General information: First Jewish presence: 1808; peak Jewish population: 86 in 1900; Jewish population in 1933: unknown
Summary: The Jews of Velbert never established their own independent congregation, for their small community was a satellite of Elbersfeld. Unlike the other satellite communities, however, Velbert’s grew steadily in numbers. Services were conducted in a series of prayer rooms, the last of which was located in the home of Fritz Aaron, on Bahnhofstrasse. Records suggest that the town’s Jewish cemetery was already in use in 1840, and we know for certain that it was desecrated in 1894, around which time Jews attending a funeral there were assaulted. Velbert was home to a Jewish school from 1845 until approximately 1865. Even though the congregation made plans for the construction of a synagogue and acquired land on which to build it, the house of worship was never built. On Pogrom Night, the Bahnhofstrasse prayer room, which by this point was used only during the High Holidays, was broken into and vandalized: Torah scrolls, chairs and silverware were desecrated and smashed. Eighteen Velbert Jews were murdered in the camps. The cemetery was sold in 1950, after which 50 gravestones were used in the construction of a barracks used to house POWs.
Author / Sources: Ruth Martina Trucks
Sources: EJL, LJG, SG-NRW, SIA