Bouxwiller is a very old town located within the Saverne arrondissement about 34 kilometers (21 mi) northwest of Strasbourg and has been occupied since Roman times. The Jews have been living in Bouxwiller since the early 1300s. During the Protestant Reformation, Prince of Hanau-Lichtenberg had the capital in Bouxwiller, but was very tolerant of the Jews in hopes of becoming an “enlightened spirit.”
The Hanau-Lichtenberg administration allowed the presence of a yeshiva (religious Jewish school) and the beth din (Jewish court) which lasted from the 1760s until the French Revolution. There were also two Jewish cemeteries in the town established in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
A large synagogue was built in Bouxwiller in 1844. It was defaced and damaged during the Second World War and the building now houses the Judeo-Alsatian Museum of Bouxwiller, dedicated to the history of Jews in Alsace. The city has preserved many witnesses to this rich past, which are highlighted by several discovery trails and two museums. The Pays de Hanau Museum and Jewish Alsatian Museum have spectacular displays of artifacts and 3D models that recount the Jewish history and culture of Jews in Bouxwiller.