May we introduce ourselves ...

We are students of the M 9 class at the Stephani School in Gunzenhausen. Our town is in Bavaria, about 50 kilometres south of Nürnberg, and has approx. 16,000 inhabitants.

We have been learning about the histories of Jewish inhabitants in Gunzenhausen during World War II (1933-1945) in a research group for three years now. We are especially interested in the homes of Jewish citizens  that had to be left behind by their owners. Most of these houses are still standing and some are even lived in by people whose ancestors bought them.

In 1933 Gunzenhausen had around 5000 inhabitants. Out of these 5000, 184 were of Jewish beliefs. Together with the Jewish residents of nearby villages and smaller towns, they built a small Jewish community with a school, synagogue, meatery, rabbi and a cemetery.

Train Station Gunzenhausen in November of 1938:  Jewish men are deported to Dachau
Train Station Gunzenhausen in November of 1938: Jewish men are deported to Dachau

Today we walk through the beautiful streets of our town and ask ourselves:

  • Who might have built this house?
  • What kind of people might have lived there?
  • Could a Jewish family have lived there?
  • What might have been the fate of these people?
  • Do the current owners of the house know anything about it?

All of a sudden we see our town in a whole different light.

We are looking for clues.
And we find them!

We are looking for people.
And we find them.

We do some research.

In the books “Alt Gunzenhausen” (“Old Gunzenhausen”) we find pictures and documents of people during WW II. We were especially moved by the history of the Synagogue in Gunzenhausen.

We find researching at the city archives very exciting. A presentation about Jewish life in Gunzenhausen has been put together by Mr. Werner Mühlhäusser. It contains names, careers and addresses of all the Jewish residents of Gunzenhausen since 1345.

Together with the city archives and house records we manage to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

We interview many elderly residents to find out more details about this time. This way we can sometimes put families and houses together more quickly. With every piece of information the picture becomes more complete.

We would like to thank the Institute for NS-research and Jewish History in the 20th Century in Nürnberg for supporting our project.

We are especially interested in the people that had no other choice that to leave Gunzenhausen back then, and where they are living now. Herr Mühlhäusser gave us some the addresses of  residents who left the country. Through letters and e-mail, we try to take up contact with them. We also hope to find some people through internet searches.

Our Photographers take pictures of former Jewish homes. We put these, and the respective histories of the homes on our internet site. We ask anyone who can add to our information to contact us. We are glad to hear from helpers all over the world!