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BENFELD: 67230. (Bas-Rhin département, Alsace région) PDF Print E-mail

Also see Strasbourg and Rosenwiller and Erstein

Romans established a military camp in Ehl (Hellenum) in Benfeld. Roman armies accompanied by numerous civilians and dealers including Roman Jews, dealers settling in the lowland of Rhine from Basel to Mainz. In the late Middle Ages, the city had a flourishing Jewish community. Anti-Semitism, unknown in the first millennium, developed gradually. In the first half of the 14th century, long before Inquisition in Spain, a very serious plague epidemic, unknown here at the time, spread from Switzerland. Jews were accused of having spread this illness. A congress uniting all Swiss and Alsatians met in Benfeld in January 1349. They voted to annihilate Jewry in Alsace (except for those converting). Many stood up for Jewry among them the Mayor of Strasbourg Peter Schwarber and his assistants Goss and Guntz von Winterthur as well as Evêque from Strasbourg. On February 14, 1349 (during " Massacre of Saint Valentin) the Jews of Strasbourg and Benfeld were burned or drowned. Ironically, the city of Benfeld did not endure plague since the local authorities forbade every foreigner until the end of the epidemic from entering the town. From this date, Benfeld banned Jews until the 18th century, but they settled in neighboring villages. The French Revolution and Abbot Gregory changed the situation for the Jews by granting them the same rights and duties as every citizen. The Jewish community of Benfeld gathered again from surrounding villages in the first half of the 19th century. The 1910 Jewish population was 200 and 98 in 1953. Today, about twenty Jewry still live in Benfeld or nearby. The very nice 1846 synagogue (90 year old organ) was not damaged during WWII. photos. [January 2008]


The cemetery was dedicated in 1880. Has at least 350 graves. [January 2008]

The 19th century cemetery is still active at Place Skirt N 83 expressway exit. A Holocaust memorial exists. Photos. [October 2013]


Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 15:52
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