Already in the middle of the 16th century Jewish people lived in the village of Freudental. In 1723 six Jewish families from Flehingen set up a community. A liberal and tolerant edict - given by the Countess Wilhelmine von Würben named Grävenitz - opened secure prospects to the Jewish people in Freudental, so that the community developped to a center of Jewish-religious and cultural life in the state of Württemberg and became seat of a rabbinate until 1887.
Freudental had its great significance from the famous Rabbi Nathan Elsässer, and the "Baal-Schem" Joseph Maier called Schnaittacher, who was rabbi in Freudental from 1821 till 1834. The largest number of Jewish inhabitants in Freudental was reached in 1862 with 377 persons, nearly the half of the population of the village. In 1933 fifty Jewish people lived in Freudental. During the deportation and in extermination camps fourteen of them were murdered.
In 1770-71 a synagogue was built in an early-classical style, which was only slightly changed in several renovations. 1926 the building was classified as a historical monument. During the progrom in november 1938 the synagogue was wrecked, the religious objects burnt out on the nearby sports ground. 1943 the community of Freudental acquired the building. It should be used as a sports hall or warehouse. In 1949 it was given back to the Jewish community in Stuttgart, 1954 again acquired by the community of Freudental, who in 1955 sold it to a craftsman, who made it useable for his purpose by several disfiguring changings . As a result the building fell into ruins, so that the council of Freudental in 1979 decided to pull it down.
In 1980 some commited people of Freudental and nearby towns joined together to a registered society with the aim to preserve the ancient synagogue and to put it to a meaningful purpose. The society acquired the building. In four years' work the ensemble consisting of synagogue including the women's gallery, the Renaissance-tower, neighbouring-building and the vaulted cellar was renovated according to the requirements of the preservation of historical monuments for a new utilization. On january 17, 1985, the renovated synagogue was handed over to the society "Pädagogisch-Kulturelles Centrum Ehemalige Synagoge Freudental" to create cultural and educational programs.
From the beginning the county of Ludwigsburg supported the efforts with an annual subsidy, and in june 1991 took on the responsibility for the ancient synagogue by the assuring financal support for the valuable work in the cultural, historical and political field.
Today the ancient synagogue of Freudental is a conference center, booked on more than 250 days a year for seminars and courses of further education. Groups of teachers and pupils, people from the churches and the unions, participants of seminars of the Institution for Political Education of Baden-Württemberg as well as from adult education institutions are the majority of the guests.
Lectures, seminars, study-days and discussions on the subjects of the recent German history, especially the years of the Nazi-dictatorship, the history of the Jews in Freudental, anti-semitism and hostility against Jews, the synagogue and Jewish cementary, as well as the history of Jewish art and culture are attended by groups of the larger region of Stuttgart, so that more than 2.500 visitors come to see these events into the synagogue every year.
So the ancient synagogue today is a house of remembrance and of learning, a place of conscience, dialogue and meeting, which during the last ten years was visited by more than 60.000 people.The relationships of the county of Ludwigsburg and the region of Upper Galilee are mainly organized and further developped by the center. So every year exchange-programs for students, teachers, students of music-schools and artists are carried out.
The main item of the work in the house of remebrance is coming together with people who were endangered, persecuted and arrested during the time of National-Socialism. Center of attention are their reports and how they coped with their experiences. So the contacts with the last two teachers of the Jewish community of Freudental - Seew Berlinger and Simon Meisner - and their annual visits are of outstanding significance, especially for the young people of the village.
The building up of an archive and a library for the scientific documentation of the history of the Jews in Freudental as well as for contemporary history is an important source of research for pupils of secondary and grammar schools of the nearby towns and the students of the Pedagogical Highschool of Ludwigsburg. The "learning-goal democracy and tolerance", at which all these efforts are aimed, finds its best expression in the fact that in many events, excursions, and study-tours there is found a way over and above silent remembrance and mourning to open dialogue.
The wedding or Chuppa stone which can be found beside the entrance of the synagogue refers to the marriage ceremony in the synagogue. The text comes from Jeremy 7, 34 which is spoken by the guests at the end of the ceremony. The groom had to smash his glass of wine against this stone in memory of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and mortality. Then the groom and the bride were married.
Strombergstraße 19, 74392 Freudental
Telephone: 0049-7143/24151 * Telefax: 0049-7143/28196