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HARDHEIM Odenwald\: Ruedental, Schweinberg, Gerichtstetten, Erfeld, Bretzingen, Dornberg, Ruetschdorf,,Vollmersdorf. PDF Print E-mail

Coat of arms of HardheimHardheim is a town first documented in 1050 in the district of Neckar-Odenwald-Kreis in Baden-Württemberg. The township consists of Hardheim, Ruedental, Schweinberg, Gerichtstetten, Erfeld, Bretzingen, Dornberg, Ruetschdorf, and Vollmersdorf. 49°36′38″N 9°28′26″E.

Hardheim, a town of 7,000, equidistant from Frankfurt, Wurtzburg and Stuttgart." My great grandfather, Aaron Sinsheimer, after whom I was named, was born there in 1846. In advance of our trip, I sent a letter to the archive director of Hardheim (recognizing that the town was too small to have an archive director, but the post office would direct the letter to the appropriate person), and ten days later, I received a telephone call from Gerhard Wanitschek, a 60 year old former salesman in Hardheim who was spending his retirement doing Jewish genealogical research. He told me that he had information about my ancestors and would give it to me when I visited. When I asked him to mail it to me, he responded, "But it is too much!" Finally, he agreed to send me a diskette containing a tremendous amount of information about 90 of my Sinsheimer ancestors going back before 1800. He also informed us that we were coming at a propitious time because they were having a special exhibit in the town museum on Jewish life in Hardheim. When we actually attended the exhibit, we happened to encounter a high school class that was one of many that were being brought there to see this exhibit. I was asked to say a few words about my Hardheim ancestors, which were received with great enthusiasm by the students. Wanitcshek had done a lot of work preparing for our visit. He set up a meeting with the mayor of Hardheim, who, like a true politician, presented us with a tie and scarf containing the Hardheim insignia, and then brought in a photographer and reporter to prepare a story for their local news program. Wanitcshek had located the houses in which my ancestors had lived, and also took us to the synagogue building and the old and new cemeteries. The cemeteries were well maintained and protected. The principal destructive element was the effect of acid rain on the fragile sandstone. A complete list of those buried in the newer cemetery was posted at the Jewish exhibit at the museum. An additional source of information on my Hardheim ancestors came through an Internet web site in Stuttgart, whose database currently contains the names of 55,000 Jews buried in 145 cemeteries in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.." Source. town photos. [February 2013]

Cemetery history. [Feb 2013]

HARDHEIM Odenwald: 74736 Baden-Wuerttemberg (Gerz and Peters)

DISTRICT: Neckar-Odenwald-Kreis.

LOCATION OF CEMETERY: Gewann Hoher Schmalberg, on the Alte Würzburger Strasse)  (Detail).

IN USE: From 1876 until 1939.

NUMBER OF GRAVESTONES: 93 - oldest gravestone dated 1876.


  • 1987 photographs of all gravetones and cemetery layout by Zentralarchiv.
  • 1993 full cemetery documentation including the photographs by the Office for Historic Monuments, (Landesdenkmalamt ed: Barbara Döpp).
  • photograph. picture. [Feb 2013]



  • Prior to 1875 the cemetery in Külsheim was used for funerals by the Hardheim Jewish community (Hundsnurscher/Taddey1968, page120).
  • The Jewish communities of Wachbach, Gissigheim, Zeckendorf /Bayern, Hainstadt and Sulzburg also used the Hardheim cemetery for burials.
  • The first funeral, that of Schemaia Billigheimer, grave Nr.7, coincided with the consecration of the cemetery by district Rabbi Esslinger from Merchingen, on 27 June 1876. At this time the Hardheim congregation numbered 158 members, the highest ever.
  • The majority of gravestones are made of sandstone, which have weathered considerably. Those made of granite are in very good condition.
  • The last funeral, prior to the deportation and murder of Jews, took place on 29 January 1939. This was for David Berwanger, grave No.16.
  • The cemetery itself has a gate (key can be obtained at the Hardheim Rathaus), and a surrounding hedge. However, there are many breaks in the hedge, and it is easy to walk into the cemetery without opening the gate. The cemetery has six rows of tombstones carefully lined up on the side of a hill, with 14 tombstones per row, plus a few additional tombstones on the side. The inscriptions are in German on one side and in Hebrew on the other. Almost all are legible. The cemetery grounds seem to be reasonably well tended. A listing of each person buried in the cemetery is provided here - scroll to end. Source: Arthur Obermayer; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Photographs of gravestones and cemetery; Brief history of the Jewish community of Hardheim, focusing on cemetery, etc. in the 1930s or 1940s. Manuscripts by Willy Wertheimer; in German; Donors: William Wertheimer,1965. Location at LBI : Hardheim; Jewish community collection; Storage-Location: A 21/7; Accession Number(s): AR 2551.
  • For more information read ‘Der jüdische Friedhof in Hardheim' and Auf dem jüdischen Friedhof.

SOURCES: University of Heidelberg , Alemannia Judaica and Erfatal Museum Hardheim,

(Translated from German March 2008)

To see information and photographs of individual gravestones in cemeteries in Baden-Wuerttemberg, click on this link and follow the directions on that page.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 15:06
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