Jewish Heritage Report
Vol. II, Nos. 1-2 / Spring-Summer 1998
Emmendingen Synagogue

Emmendingen Synagogue May Be Returned, Restored for Jewish Use

The city government of Emmendingen, Germany is prepared to return the original Emmendingen Synagogue (1763) to the Jewish community, providing that the community can fund its restoration.  The synagogue is under monumental protection by the government and, as a result, the Office of Monument Protection and the Baden-Württemberg Monument Foundation are providing about $60,000 of the necessary $500,000 for restoration.

The synagogue building dates from 1680.  In 1723 it was bought by Jewish merchant Moses Godoy who established a prayer-room for the Jewish Community.  In 1763, the building was renovated but in 1823, it was replaced when a larger synagogue was needed.  This new synagogue was, in turn, renovated and enlarged in 1923, but it was destroyed in 1938 -- blasted with dynamite, for which the Jewish Community was subsequently billed.  The 1763 synagogue building, however, remained and as the community could not afford to pay the demolition bill forced upon them, the Synagogue Council offered the synagogue building and lot as payment.  After the war, this earlier synagogue was returned to the Jewish Community.  The Supreme Council of Jews in South Baden then sold the old synagogue to the City of Emmendingen in 1954.  In 1997, negotiations with the city allowed for the building’s return to the Jewish Community, provided that the community raise the necessary costs of renovation.  At present, the community is still several hundred thousand dollars shy of the required funding.

The surviving structure is built in a local vernacular style, with high pitched roof and exposed half-timbering on the gable facades.  The main street facade consists of two equal rows of four rectangular windows.  These will be kept in the planned renovation, but dormers will be added to the roof to allow utilization of the high attic story.  Designs call for a full floor sanctuary on the building’s ground floor with a community hall, offices and on the upper two stories. -- SG

For more information or to contribute to the renovation of the Emmindingen Synagogue, please contact: ISJM or Mrs. U. Teschemacher, Kirchstr. 15 (Jud. Museum), 79312 Emmendingen/Baden, Germany.  Tel:  07641-571989

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Updated: 1-7-99