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LAUTERBOURG: (Alsace) Also see TRIMBACH PDF Print E-mail

(German: Lauterburg) Lauterbourg is the county seat of district of 2500 inhabitants, an industrial city with a complex chemical industry today. The location always conferred a military and economic strategic interest. Lauterbourg is located on a small promontory that dominates the valley of Rhine in boundaries of l'Outre-Forêt in the border with Germany marked by Lauter in the North and Rhine in the East. Lauterbourg was a Roman camp, established 16 BCE, conscript Tribuni, and part of 50 defenses that punctuated the line of Roman defense all along the Rhine valley from Basel to Cologne. Lauterbourg appears during the beginning of medieval cities that occurred in 12th and 13th centuries, often on the site of ancient Roman camps. A manorial city of Speyergau, it belonged to the bishopric of Turn. The city has a castle, fortifications, towers, a mythical emblem, and Mitteltor. Jews arrived probably earlier, but the earliest indications of Jewish presence is in 1270, a case of a ritual crime, and especially during the plague of 1349. Arriving from Italy two years earlier, the plague had been transmitted by navigators from China. Terrorized by the approach of illness an exculpatory victim was needed to quiet the people. The Jews were accused of poisoning wells to spread illness. In this popular hysteria, numerous Jews were thrown to fires. In Strasbourg, 2000 victims perished at the stake. Other cities in Alsace witnessed similar acts of violence, as Lauterbourg, where Jews were tortured and carried on stakes or drown in marshes. The memory of these massacres was perpetuated by tradition by names given to the sites where took place executions. In Lauterbourg, two places: Judeneissert, located in the southwest of the city, and Judenwald, in the area around the mouth of the Old - Rhine. Awaiting their suffering, the Jews of Lauterbourg were locked up in a tower, inserted into bulwarks, called Judenturm (Tower of Jewry). These fortifications were destroyed in 1706. However, by this curious start of collective consciousness, its name survived in the last still existent tower: The Tower of the Butchers. The massacre of the Jews did not prevent plague from devastating Alsace which lost about a third of its population. The Jews able to escape remained barred from big cities, so they settled in the countryside, a characteristic of Alsatian Judaism. In Lauterbourg, Jews and Christians fought for a long time. Lauterbourg was successively invaded and devastated by numerous armies. To massacres of war add famine and epidemics, until of 1500 inhabitants only 70 remained in Lauterbourg. On January 9th, 1679, an employee of the bishop of Turn wrote: "Lauterbourg and the villages of the bailliage are in such state of destitution as the inhabitants cannot dress themselves any more, but of misery run away for the most part, while those who stay even do not have dry bread... " In spite of the annexation of Alsace by France after the wars of Louis XIV, the bishop of Turn still had not submitted entirely to the King of France. Hundreds of Jewish families immigrated from the east towards the small cities and Alsatian villages. Strasbourg and the ancient imperial cities of Décapole (except Haguenau) still did not accept the Jews in their walls. In Lauterbourg, the Jewish population quadrupled during the century. From four families in 1689, the number increased to pass to 16 in 1784, thanks to the road Landau-Wissembourg-Haguenau, seat of numerous markets. The Lords accepted new Jewish families for financial reasons. So the payment of the right of reception by Jews was 20 - 50 times that of new middle-class persons. In 1717, the leaders of Jewish families of Lauterbourg, Hertzel Halff, Isaac Salomon, Hertzel Coblentzer and Lövel Abraham were buying horses and livestock. In 1739, 4 of 11 Jewish heads of the family were sellers of wines and grains, even though in the whole from the province, the trade of foodstuffs is in practice forbidden the Jews. As a garrison city, in Lauterbourg in grains and in wines were needed and they really were forbidden from openly selling, on pain of penalties. The Jews thrived. However, a study on some cities of Lower Alsace points out that the medium number of children by family was about 2.6 for Christian family and of barely more (2.96 children) for a Jewish family. Men of the community sometimes got married young (a sixth less than 16 years old), but the medium age rose to more than 26 years. That of the women was 20 years. The birth rate of the Jews of l'Outre-Forêt was 36/1000, rather less than the rate of Christians (40-45/1000). Mortality was high (40/1000), especially due to particularly strong infant mortality. [January 2008]


Located etween Rue de la Chapelle and impasse des Quatre Vents. The Jewish dead since the beginning of the 18th century were buried in the Jewish cemetery in Weißenburg .Around 1875 a separate Jewish cemetery was created in Lauterbourg near the Christian Cemetery. The oldest grave dates from 1877. This cemetery active only for a few Jewish inhabitants of the city. Today, the cemetery is the only important reminder of the centuries-long history of the Jews in the town. photos. [October 2013]

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 18:34
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