General information: First Jewish presence: 1500; peak Jewish population: 240 in 1895; Jewish population in 1933: 156
Summary: The Jewish community of Detmold, which by the early 18th century was the center of Jewish life in the Lippe district, established the following communal institutions: a cemetery in or around 1652 (enlarged in 1726); a rented prayer hall in 1712; a synagogue on present-day 8a Exterstrasse in 1742; a school for children from poor families (first mentioned in 1799); an elementary school in 1808; a new cemetery in the Spitzenkamptwete in 1883; and, finally, a new synagogue—154 seats for men, 88 for women—in 1907 (on 3, Lortzingerstrasse). As the rabbi for Lippe and Paderborn resided in Warburg, an assistant rabbi was appointed in Detmold in 1702; rabbis for the Lippe region served in Detmold for a short period after 1776 and between 1861 and 1874. The elementary school closed in 1913, after which the community employed a teacher of religion who also served as chazzan and shochet. In 1933, ten schoolchildren received religious instruction. Several Jewish associations and branches of nation-wide organizations were active in the community. In Detmold, the anti-Jewish boycott, the dismissal of Jewish teachers and other discriminatory practices were implemented early on. Jews were beaten and humiliated, and the cemetery was desecrated in 1935. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue was burned to the ground, Jewish homes and businesses were wrecked and plundered and the community shamash was assaulted; Jewish men and women were arrested, and 12 or 13 men were sent to Buchenwald, where one died. By 1939, the remaining 66 Jews had been moved to six designated houses. One of these homes accommodated a prayer hall, an old-age home and a school, the last of which was reopened that year and served 14 pupils. Jews were deported from Detmold beginning in December 1941. At least 152 Detmold Jews perished in the Shoah. Detmold’s new Jewish community, founded in 1946, merged with Herford in 1970. Memorials were erected on the street on which the synagogue once stood, and near the old synagogue in 1963 and 1988, respectively. Destroyed in 1950, the old cemetery site now accommodates a parking lot.
Photo: The synagogue of Detmold at the beginning of the 20th century. Courtesy of: Yad Vashem Photo Archive, 214AO5.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut
Sources: GJDS, LAV, PK-NW