Jewish cemetery (Schopfloch)
The Jewish Cemetery Schopfloch is a Jewish cemetery in Schopfloch, a market town in the district of Ansbach in Bavaria.
The cemetery is located halfway between the center of Schopfloch and the district of Deuenbach opposite Baderstraße 10 and covers 12,980 square meters. Originally there were about 1600 gravestones on it.
The cemetery was occupied for over 300 years – from 1612 to 1937. However, gravestones with the dates of death 27 February 1938 and 25 August 1938 respectively can also be found there. The reason for this, according to an oral statement by stonemason Birgit Hähnlein-Häberleins, is that they were subsequently erected in a solemn ceremony with the Würzburg rabbi in 2011, after Angelika Brosig, now deceased, discovered that the two dead had no gravestone, contrary to Jewish custom.
It was also used for burials of the Jewish communities of Braunsbach, Hengstfeld, Schwäbisch Hall with Steinbach, Dünsbach, Gerabronn, Michelbach an der Lücke, Wiesenbach, Crailsheim with Goldbach and Ingersheim an der Jagst, Unterdeufstetten as well as Niederstetten.
The cost of burial in the Union Cemetery in Schopfloch was calculated according to the assets of the deceased and was borne by whichever Jewish community the deceased came from. In addition, for the maintenance of the cemetery in Schopfloch, “an annual tax of 1 kreuzer and 6 kreuzer for 100 gulden of property per household” was was levied.
According to the Talmud, the burial was to take place immediately; however, in this country, people sometimes waited for another death in order to then bring both dead together to the Schopfloch cemetery. In this way, one saved effort, time, road and bridge tolls, as well as the taxes that became due as soon as one crossed different dominions. Because of this, the saying Wecha amm doada Juda fäahrd mr nedd nach Schopfi came into being.
In 1802 it was considerably enlarged by acquiring the so-called “New Part”, which lies to the left of the entrance.
During the Nazi period, the Tahara House was completely destroyed by arsonists. Furthermore, desecrations took place in the cemetery. After World War II, former NSDAP members of Schopfloch were obliged by the Allies to pay reparations for the damages, who then “in the summer of 1945 […] under the supervision of the mayor of Schopfloch, re-erected the toppled gravestones.”
From 1963, the cemetery was finally comprehensively repaired. In the meantime, the Landesverband der Israelitischen Kultusgemeinden in Bayern is the responsible body for this cemetery. From 2005 on, Angelika Brosig, who died in 2013, was responsible for the documentation and care of the cemetery together with volunteer partners, whose activities Jutta Breitinger, an employee of the Schopfloch town hall, would like to continue in the year according to oral statement.
The location of the cemetery exhibits some characteristics typical of Jewish cemeteries: for example, “most cemeteries are (or were long ago) [located] outside localities”because, on the one hand, they were often not tolerated by the non-Jewish residents in their vicinity and, on the other hand, they were protected from grave desecration by nature and the long and sometimes arduous way there. In addition, the graves were “often located in forests or on hilltops”because the soil there was relatively cheap to acquire due to the almost non-existent fertility. Another characteristic feature is the enclosure by a wall or a fence as well as one or two gates. In addition, many Jewish cemeteries have a tahara hall, i.e. a mortuary, in which the Chewra Kadischa, separated into men and women, prepares the burials: After an ablution and a ritual cleansing by water, a dressing in white robes for the dead takes place. Once the body has been placed in a simple wooden coffin, the burial follows after an officially defined waiting period.
Originally there were about 1600 gravestones there. However, the number of gravestones still preserved today varies in the secondary literature, and of course the date of publication may play a role: While Kraiss and Reuter and Schwierz assume 1356, Mayer as well as Eberhardt and Berger-Dittscheid give a figure of 1172. According to Brosig, there are still 1200 preserved graves in the cemetery. Jutta Breitinger, who is now responsible for guided tours of the Jewish cemetery in the town hall, speaks of 1172 preserved graves. In any case, the oldest gravestones are located in the eastern area of the Jewish cemetery; the oldest deciphered one dates back to 1580.
The tombstones were placed relatively close to each other due to lack of space and almost all of them face east towards Jerusalem.
Their inscriptions show “names, the date of death, and personal details about the dead (e.g. place of birth, date of birth, age, occupation, activities, etc.) in German and Hebrew, in the case of particularly pious personalities only in Hebrew”. In addition, symbols engraved on the gravestone can indicate the status or special activities of the person buried there. Blessing priests’ hands symbolize that the person buried there belongs to the Kohanim tribe. A jug or bowl on the gravestone identifies the deceased as a Levite. The symbol of the knife on the gravestone, on the other hand, means that the buried person was a Mohel.
- Brosig, Angelika, Schopfloch, in: Reese, Gunther (ed.): Spuren jüdischen Lebens rund um den Hesselberg, vol. 6 (Kleine Schriftenreihe Region Hesselberg), Unterschwaningen 2011, ISBN 978-3-9808482-2-0, pp. 88-93.
- Eberhardt, Barbara/ Berger-Dittscheid, Cornelia, Schopfloch, in: Kraus, Wolfgang et al. (eds.), Mehr als Steine… Synagogen-Gedenkband Bayern, vol. 2: Mittelfranken (Gedenkbuch der Synagogen in Deutschland 3, 2), Lindenberg im Allgäu 2010, pp. 597-613.
- Kraiss, Eva Maria/ Reuter, Marion, Bet Hachajim – Haus des Lebens. Jüdische Friedhöfe in Württembergisch Franken, Künzelsau 2003.
- Mayer, Lothar, Jüdische Friedhöfe in Mittel- und Oberfranken, Petersberg 2012.
- Schwierz, Israel, Steinerne Zeugnisse jüdischen Lebens in Bayern. Eine Dokumentation, Munich 1988.
– Collection of images, videos and audio files
- Alemannia Judaica: Der jüdische Friedhof in Schopfloch (Landkreis Ansbach). http://www.alemannia-judaica.de/schopfloch_friedhof.htm (retrieved on 2 May 2015).
- Brosig, Angelika/ Hofmann, Rolf: Jewish Cemetery Schopfloch (Bavaria). Legible Grave Inscriptions (ca. 1850-1937), in: http://www.alemannia-judaica.de/images/Schopfloch%20CEM/SCHOPFLOCH-CEMETERY-GRAVELIST.pdf (retrieved on 2 May 2015).
- Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte: Jewish cemeteries in Bavaria. Schopfloch (Lkr. Ansbach, Regierungsbezirk Mittelfranken). http://www.hdbg.de/juedische-friedhoefe/friedhoefe/friedhof_schopfloch.php (retrieved on 2 May 2015).
- Hofmann, Rolf: Jewish Cemetery Schopfloch Family Name Index. http://www. alemannia-judaica.de/images/Schopfloch%20CEM/SCHOPFLOCH-CEMETERY-NAMEINDEX.pdf (retrieved 2 May 2015).
- Jüdisch Historischer Verein Augsburg: Der jüdische Friedhof von Schopfloch. http://jhva.wordpress.com/2010/08/22/der-judische-friedhof-von-schopfloch/ (retrieved 2 May 2015).
- Website of the association Bet Olam, Feuchtwangen, with map and grave research on the Jewish cemetery Schopfloch: Bet Olam e.V.. https://www. juedischer-friedhof-schopfloch.de/ (retrieved 27 May 2019).
- Eva Maria Kraiss, Marion Reuter: Bet Hachajim. House of Life. Jewish cemeteries in Württemberg Franconia. Swiridoff Verlag, Künzelsau 2003, ISBN 3-89929-009-7, p. 36.
- Handwritten notes by the author at Jewish Culture Day 2014.
- o. A., Würde wiedergegeben. “Frauen im Judentum” Thema einer Veranstaltung, in: Fränkische Landeszeitung (2014), No. 214, o. S.
- Mayer, Lothar: Jüdische Friedhöfe in Mittel- und Oberfranken, Petersberg 2012, p. 180f.
- Brosig, Angelika: Schopfloch, in: Reese, Gunther (ed.), Spuren jüdischen Lebens rund um den Hesselberg, vol. 6 (Kleine Schriftenreihe Region Hesselberg), Unterschwaningen 2011, pp. 88-93.
- Eberhardt, Barbara/ Berger-Dittscheid, Cornelia: Schopfloch, in: Kraus, Wolfgang u. a. (eds.), Mehr als Steine… Synagogen-Gedenkband Bayern, vol. 2: Mittelfranken (Gedenkbuch der Synagogen in Deutschland 3, 2), Lindenberg im Allgäu 2010, pp. 597-613.
- Schwierz, Israel, Steinerne Zeugnisse jüdischen Lebens in Bayern. Eine Dokumentation, Munich 1988, p. 15.
- Schwierz, Israel, Steinerne Zeugnisse jüdischen Lebens in Bayern. Eine Dokumentation, Munich 1988, p. 15f.
- Schwierz, Israel, Steinerne Zeugnisse jüdischen Lebens in Bayern. Eine Dokumentation, Munich 1988, p. 18f.
- Schwierz, Israel, Steinerne Zeugnisse jüdischen Lebens in Bayern. Eine Dokumentation, Munich 1988, p. 182.
- Mayer, Lothar, Jüdische Friedhöfe in Mittel- und Oberfranken, Petersberg 2012, p. 180.
- Oral testimony of Jutta Breitinger dated 23 July 2014.
- Schwierz, Israel, Steinerne Zeugnisse jüdischen Lebens in Bayern. Eine Dokumentation, Munich 1988, p. 16f.
- Schwierz, Israel, Steinerne Zeugnisse jüdischen Lebens in Bayern. Eine Dokumentation, Munich 1988, pp. 15-17.