Alamanicus

Synagogue Memorial

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Having served its time, the old synagogue here was replaced in 1852 with an imposing new building. The new synagogue, however, fell victim to the Nazi pogrom of 9th-10th November 1938 ("Kristallnacht", also referred to as the "Night of Broken Glass") and for 30 years was left to ruin. It was eventually demolished in 1968 and a car park was installed in its place. A "Shalom" carved in stone stands in the corner of the car park as a memorial.

At its peak in the second half of the 19th century the Jewish community served by the synagogue reached 400 people, though anti-Semitism in that time was common and they tended to keep a low profile. A few were wealthy livestock dealers, but most were poor families leading precarious existences in homes located near the synagogue.

Towards the end of the 19th Century the Jewish population in Müllheim started to decline, a result of anti-Semitism and increasingly limited career options. Most left hoping to find their fortune elsewhere, in Freiburg or Switzerland, or as emigrants to America. By the early 20th century the Jewish community had declined to around 130 people, and the synagogue was half empty. By 1933 there were only about 80 Jews left, and these became increasingly persecuted by the newly installed Nazi regime.

On 1st November 1938 just 37 Jews remained in Müllheim, and following Kristallnacht these were relocated to the now devastated Jewish community center that existed across the road from the synagogue.  In October 1940 the Nazi governor of Baden began the deportation of all Jews in his area to Gurs internment camp in south west France. A single Jewish woman remained in Müllheim, protected by a privileged mixed marriage, though she subsequently moved to Freiburg.

In 2006 Müllheim joined the growing list of towns and cities that commemorate the Nazi persecution of Jews by laying in the street outside their former homes "Stolpersteine" (stumbling stones), small cobble-sized brass plaques, one for each victim detailing their name, year of birth, and their fate (most commonly death in a concentration camp in 1942). As well as stones for the synagogue and community centre, there are 12 other locations, mostly along Hauptstraße, that commemorate 22 victims.

More information about the Stolpersteine, including a map of where in Müllheim they can be found, is available on the Stolpersteine Müllheim web pages (German only). General information about the Stolpersteine initiative can be found at http://www.stolpersteine.com/.

Next stop: continue along Hauptstraße until you meet the river, then turn left and take the tranquil 300m riverside walk along Krafftgasse back to the pedestrianised Wilhelmstraße, close to the Blankenhornpalais where the tour started.

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Alamanicus is wandering his old Alemanni haunts, revisiting the places where once he used to drink, carouse, and beat up the odd Roman legionnaire or two. Things have moved on since his day, and the old Alemanni country now lies across south west Germany, French Alsace, and northern Switzerland. Cut through by the mighty Rhine, it is an area of great beauty, and a lot has happened there since Alamanicus last walked this land.

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Guest Sunday, 28 May 2017

Müllheim Town Tour

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