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WESTHOFFEN: (Bas-Rhin département, Alsace région) PDF Print E-mail
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(German: Westhausen) Area is 2000 Hectares of which 1000 Hectares are forests, especially broad-leaved like oak. Population: 1590. Named "Westhove" from 739 in the "traditions of Wissembourg", Westhoffen belongs to the Empire very early was was named city in 1332 by Emperor Louis of Bavaria. Encircled with a strong surrounding wall, it becomes an imperial fief of the counts of Hanau-Lichtenberg. Burned down and ransacked by Armagnacs in 14th and 15th centuries, Westhoffen had great prosperity under the counts of Hanau Lichtenberg in 16th century: mining activity (silver). Devastated by plague in the 17th century, the west half of the village was destroyed. Jew probably existed in Westhoffen before 1626 before records mention no persecution during events there in the 14th century. But being only tolerated, the Jews had to pay annual special levies. Up to Revolution, the Jews were authorized to exercise no trade except that of ritual butcher. They therefore dedicated all their activity to trade and to finance. Butcher jobs shifted into trader of livestock. Functions of rabbi, cantor, teacher, not being remunerated, were also supplemented by trade. A synagogue dating from 1760 was found to be too small and was replaced towards the middle of the 19th century. In 1860, the mayor, "for good relations" following the enlargement of the Protestant parsonage, approved building a new synagogue dedicated in August 1868. The building was spared during German occupation, but the inside was vandalized and not redeveloped, the community having practically disappeared. Westhoffen was seat of a rabbinate until 1924. The Jewish community apparently enjoyed friendly relations with their neighbors following the Revolution. has an interesting story about the last Jew in Westhoffen. has photos and more information in French.[January 2008]


Purportedly, a cemetery exists. [January 2008]

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