Excerpt from "GEPPO - DER STADTBOTE" – Edition 03, Volume 5 – Wednesday, January 19, 2000

Treasures of the Göppingen Museums

Around 200 years ago, a blacksmith crafted a sign for the newly opened King David Inn of Jebenhausen. Today, the King David emblem stands as one of the most impressive pieces in the Jewish Museum, which is situated in the old church of Jebenhausen.

The Inn Signpost, Crafted in the Image of King David – an Impressive Witness to the Jewish Past

In the year 1777 through the issuance of a so-called "letter of protection" by the Barons of Liebenstein, a settlement of Jewish families was established in Jebenhausen. The rapidly growing Jewish community developed along today’s Boller Straße and the front of the mountain. Accordingly to the agreement met in the "letter of protection" that the Jews "shall be allowed to exercise all of their statutes, ceremonies and customs according to their law and religion without opposition and are permitted to celebrate all of their festivals," the Jewish community built not only a synagogue, a school house, and their own cemetery, but by and by also opened inns. The first opened before 1800— The King David Inn, which was situated near the front of the "Jew-mountain," as it was then called. Guests welcomed at the inn were not exclusively Jews, but for those Jews attention was given to their religious foods and purity requirements through the employment of a kosher kitchen.

Whoever traveled to Jebenhausen at that time was sure to notice the signpost over the inn doors, which made the traveler aware from afar that he would be welcomed. The striking sign— a harp player, "King David," allowed the name of the inn to figuratively speak. The name was by all means intentionally chosen, for it reminds one indeed of the first king of a greater Israel, one of the most glorious figures of Old Israel. King David is still popular today, primarily through the saga that tells of his battle against Goliath the Giant, a parable for the conflict between unequal partners. In the 18th and 19th centuries King David was known as being a patron of singers and musicians. Along these perceptions of King David the figure of the Jebenhausen inn signpost took shape. The signpost was crafted with certainty by a local blacksmith. As usual at that time, it was cut out of sheet metal, riveted together and then painted.

Had the Jewish community not been persecuted and devastated in Nazi-Germany, then the King David would have been an inn signpost among others. Therefore this signpost is one of the few witnesses and at the same time the most apparent document of the Jewish past in the history of our city. Together with the Star of David— a general symbol of the Jewish faith, and the Jebenhausen King David the distinctive emblem of the Jewish Museum is formed.

© Archiv und Museen der Stadt Göppingen