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Haguenau, France

HAGUENAU, Alsatian town in the Bas-Rhin department, E. France. The earliest information on the presence of Jews in Haguenau dates from 1235; in that year a blood libel was perpetrated against the Jews of the town, but thanks to the protection of the emperor, whose *servi camerae they were, they escaped harm. The Jews had to pay taxes to both the emperor and the municipality. The latter also protected them effectively, especially in 1338 against the *Armleder bands, but unsuccessfully at the time of the *Black Death : by February 16, 1349, the Jewish community had been destroyed. The first synagogue (the courtyard of which was used in 1352 for the wheat market) stood on the former Rathausplaetzel, later the Place de la Republique; the mikveh was situated on the bank of the Moder, on the site of the present municipal hospital. In 1354, the Jews returned to Haguenau and formed a new community. A house (number 8 of the present Rue du Sel) was then used as a synagogue. A good deal of Hebrew type was used in books printed in Haguenau between 1517 and 1520, among them works by *Reuchlin and *Melanchthon . In 1528, *Joseph (Josel) b. Gershom of Rosheim obtained from the emperor the abrogation of an expulsion order issued by the town. Haguenau subsequently became a refuge for the Jews of the surrounding district on various occasions. During the second half of the 17th century, several Jews who had fled from Poland settled there. From 1660, there has been a rabbi in Haguenau. Notable rabbis included Meyer Jaïs, later chief rabbi of Paris, who held office in Haguenau between 1933 and 1938.

The community of Haguenau consisted of 34 families in 1735, 64 in 1784, and 600 souls on the eve of World War II. Of these, 148 persons died in deportation or on the battlefield. In 1968, the community numbered about 300 and at the outset of the 21st century around 700. The present synagogue on the Rue des Juifs (plundered by the Nazis and later renovated) was erected in 1821. The cemetery is known to have existed from the 16th century, but it was probably established during the Middle Ages. For a long time, it also served all the Jews of the region. The oldest epitaph preserved there dates from 1654.


M. Ginsburger, in: Germ Jud, 1 pt. 2 (1963), 121ff., 2 pt. 1 (1968), 318ff.; E. Scheid, in: REJ, 2 (1881), 73–92, 3 (1881), 58–74, 4 (1882), 98–112, 5 (1882), 230–9, 8 (1884), 243–54, 10 (1885), 204–31; A. Marx, Studies in Jewish History and Booklore (1944), 326f.; J. Bloch, Historique de la Communauté Juive de Haguenau… (1968); Z. Szajkowski, Analytical Franco-Jewish Gazetteer 19391945 (1966), index.

[Bernhard Blumenkranz]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.