Jewish cultural heritage in Aargau


Category:
Oral expressions
  • Performing arts
  • Social practices
  • Knowledge concerning nature
  • Traditional craftsmanship
Canton:

Description

The canton of Aargau is especially significant for the history of Jewish people in Switzerland. The communities of Endingen and Lengnau in Surbtal were the centre of Jewish life in the country for more than two hundred years. Jewish families moved to these areas when they were driven out of the cities and when, at the beginning of the 17th century, Endingen and Lengnau were the only places in the whole of Switzerland where they were permitted to settle on a permanent basis. For a period of time, Jewish people accounted for a large proportion of the population of both communities, which came to be known as “Jew villages”. This piece of history remains a part of the canton’s intangible cultural heritage, and is commemorated in a variety of ways. Since 2009 the story of Jewish people in Surbtal has been told on the “Jewish Heritage Path Endingen-Lengnau”, and synagogues and other important buildings are open to visitors. Charles Lewinsky’s novel “Melnitz” takes readers to the significant places of local Jewish history. Furthermore, recent years have seen “Jewish Culture Week” in September, held primarily in Baden, and Endigen and Baden have active Israeli culture communities. In these ways and in their private lives, followers of Judaism, just like followers of any other religion, uphold many different traditions according to personal beliefs.

Image gallery

  • The Rabbi of the Israeli Community in Baden telling schoolchildren about the Feast of Booths © Schule Baden, Klasse 27, 2007
  • The Rabbi of the Israeli Community in Baden explaining the different objects used in prayer © Schule Baden, Klasse 27, 2007
  • The synagogue in Lengnau AG, built 1845-1847 © Karin Janz, 2011
  • Expert Roy Oppenheim with a group of visitors on the Jewish Heritage Path Endingen-Lengnau © Karin Janz, 2011
  • Lengnau synagogue: Visitors are given a head covering (a “kippa”) to wear in the synagogue © Karin Janz, 2011
  • A house with two front doors on Vogelsangstrasse in Lengnau © Karin Janz, 2011
  • A house with two front doors on Zürichstrasse in Lengnau © Kai-Bernhard Trachsel, 2011
  • Plaques on the Jewish Heritage Path Endingen-Lengnau providing information on the history of Jews in Surbtal © Karin Janz, 2011
  • The oldest Jewish cemetery in Switzerland, situated on the border between the Endingen and Lengnau districts © Kai-Bernhard Trachsel, 2011
  • A small gravestone for a child in the Endingen-Lengnau Jewish cemetery © Karin Janz, 2011
  • New plaques have been inserted into the old stones of some graves © Karin Janz, 2011
  • The graves are numbered and the names of the dead are published in a register © Kai-Bernhard Trachsel, 2011
  • A former “mikveh”, or ritual bathing pool, in Endingen, constructed in 1867 © Karin Janz, 2011
  • Entrance to the synagogue in Endingen, which was built between 1850 and 1852 © Karin Janz, 2011
  • The 1993 Prize for Protecting the Homeland, awarded to the Association for the Preservation of the Synagogues and the Jewish Cemetery © Karin Janz, 2011
  • The Rabbi of the Israeli Community in Baden telling schoolchildren about the Feast of Booths © Schule Baden, Klasse 27, 2007
  • The Rabbi of the Israeli Community in Baden explaining the different objects used in prayer © Schule Baden, Klasse 27, 2007
  • The synagogue in Lengnau AG, built 1845-1847 © Karin Janz, 2011
  • Expert Roy Oppenheim with a group of visitors on the Jewish Heritage Path Endingen-Lengnau © Karin Janz, 2011
  • Lengnau synagogue: Visitors are given a head covering (a “kippa”) to wear in the synagogue © Karin Janz, 2011
  • A house with two front doors on Vogelsangstrasse in Lengnau © Karin Janz, 2011
  • A house with two front doors on Zürichstrasse in Lengnau © Kai-Bernhard Trachsel, 2011
  • Plaques on the Jewish Heritage Path Endingen-Lengnau providing information on the history of Jews in Surbtal © Karin Janz, 2011
  • The oldest Jewish cemetery in Switzerland, situated on the border between the Endingen and Lengnau districts © Kai-Bernhard Trachsel, 2011
  • A small gravestone for a child in the Endingen-Lengnau Jewish cemetery © Karin Janz, 2011
  • New plaques have been inserted into the old stones of some graves © Karin Janz, 2011
  • The graves are numbered and the names of the dead are published in a register © Kai-Bernhard Trachsel, 2011
  • A former “mikveh”, or ritual bathing pool, in Endingen, constructed in 1867 © Karin Janz, 2011
  • Entrance to the synagogue in Endingen, which was built between 1850 and 1852 © Karin Janz, 2011
  • The 1993 Prize for Protecting the Homeland, awarded to the Association for the Preservation of the Synagogues and the Jewish Cemetery © Karin Janz, 2011

References and documentation

Publications
  • Luisa Bertolaccini, Barbara Welter: Jüdisches Leben in und um Baden. Führer zur Sonderausstellung im Historischen Museum Baden. Baden, 2003

  • Werner Frenkel: Baden, eine jüdische Kleingemeinde. Fragmente aus der Geschichte 1859-1947. Baden, 2002

  • Käthi und Werner Frenkel: Jüdisches Leben heute. In: Zurzibiet. Der Mensch im Mittelpunkt. Ed. Kurt Schmid, Leo Erne. Döttingen, 2008, p. 162-163

  • Claude Kupfer, Ralph Weingarten: Zwischen Ausgrenzung und Integration. Geschichte und Gegenwart der Jüdinnen und Juden in der Schweiz. Zürich, 1999

  • Jacques Picard: Judentum in der Schweiz. Zwischen religiöser, kultureller und politischer Identität. In: Eine Schweiz – viele Religionen. Risiken und Chancen des Zusammenlebens. Ed. Martin Baumann, Jörg Stolz. Bielefeld, 2007, p. 177-192

  • Anna Rapp Buri: Jüdisches Kulturgut in und aus Endingen und Lengnau. Ed. Verein für die Erhaltung der Synagogen und des Friedhofes Endingen-Lengnau. Heidelberg, 2008

  • Schweizerischer Israelitischer Gemeindebund: Geschichte der jüdischen Gemeinden: Baden (SIG Factsheet). Zürich, 23. November 2009

  • Peter Stein: Lebendiges und untergegangenes jüdisches Brauchtum. Brauch gestern, heute, Brauch hier und dort, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der schweizerischen Judendörfer Endingen und Lengnau. Ed. Verein für die Erhaltung der Synagogen und des Friedhofes Endingen-Lengnau. Heidelberg, 2008

Documentation