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Return to Freudental


Thomas Lahusen

in collaboration with
Steffen Pross,
Toby Sonneman &
Gulzat Egemberdieva.


October 2020



Freudental is a small, picturesque village, located in the district of Ludwigsburg, Baden-Würtenberg, Germany. It has a castle, built in 1728, an even older church that prides itself of a bell of the 13th century, and it had a synagogue, built in 1770, now the location of the Pädagogisch-Kulturelles Centrum Ehemalige Synagoge Freudental.  A sizable Jewish cemetery, set at the edge of a forest, is still overlooking the town. In 1731 countess Wilhelmine von Würben allowed 24 Jewish families to establish residence in the village. Around 1750, Jews made up more than forty percent of its population. During most of Freudental’s history its two communities— Protestant and Jews—lived side by side, sharing municipal duties, educational and commercial activities. It all changed during the Nazi era. For those Jews who were not able to emigrate, only a very few survived the Holocaust. This film is about the return of their descendants to Freudental, the search for traces in various places in Germany and the world, and German-Jewish identity.