General information: First Jewish presence: 11th century; peak Jewish population: 150 in 1862; Jewish population in 1933: 57
Summary: Records from the period of the Crusades mention a Jewish presence in Geldern. Although Duke Reinald von Geldern protected local Jews during the early 14th century, they were either expelled or murdered in 1339. It was not until 1800 that Jews, most of whom were cattle traders, returned to Geldern. Services were conducted in a prayer room on Gelderstrasse until 1875, when the Jewish community inaugurated a synagogue and mikveh on Nordenwall. Established in 1850, Geldern’s Jewish school was closed in 1914 due to low enrollment numbers. It was in the 1850s, too, that the community acquired burial grounds on Boeckelter Weg. On Pogrom Night, SA men set the synagogue on fire after smearing the benches with tar. The ruins were cleared in 1945. Of the 24 Jews who still lived in Geldern in 1939, 17 were deported to and perished in the extermination camps. In 1990, a bronze plaque commemorating the synagogue was erected on the corner of Weberstrasse and Nordwall.
Author / Sources: Beate Grosz-Wenker
Sources: EJL, LJG, SG-NRW