Haus der jüdischen Geschichte und Kultur von Baden

The History of a Property

Dr. Jürgen Krüger, Karlsruhe, Professor of Art History:

"Was one aware of the significance of this procedure? A fire station, of all places, when the fire brigade hadn't extinguished the synagogue fire at the same place."

  • There was already a synagogue in Bruchsal in the Middle Ages.
  • 1801 Construction of the first modern Bruchsal synagogue on this site.
  • Mid 1880 The existing synagogue can no longer accommodate the approximately 700 members of the Israelite community. Construction of the new synagogue begins.
  • September 1881 Inauguration of the newly built synagogue, which cost 140,000 Marks (according to today's purchasing power about 1.5 million Euros) and was financed from the Jewish community's own funds.
  • 1926 - 1928 The synagogue is extensively renovated. There are no documents on the costs of the renovation and extension.

  • April 1928 Re-inauguration after completion of the extensive renovation work.
  • 09 November 1938 The synagogue is burnt down, the Bruchsal fire brigade does not extinguish the fire. The remains of the synagogue are blown up in 1939.
  • September 1939 The town of Bruchsal acquires the property in September 1939 for 8,500 Reichsmark. The market value of the property at that time (without the synagogue building!) was 11,700 Reichsmark.
  • May 1950 By resolution of the municipal council, a section of the site of the former Pestalozzischool at Friedrichsplatz is designated for the construction of a new fire station.
  • May 1950 A plan already exists showing the fire station on the site of the former Pestalozzischule.
  • November 1950 The purchase price is too high for the district and therefore offers only 8,000 DM. "The district administrator of the district had himself in his preconceived opinion, it would come only a price of DM 8,000, - in question, so firmly that he could not be dissuaded from his opinion, which in our opinion represented a pure principle riding." [...] "In the meantime, however, we have heard that Bruchsal seems to continue to attach importance to the fact that the agricultural school will be built on the reimbursed plot of land." (JRSO Mannheim)

  • March 1951 The town of Bruchsal intends to build a fire station on the site of the Pestalozzischule next to the synagogue site. The local council decides on the construction in May.
  • May 10, 1951 The local council decides to build a new fire station at Friedrichsplatz, formerly Pestalozzischule.
  • May 21, 1951 The city of Bruchsal expresses its interest in the synagogue property to the JRSO for a lump sum of DM 8,800: "This price undoubtedly exceeds the common value [...], since despite its central location it is not directly suitable for building and must first be made ready for construction through expensive work. The removal of the splinter ditches, which run through the entire site, will necessitate significant expenditure. The construction of the land plot, the soil of which has been crushed to a depth of 5 m by the impact of the soil, will require considerable additional costs for the foundation. However, as the neighbouring land is owned by the municipality, the synagogue land serves to consolidate it." The city planning office is allegedly not sure whether the city council can be convinced of the purchase at all: "Whether these [...] technical reasons will be suitable to convince the city council will depend on the extent to which your administration can grant a reasonable price."
  • May 30, 1951 The JRSO initiates the sale. "It is indeed an extremely difficult property to exploit, as the property is completely covered with concrete splinter ditches and any other interested party than the town is unlikely to be found. [...] that considerable funds, probably over 4,000 DM, must be spent in order to make the property developable or usable at all." (Dr. Barry)
  • June 8, 1951 The construction committee proposes to build the planned fire station "on Friedrichstraße, predominantly on the site of the former synagogue".
  • June 11, 1951 The city planning office proposes to the municipal council that the fire station be "not located on Friedrichsplatz, but on Friedrichstraße on the site of the former synagogue", while substantially retaining the plans."
  • June 11, 1951 "The local council also agrees with this new proposal."
  • June 14, 1951 The JRSO negotiator is authorized to sell the property for DM 8,800.
  • July 16, 1951 First drawing of the fire station on the synagogue square, dated 16 July 1951.
  • July 1951 Building permit and approval of the building application by the district administrator.
  • August 13, 1951 Notarial purchase contract between the city of Bruchsal and JRSO. Purchase price DM 8,800.

  • October 1951 Start of structural work for the new fire station.
  • March 1953 Topping-out ceremony for the new fire station on the synagogue grounds.
  • November 1953 The fire brigade moves into the new fire station on the site of the former synagogue.
  • 2020 The Bruchsal fire brigade leaves the fire station in Friedrichstraße.

According to the available documents, the city of Bruchsal did not adequately compensate the Jewish community for the destroyed synagogue.

© Rolf Schmitt