• Former Synagogue of Wenkheim
Members of the SA in Wenkheim destroyed and looted the interior of the town's synagogue during the »Kristallnacht« in November 1938. About two years later, the SS deported the Jews from Wenkheim to the Gurs internment camp. Today, the synagogue houses a cultural venue and a documentation centre, which presents an exhibition on the fate of the Jews of Wenkheim.
Image: Wenkheim, undated, Former Synagogue, exterior view, Klaus Reinhart
Wenkheim, undated, Former Synagogue, exterior view, Klaus Reinhart
In 1875, about 160 Jews lived in Wenkheim, a village which is today a district of Werbach in Northern Baden. The synagogue was built in 1841 and was the focal point of the Jewish community. In 1933, the year in which the National Socialists came to power, the community had 46 members. They were owners of a textile store, a grocery store, a hardware store, two cattle trade businesses and a matzo bakery, in which unleavened bread for Passover was produced. 1933 marked the beginning of increasing exclusion of the Jewish residents from the village community. Many eventually left their home town due to frequent and brutal anti-Semitic attacks. During the »Kristallnacht« in November 1938, members of the SA destroyed the interior of the Werkheim synagogue, they also looted all ritual objects. Plans to demolish the building failed, which is why the building remained intact and could later be used by the local Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth). During the Second World War, the building was used to accommodate Belgian prisoners of war. On October 22 and 23, 1940, the Gestapo ordered all of the Jewish residents of the Baden and the Saarland-Palatinate regions to gather at public squares within one hour and bring a small amount of luggage with them - this was the so-called »Wagner-Bürckel-Aktion«. From these collection points, the Jewish men, women and children were deported to the French internment camp Gurs, close to the Spanish border. About 13 Jews in Werkheim were affected by this campaign. They were the last Jews remaining in Werkheim after the majority of the Jewish community had fled abroad.
Image: Wenkheim, undated, Former Synagogue, exterior view, Klaus Reinhart
Wenkheim, undated, Former Synagogue, exterior view, Klaus Reinhart
From August 1942 to the autumn of 1943, a total of 3,000 Jewish men, women and children were deported from Gurs via Drancy to the Auschwitz-Birkenau and Sobibor extermination camps. There is evidence for the murder of 7 Jews from Wenkheim at Auschwitz-Birkenau; 4 already perished at Gurs due to the terrible conditions.
Image: No place given, undated, Wolf and Käthe Bravmann, murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942, Verein zur Erforschung jüdischer Geschichte und Pflege jüdischer Denkmäler
No place given, undated, Wolf and Käthe Bravmann, murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942, Verein zur Erforschung jüdischer Geschichte und Pflege jüdischer Denkmäler

Image: Wenkheim, undated, Interior view of the former synagogue, Klaus Reinhart
Wenkheim, undated, Interior view of the former synagogue, Klaus Reinhart
In 1984, the »Association for Research on Jewish history and Care of Jewish Memorials in the region of the Tauber River/Franconia« was founded. In the following years, the association worked towards preserving the Wenkheim synagogue as a historic and cultural landmark and setting up a documentation centre in it. Following extensive renovation, the prayer room could be restored to its original form in 1992. It has since then been used as a venue for various cultural events by associations, schools and other initiatives. The town's catholic community uses the former synagogue as a parish house. In 2004, the mikvah (the ritual bath) was restored. Displayed on what used to be the women's gallery in the synagogue is a permanent exhibition on the history of Jews in the region of the Main and Tauber rivers. Apart from the synagogue, a well-maintained Jewish cemetery serves as a reminder of the former Jewish community of Wenkheim.
Image: Wenkheim, undated, Former Synagogue, Klaus Reinhart
Wenkheim, undated, Former Synagogue, Klaus Reinhart

Image: Wenkheim, undated, Entrance to the former synagogue, Klaus Reinhart
Wenkheim, undated, Entrance to the former synagogue, Klaus Reinhart
Name
Ehemalige Synagoge Wenkheim
Address
Breite Straße
97956 Werbach
Phone
+49 (0)9341 121 90
Fax
+49 (0)9341 898 818
E-Mail
ghiraldin@t-online.de
Open
Open by appointment
Possibilities
The prayer hall is used for exhibitions, lectures, discussions and school courses, reference library