General information: First Jewish presence: 13th century; peak Jewish population: 182 in 1900; Jewish population in 1933: unknown (75 in 1932)
Summary: Several Jews settled in Goch after the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49. According to records, a Jewish community was established there in the 16th century. Local Jews conducted services in a prayer room (on a street called In de Roos) until 1724, when the community inaugurated a synagogue. In 1812, a new house of worship was inaugurated on Herzogenstrasse, next to the Jewish school; the synagogue was enlarged in 1862 and renovated in 1912. We also know that Goch’s old Jewish cemetery, which was located on Hinter der Mauer, was closed in 1800, after which, from the beginning of the 1820s until 1900, burials were conducted at the cemetery on Kalkastrasse. Community membership began to dwindle in the 1920s. On Pogrom Night, rioters destroyed the synagogue’s interior and burned down the building. Jewish-owned shops were damaged, Jewish men were taken into “protective custody,” and the cemetery was desecrated. Later, in 1940, local Jews were forced into designated “Jews’ houses” from which, in October 1941, they were deported to the Lodz and Riga ghettos and to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Forty-three Jews from Goch perished in the Shoah. In 1988, a memorial plaque was unveiled on Herzogenstrasse. A local school bears the name of Leni Valk (born 1933), who perished in the Sobibor extermination camp.
Photo: Interior of the synagogue of Goch. Courtesy of: City Archive of Goch.
Author / Sources: Beate Grosz-Wenker