||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (December 2008)|
|• Mayor (2001–2008)||Louis Becker|
|Area1||14.38 km2 (5.55 sq mi)|
|• Density||320/km2 (820/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||67194 / 67850|
|Elevation||120–131 m (394–430 ft)|
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
The local economy is based on agriculture. The village promotes itself as the local potato capital, and a Potato Festival is organised annually.
There was a Jewish community in Herrlisheim throughout the eighteenth century: this by 1780 comprised fifteen recorded Jewish families. Probably the first synagogue n the village dated from 1805, but this was rebuilt in 1850. In 1936 there were around 80 Jewish inhabitants, but in 1940 any that remained were deported to the south of France and at least eleven of these were murdered. The synagogue and some adjacent buildings were destroyed by a bombardment in the same year. The synagogue was again rebuilt in the 1950s, but after the war there were never more than a handful of Jews in the village and the synagogue was closed in 1969: it has been left in position, however, for its historical resonances.
World War II
Herrlisheim was the scene of intense fighting in January 1945 between the 553 Volksgrenadier Division, 10th SS Division and elements of the 12th US Armored Division. The fighting began as part of Operation Nordwind; which was the last offensive by German troops on the Western front in the war and was focused on the recapture of Strasbourg. The 553rd Volsgrenadier crossed the Rhine River and established a bridgehead around Gambsheim on January 5th. Three days later, the 12th US Armored Division started to attempt the reduction of the Bridgehead and attacked Herrlisheim directly on January 16th.
In the second day of fighting, elements of 10th SS Panzer joined in the defence and inflicted very heavy casualties; wiping out two battalions of American troops. The next day as 10th SS Panzer attempted to exploit its victory to the west of the town, it was their turn to take heavy losses as the US forces slowly retired. The badly battered town was finally liberated on January 31st as the Germans retired after the overall failure of their offensive.
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