General information: First Jewish presence: 17th century; peak Jewish population: 85 in 1900; Jewish population in 1933: 53
Summary: The first Jews of Schoetmar were expelled from the town in 1614. In or around the year 1725, around which time a synagogue was built in Schoetmar, the Jewish community came into being. The community later merged with that in the nearby town of Uflen to become the joint rabbinate of Uflen-Schoetmar (later, Bad-Salzuflen-Schoetmar). Local Jews conducted services in prayer rooms until 1725, when a synagogue was built at 23 Bergsstrasse. In 1800, another synagogue was built in the Schoetmar manor (called Rittergut), but it was sold and demolished in 1888, when construction work on a new synagogue (on Echternstrasse) began. Inaugurated on August 1 of that same year, the new house of worship’s distinctive features were its arch and Moorish elements. The Jewish cemetery was consecrated either in 1871 or in 1877. In 1933, the community numbered 53 members; according to records, a Jewish school was still active that year. Later, on Pogrom Night (November 1938), local SA men ransacked and set fire to the synagogue. The interior burned down completely, but the roof and walls withstood the flames. Jewish homes and businesses were also destroyed on Pogrom Night, and nine Jews were arrested and taken to Buchenwald. The synagogue building was sold to a contractor in 1939. Of the 38 Jews still living in Schoetmar in May 1939, 20 were deported between December 1941 and July 1942. The remaining 18 Jews managed to escape. The synagogue building was sold in the 1960s, after which, in 1974, it was converted into an apartment building. As of this writing, a memorial plaque has never been unveiled there.
Author / Sources: Benjamin Rosendahl
Sources: EJL, SG-NRW