Explore Jewish heritage in a charming medieval town of Breisach! Located on the French-German border, between the Black Forest and the Alsace, along the Rhine and surrounded by vineyards, Breisach offers a great opportunity to learn about Jewish history in this region. Let Breisach’s binational flair (and its delicious wines) seduce you on our Breisach shore excursion!
The Breisacher Stephansmünster, the city’s landmark on the Münsterberg (cathedral’s hill), is an impressive Romanesque-Gothic building overlooking the city and visible even from far beyond the city’s limits.
Even though Breisach was almost completely destroyed during WWII, its reconstruction has been so successful that you can easily retrace its 3000-year-old history everywhere in the city. The Museum for Town History will take you on a journey through Breisach’s early history through a collection of fascinating archaeological artefacts, paintings and figures.
The museum covers also the history of the Breisgau region, which received its name from the city of Breisach. The museum is hosted by the magnificent baroque Rheintor, the city’s “Arc de Triomphe” (triumphal arch), built in Louis XIV’s honor as the region formally became part of the French territory.
A highlight on our Breisach shore excursion is The Blue House, a memorial site and educational establishment dedicated to the history of the Jews of the Upper Rhine. The house, erected in 1691 in the moat of the 14th century town wall, in the middle of the Jewish quarter at the foot of the Münsterberg, was acquired by the Jewish community in 1829. A religious school was established there, and it was also used as an infirmary for poor Jews.
On our private Jewish tour in Breisach, we will travel back in history and make our way through the various stages of Jewish life in Breisach, which started as early as 1301. The Black Death represented a tragedy for the community, which was completely exterminated in 1349, but soon other Jewish groups settled in the city, only to be expelled in 1424. Jews came back almost one century later, in 1550, and a cemetery was built.
On Kristallnacht, in 1938, the synagogue was burned down, and by 1940, 157 Jews had fled, many to nearby France. In late 1940, the last 34 Jews were deported to the Gurs concentration camp. Breisach’s only survivor, who had escaped the deportation, a woman called Selma Ziehler, purchased the Blue House in the 1960s from the “Oberrat der Israeliten in Baden”. In 2000, the association for the support of the Blue House acquired it from one of her grandsons. Events and educational programs at this historic location are aimed at keeping the memory of historical Jewish communities alive; as well as at covering Christian-jewish relationships before the war and the violent end of Jewish life under Nazi rule in 1940.
The best way to enjoy Breisach is by simply strolling through its romantic cobbled streets, and by indulging in a wine-tasting session at the Badischer Winzerkeller, Europe’s biggest winegrower’s cellar! Discover the world of wines from the Baden region, and have a look behind the scenes of wine production.
Delve into the history and tickle all your senses on our Breisach shore excursion!
Tickle all your senses on our shore excursion, and explore Jewish heritage in Breisach am Rhein, a gem between France and Germany!