General information: First Jewish presence: 1782; peak Jewish population: 57 in 1836
Summary: The earliest available record of a Jewish presence in Schiefbahn is dated 1782. In 1809, 20 Jews lived in the town, and in 1836 the Jewish population peaked at 57. The Schiefbahn Jews belonged to the synagogue community of Gladbach. Beginning in the 19th century, local Jews maintained a synagogue and schoolroom in a private residence at 6 Hochstrasse (enlarged in 1836). The property was mortgaged in 1884, and in 1890 a new synagogue was inaugurated, called Am Toemp. We also know that the community consecrated a cemetery on Knickeldorf in the mid-1830s; and in 1913, a new cemetery was consecrated on Am Bertzweg. In 1925, l37 Jews lived in Schiefbahn. Years later, on Pogrom Night, rioters incinerated the synagogue building. Twenty local Jews, Schiefbahn’s last, were deported at the end of 1941; of these, only two survived. At least 42 Schiefbahn Jews perished in the Shoah.
Photo: The synagogue of Schiefbahn. Courtesy of: City Archive of Willich.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: LJG, YV