The Beginning

Until recently, it was assumend that the Jewish community at Dettensee was founded with permission of the monastery of Muri, which had been the owner of Dettensee since 1715. This opinion, which depended on documents from 1764, must now be considered outdated.
We know from judicial documents that Jews were living in Dettensee before the year 1579. There is a promissory note by a citizen of Nagold to Gumprecht, a Jew living in Dettensee, from 1618. Forty-seven years later, both men's descendants were still arguing about its repayment.

The Jews were living in three manorial houses. Herbert Zander believes that at least the bigger two of them were especially built for the Jews, both as an offer of living space and as the only houses they were allowed to live in. The houses' name within the population, “Great Jew Building” or “Jew Barracks”, support this. This could also explain the limited number of Jewish families allowed in Dettensee. Since 1813, the Jews could buy these houses.

Housing was pitiful. In those buildings, there were a prayer room and a school room in addition to all the families. No family possessed more than two rooms, and the continuing request for more space to the abbot of Muri remained futile.
Still, the number of Jews in Dettensee grew. The village had become a part of [Deutsche Flagge] Hohenzollern in 1806, and the Jewish community was one of three besides Haigerloch and Hechingen in Hohenzollern. In 1820, a synagogue was built. In 1822, even an own rabbinate could be installed. A Jewish school was founded in 1826.

The Zenith in the 19th Century

Judenfriedhof Eingangsportal Judenfriedhof Innenansicht In those days, all the Jews except the schoolmaster, the precentor and one innkeeper were traders and dealers. However, the possibilities of trade and commerce were very limited due to the restrictions and orders of the administration; as a consequence, some of the Jews merely could survive by begging and receiving alms. The population of the Jewish community at Dettensee reached its top in 1830 with 197 members; this was roughly half of the population of Dettensee.
Meanwhile, a cemetery had been installed, and an order of the princely government of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in 1849 emancipated the Jews: They were allowed to buy houses, it became less difficult to marry and their general situation improved a lot. Yet, in the years to follow, the decline became obvious: The Jews moved to the bigger cities or emigrated to America. There were 143 israelite citizens in 1886, but only 100 in 1890 and merely four in 1904. The school had already been closed in 1902. The relief-fund was taken over by the Jewish community of Haigerloch, whereas the political community of Dettensee took over the school-fund and the assets of the Jewish community with about 4000 Marks.

The End

When the Nazis took power in 1933, there were two Jews left in Dettensee, siblings Hermann and Luise Hirsch. Hermann Hirsch had already given the real estate and the assets of the Jewish community to the village of Dettensee in 1930. Dettensee, in exchange, agreed to maintain and take care of the cemetery and to tear down the synagogue.

On July 1, 1934, Herman Hirsch died. His sister Luise stayed at Dettensee until August 22, 1942. On that day, she was deported to Theresienstadt. From there, she came to the extermination camp at Maly-Trostinec, where she was murdered.

Interesting Things

Last change: January 5, 2005 -
Sources: Hans-Peter Müller (Empfingen), Utz Jeggle (Tübingen) and Bernd Ballmann (Horb)