General information: First Jewish presence: 1539; peak Jewish population: 69 in 1885; Jewish population in 1933: five families.
Summary: Telgte was not only the largest Jewish community in the Muenster district during in the 19th century, but also home to the headquarters of the regional rabbinate (after 1848). The community’s older synagogue, a two-story building that was used from 1740 onwards, is still standing. Telgte’s new synagogue was built on 43 Koenigsstrasse in 1875; it housed a schoolroom and, on the second floor, an apartment for the teacher. The town was home to a Jewish school from 1877 to 1886, after which the school was shut down as a result of financial difficulties. On Pogrom Night, SA men smashed windows in Jewishowned businesses, homes and in the synagogue. Aided by local students, they destroyed the synagogue’s interior, threw out ritual objects and demolished the Star of David on the gable. Firefighters extinguished the fire, but it was reignited the following night, after which the building burned down completely. The (approximately) 150-year-old cemetery was desecrated, and the gravestones were thrown into the Ems after the site was leveled. Thirty-three Telgte Jews perished in the Shoah. A memorial was later unveiled at the Jewish cemetery and, in 1981, a bronze plaque commemorating the synagogue was unveiled in the town.
Author / Sources: Ruth Martina Trucks
Sources: LJG, SG-NRW