General information: First Jewish presence: late 17th century; peak Jewish population: 65 in 1860; Jewish population in 1933: 31
Summary: Although Jews settled in Versmold in the late 17th century, it was not until the early 19th century that a functioning Jewish community was founded there. Local Jews shared their cemetery with the Bergholzhausen community. We also know that Versmold’s Jews rented a room for religious gatherings at some point during the 1830s, around which time the authorities approved the community’s request to build a synagogue. The implementation of these plans, however, proved to be complicated: when construction was halted, rumors were spread that Christian blood was required for its completion. Although the use of the building as a synagogue was later prohibited, it was nevertheless used secretly for prayer services after its consecration in 1900 (it seated 30 congregants). In Versmold, Jewish children received religious instruction from traveling tutors. In 1936, students broke into the synagogue and vandalized its interior. By 1938, all but one Jewish family had fled Versmold. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue was burned—a residential building was later erected on its site—and the town’s three remaining Jews were deported to Theresienstadt. They never returned. A memorial to Versmold’s former Jewish community was later unveiled in front of the city hall.
Author / Sources: Ruth Martina Trucks