he history of Greffern has always been closely associated with the Rhine River, which not only brought work and food, but also misery and distress. The regular flooding of the river produced much hardship, so much so, that the village had to be relocated further inland four times between the 15th and 17th centuries. A further planned relocation of the village in the 19th century was averted by Tulla's correction" of the river's course. Before this construction of levies, the floods were recorded as being the height of a man standing upright, the water flowing into the houses through the windows.
Recorded history of the village dates back to 1294, but many findings in the area from prehistoric times indicate this area was inhabited for considerably longer than this. Today, local fields with names such as the "Burgplatz" (castle square) arc reminders of Greffern's noble lineage of the "Greifere" who resided here in the Middle Ages. In early times the word "greifere" was also used to refer to the village itself.
The village coat of arms is a reminder of the village's main sources of income and wealth. The boat-hook represents fishery while the oars stand for shipping. The roses presumably refer to water lilies and the background to the coat of arms is a reference to the once thriving and very lucrative gold-panning which was conducted here. The fisheries industry of Greffern dates back to the 15th century when a fishing guild was established. In 1331 the "Justice Book of the City of Strasbourg" mentions the village's shipping rights. The village was also an important customs stop as duty was charged on both the use of the river and the imperial road which passed through it. Even today the village plays an important role in shipping on the Rhine and since 1977 the ferry "Drusus" has provided free ferry service on the river.
The Greffern chapel, dedicated to Saint John and Saint Paul, was once a well-visited place of pilgrimage. Following construction of a first church in ! 755, today's church was built in 1887. The parish, which has been independent since 1966, formerly belonged to Schwarzach.
Industry has also played a major role in Greffern's development, and in 1965 the Dow Chemical Company constructed a major plant in the town.