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LUEMSCHWILLER: (Haut-Rhin département, Alsace région) PDF Print E-mail
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(German: Lümschweiler) Translation of that has photos and text in French: A strong Jewish community had become established in the village and even had a synagogue and a school as the children, whose relics remain, eventhough in the past the Jews did not have the right to become established. Their small numbers meant dependence on the good will of the lord of the place. The village of Luemschwiller was part of the town of the valley, that is Hundsbacher tal. In 1522, the village was given as a fief to Jacques de Reinach-Steinbrunn and to his cousin Jean Berchthold de Reinach-Heidwiller by the bishop of Basel, Christophe d' Uttenheim. The fief was left vacant by the death of Frederick zu Rhein. De Reinach constructed a manorial residence in Luemschwiller, a castle some say, the place of which there remains only "Schlossgarten" and the name of a street, la rue des Seigneurs. De Reinach accepted that people of other persuasions could become established, after payment, on his domains, lands and villages. During French Revolution 190 Jews were part of a total of 770 inhabitants. This figure changed fast due to the free movement of all Frenchmen in the national territory. In 1850 we find it no more than 70 out of 836 inhabitants and in 1865 no more than 28 of 722 inhabitants remained. The number of inhabitants in Luemschwiller did not cease dropping so that in 1910 633 remained, in 1930 more than 564, in 1936 another 549. Today, this figure went back up to about 650, thanks to the newcomers to housing estates created in Luemschwiller in "Allmendmatten". The Jewish population had a place of worship, rather rare At time time,, a school, and also a burying ground belonging to them. [January 2008]

Le cimetière israélite de Luemschwiller: Let us listen on this subject to Rabbi Charles Benner who published in the Newsletter of the Industrial Society of Mulhouse in June-August 1930 under the title: "Note on the village of Luemschwiller." One of the elders of the village was kind enough to drive us up to this Jewish burying ground located in the heart of the countryside, without a fence. They achieve the site in a poor way, meandering up through orchards planted with apple trees. This field of rest is located about two hundred meters above the last houses of the village to the southeast. Near a woods, it is established on a slope with weak angle, the right part of which is pervaded by inextricable undergrowth, while the left side is covered with herbs. On the way, the oldster who drove us taught us that this burying ground had been repaired about one and a half year ago, that the ground had then been cleared of the undergrowth and headstones straightened by the care of Jewish communities of Altkirch and Saint-Louis. We counted about seventy headstones, which are exclusively dressed in inscriptions with Hebrew characters. Nevertheless, according to what we could determine, by taking into account what covers this burying ground, the number of burials exceeds that of the headstones in the distance. It is difficult to assess the number of these tombs accurately, given the state of actual maintenance of this burying ground a part of which is once again pervaded by young locust trees, very vigorous shoots and formidable prickles, without counting brambles and other wild shrubs. However, one can estimate a number between 250 and 300 as the total of burials of this burying ground, where probably must have been buried by the Jews of the neighbors of Luemschwiller as well as those who lived in the village: The headstones that remain were grey or yellow pink sandstone because obviously calcareous stone could not resist bad weather of winters. All headstones were straightened; some of them, however, have already sunk. Their height above the soil does not exceed 1.30 m. forms of their pediments. They are varied enough; and some of them are decorated with motifs of sculpture representing foliages. Only Hebrew characters are engraved on all these headstones, but they are in general eroded by rains to which these stones have been subjected or still by the invasion of [?];lines of characters, drawn at the root of tombs have entirely disappeared, gnawed by the humidity which goes up in the soil ". The driving route to this burying ground is called "Hudelenweg" and the name of the place is "Daegelyrain". This way is always the same; herbs, shrubs and bushes always pervade the burying ground. About forty gravestone still stand, some lying down in pieces; texts engraved in stone are more and more eroded. In the course of this winter (1981-82) the place was cleaned of brambles and bushes, returning an aspect worthier and corresponding to its destination as a field of repose hidden in the forest. Rabbi Mark Meyer was kind enough to transcribe for us Hebrew texts appearing on two gravestones in the cemetery. In here is content: "Woman of value and virtuousness... Kelah wife of Horse, she returned her soul and was buried on Sunday, 10 Kislev, (5) 633 according to count, that her soul rests in peace ". "Ci-gît the woman married to Mr. Jacob, she left for this world on Wednesday, 12 Shevath the year (5) 511 according to the count, which her soul rests in peace". These texts mention "according to count" and " her soul rests in peac". is pointed out by three and five letters on gravestones, a common abbreviation. In 1982, (Hebrew year 5741) dates of 571 and 633, heard more 5000 years, correspond therefore to 1810 and 1872, years by the loss of these two women with no trace in the registers of the village of Luemschwiller. But this should not surprise us. Every village had no Jewish burying ground so it is very possible that they lived in one of the surrounding villages such as Walheim or Tagolsheim or  Obermorshwiller or Steinbrunn-le-Haut. [January 2008]

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