General information: First Jewish presence: 17th century; peak Jewish population: 137 in 1855; Jewish population in 1933: 65
Summary: Even though only one Jew lived in Vlotho in the early 17th century, a cemetery was established there in, at the latest, 1690. An actual congregation was founded in Vlotho in the 18th century; it maintained a private prayer room. The Vlotho Jewish community established a private school in 1815 and a new cemetery in the mid-19th century; 30 years later, the private school became an elementary school (but closed in 1913). In 1851, a synagogue was built at 66 Langenstrasse, on the same plot of land that accommodated the school. Wealthy and assimilated, the Jews of Vlotho maintained a sisterhood and a welfare organization. On the night of November 10, 1938, rioters wrecked the synagogue’s interior, ripped off the building’s roof tiles and tore down the women’s gallery. Jewish homes were vandalized too. Vlotho’s remaining Jews, not few in number, were moved into so-called “Jews’ houses” and, later, deported. The synagogue’s ruins were used as stables until 1950, when they were demolished. Memorial stones have been unveiled at the cemetery and at the former synagogue site.
Author / Sources: Ruth Martina Trucks
Sources: EJL, LJG, FJG, SG-NRW