NIEDERSTETTEN, city in Wuerttemberg, Germany. Jews were mentioned there as victims of the *Rindfleisch massacre of 1298. There is no further trace of them in the city throughout the Middle Ages until their settlement in 1675. By 1714 the community had acquired a prayer room; in 1737 a cemetery was consecrated in which Jews from Archshofen, Creglingen, Gerabronn, and Mulfingen were also buried. In that same period a ḥevra kaddisha was also founded. The Jews earned their livelihood mainly from trade in livestock, wine, and wool. By 1744 a synagogue was built, and by 1807 the community numbered 138 Jews. The number rose to 171 in 1824, and in 1832 the community was included in the rabbinate of *Mergentheim. A religious school was also founded in the 1830s. The community numbered 215 in 1854, decreased to 163 in 1900, and to 81 in 1933. In the 20th century, Jews were active as wholesale merchants in leather and wine, and as shopkeepers. They also engaged in textile manufacturing and banking. They were active in the political and cultural life of the town, and one Jew was a member of the municipal council during the Weimar Republic. In 1933 Jewish merchants were subject to the Nazi *boycott, and some leaders of the community were physically assaulted. This resulted in large-scale Jewish emigration. During the general destruction on Kristallnacht in 1938, the synagogue itself was preserved, but eight Jewish men were sent to concentration camps. Between 1941 and 1942, 42 Jews were deported to extermination camps, never to return. In early 1945 the synagogue was destroyed as a result of the war. The ritual objects of the community were saved, however, and turned over to a U.S. Army chaplain when the war ended. All that was left of a once active community in Niederstetten was the Jewish cemetery. A plaque has been mounted to commemorate the former synagogue.
P. Sauer, Die juedischen Gemeinden in Wuerttemberg und Hohenzollern (1966), 134–6, incl. bibl. ADD BIBLIOGRAPHY: H. Behr, "Gedenket unser. Zur Geschichte der juedischen Gemeinde von Niederstetten," in: W. Krueger (ed.), 650 Jahre Stadt Niederstetten (Veroeffentlichungen zur Ortsgeschichte und Heimatkunde in Wuerttembergisch Franken, vol. 4 (1991)), 317–31; E. Hahn, "Juedischer Alltag in Niederstetten," in: ibid., 332–35; E. Kraiss and M. Reuter, Bet Hachajim–Haus des Lebens. Juedische Friedhoefe in Wuerttembergisch Franken (2003). WEBSITE: www.alemanniajudaica.de.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.