term efforts by the Eppingen District Office in 1833 to establish a Jewish elementary school failed due to the disinterest of the majority of Richen Jews.

As in most places, the number of Jewish residents increased considerably by the middle of the 19th century and reached its peak around 1841 with 169 people, around 20% of the local population. Likewise, in the second half of the 19th century, the number fell rapidly due to rural exodus and emigration, so that by 1900 only 34 Jewish families were counted.

The Jewish community of Eppingen and even more the cities of Mannheim , Karlsruhe and Heidelberg profited from this rural exodus, because they received new citizens who, endowed with capital, promoted economic development as entrepreneurs. The poorer Jewish citizens, like their Christian compatriots, tended to emigrate to distant continents. This development can also be seen in the branches of business of the Jewish families in Richen. Before the final legal emancipation of the Jews in Baden in 1864, they lived mainly from trading in cattle, wool, hides and rags.

National Socialist Persecution

In 1933, however, they owned a butcher's shop, a grain and animal feed store and two grocery stores. Due to the persecution during the Nazi era , most of the Jewish citizens emigrated, and in 1936 the synagogue was finally sold.

The memorial book of the Federal Archives lists 7 Jewish citizens born in Richen who fell victim to the genocide of the National Socialist regime .

Community development

year Parishioners
1730 30 people
1775 52 people
1801 69 people
1814 95 people 14.7% of the population
1825 124 people
1845 182 people 19.8% of the population
1849 175 people 18.8% of the population
1852 180 people 19.1% of the population
1855 164 people 18.1% of the population
1864 147 people 15.6% of the population
1875 103 people
1900 34 people
1925 22 people 2.5% of the population
1933 15 people

Common names

When all Jews in the Grand Duchy of Baden had to adopt hereditary family names in 1809, the 17 heads of the Richen Jews took on the following names: Dreifuß (5), Freudenthaler (2), Haber (1), Hanauer (4), Reiss (1), Reisser ( 1), Rothschild (1), Schwarzschild (1) and Stiefel (1).


The dead of the Jewish community of Richen were initially buried in the Jewish cemetery in Heinsheim (am Neckar), which was far away for the time, and in the Jewish cemetery in Waibstadt , which was also far away , but since 1822 they were buried in the new Jewish district cemetery in Eppingen, which was established in 1818/19 . A total of 120 graves of Jewish citizens from Richen can be found there. Occasionally they were also buried in the Jewish cemetery in Ittlingen created in 1889 .



  • Wolfram Angerbauer , Hans Georg Frank: Jewish communities in the district and city of Heilbronn. History, fates, documents . District of Heilbronn, Heilbronn 1986 ( series of publications of the district of Heilbronn . Volume 1)
  • Joachim Hahn and Jürgen Krüger: Synagogues in Baden-Württemberg . Volume 2: Joachim Hahn: Places and Facilities . Theiss, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-1843-5 ( Memorial Book of the Synagogues in Germany . Volume 4), pp. 111–112.
  • Ralf Bischoff and Reinhard Hauke ​​(eds.): The Jewish cemetery in Eppingen. A documentation . 2nd Edition. Heimatfreunde Eppingen, Eppingen 1996 ( Around the Ottilienberg. Contributions to the history of the city of Eppingen and its surroundings . Volume 5).
  • Heinrich Meny: From my home. The history of the village of Richen. A local directory for home and school . (Robert Höger printing works, Eppingen), Eppingen 1928.

Individual evidence

  1. Individual Jewish residents were exempt from protection money; Meny (see literature) p. 87
  2. ^ Commemorative Book - Victims of the Persecution of Jews under the National Socialist Tyranny in Germany 1933 - 1945 . Retrieved October 29, 2009.