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This post is about a 19km walk from Kammeltal to Silheim. I look for Yenish people in Ichenhausen but only manage to find a former synagogue.

I had spent the night on a campground in Kammeltal. It was actually a sort of trailer park for camper vans, but they let me stay anyway. When I found out that my neighbors were a nice French family, I told them that I liked their country, and that France was the place where I had first embarked on a walk.

It meant something to me.

no Yenish people

There was a small forest after Kammeltal, and the Caboose and I had to navigate through tall grass and around fallen trees. Then we reached the small town of Ichenhausen.

I was excited about Ichenhausen, because I had marked it on the map months ago. There was supposed to be a community from an itinerant group called the Yenish people there. Having only read some articles online, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

But when I got there, I found nothing. I asked a few people if they had ever heard of a term called “Jenische”, but they all said no. Then I felt stupid and gave up.

no Jews

That’s when I saw a sign pointing to a synagogue. It’s not often that you find a synagogue in a small German town, so I was intrigued. Was it in good condition? Was it operational? Was there a Jewish community here, against all odds?

But again, when I got there, it was just a large and nicely renovated building that seemed like an empty shell. There was a sign saying it was a former synagogue, and that there were guided tours once a week. It reminded me of the Grand Synagogue of Edirne.

And then there were the fences, the security cameras, and the protective glass covers in front of the windows. All there in order to protect the former synagogue from vandalism.

One thing seemed clear: it wasn’t just historical antisemitism and the horrors of Nazi Germany that had driven the remaining Jewish population out of Germany. German antisemitism was alive and kicking, and even former synagogues weren’t safe from it.

This made me wonder about the Yenish people again.


I was just walking through the small village of Rieden when I heard the roar of thunder in the distance. The sky looked dark, and the wind was getting stronger, so I sought shelter in a bus stop, just in case.

I ended up sitting in the bus stop for two hours while the thunderstorm was punishing the land.

do Swabs sleep early?

When I reached Bibertal it was already getting dark. No problem, I thought, I will just ring the bell at a farm and ask for a place to pitch my tent! I wanted to find a place under some sort of overhanging roof, just in case the thunderstorm returned.

But I was out of luck. I rang a few bells, but nobody came to the door.

So I tried the nicest looking house in the next village. I wasn’t even planning to ask for a place to stay anymore, I just needed some water so I could camp somewhere near the forest. But when I rang the bell, a couple of around the same age as my dad opened the door. They gave me water, and then they told me that their daughter was currently touring Canada in a camper van, and would I like to sleep in the tool shed?

And so I had completed the day’s walk from Kammeltal to Silheim.


the walk from Kammeltal to Silheim:

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