View of Hohenzollern / Hechingen
Photo: Hentsch, 2003


Hechingen: Where Dreams Come True

By Uta Hentsch

Bisingen / Hechingen, Germany

Translation: Yohanan Grossmann,
Dipl. Dolmetscher (accredited interpreter), Berlin, Germany


The "Old Synagogue" Of Hechingen
Is Once More A Place Of Worship - After 65 Years.


Part 2: About the Old Synagogue of Hechingen

Photo: after 1881

As mentioned in Part 1, the Old Synagogue of Hechingen was built in 1767. During 1850-52, a choir and some minor alterations were completed.

In 1881, a new facade and some beautiful facetted paintings were added to the interior. After 1881, the Synagogue in the Goldschmiedstreet, was flanked on the right by the Jewish School and Congregation House, and on the left by the house of Elias Moos, a wholesale dealer in coats and skins.

A Jewish eyewitness, the cultural clerk Karl Hamburger, who emigrated to Newark, New York, saw the SA raid during the night of 9th-10th November, 1938, from the Israelite school and community building next to the Synagogue. He reported the event in a letter, dated 5th April, 1943:

During the Reichskristallnacht (Crystal Night pogrom), the interior of the beautiful Synagogue of Hechingen was "totally destroyed. That is how Vandals were allowed to play havoc... surely, the Synagogue would have been burned to the ground, had it not been for danger to the adjacent residential houses."

The debris of the vandalised benches of the interior lay among prayer books, prayer shawls and top hats, thrown to the street. As the disgraceful raid ended at 6 a.m., workers of the city cleaning department shovelled the debris back into the Synagogue. The entrance door was boarded up and the vandalised building was left to itself.

Photo: Keidel, Hechingen

Hamburger: "Thus the Synagogue ceased to be a House of G'D; it was in ruins, and one could say that the honourable Jewish community of Hechingen, ceased to exist. The Synagogues of Haigerloch and Rexingen suffered the same fate; they too had their interior demolished."

It was fortunate that in 1979 the county office of memorial preservation declared the decaying Synagogue a cultural monument of special value. The association "Initiative Synagogue of Hechingen", which was founded in 1982, set itself an ambitious goal the Synagogue was to be conserved and renovated. The restoration work began in 1983.

The association raised 1.6 million Deutschmarks to restore the building, which today very closely resembles the venerable and beautiful original. On 19th November, 1986, the Synagogue was presented to the public in a festive ceremony, followed by a series of magnificent events, organised by the association "Old Synagogue of Hechingen", which restored the Synagogue to its dignified role.

Compiled from different publications by U. Hentsch

Part 3: The 2003 Holidays

Part 1: The History of Jewish Life In Hechingen

Read about Jewish Life at Haigerloch:

Jewish Life at Haigerloch - Part 1

Jewish Life at Haigerloch - Part 2

Jewish Life at Haigerloch - Part 3

Read about the Christian Declaration of Berlin, 11/September/2004.

About Uta Hentsch

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