General information: First Jewish presence: 13th century; peak Jewish population: 171 in 1895; Jewish population in 1933: 74
Summary: By the beginning of the 19th century, the community had established a prayer hall (one room for men, the other for women) and an adjoining mikveh at 43 Judengasse (or “Jews’ alley”). Later, in the 1880s, a larger synagogue—with 60 seats for men, 46 for women—was built at 10 Judenstrasse (“Jews’ street”). We also know that a branch of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith and a Zionist group were established in Lechenich in 1893 and 1902, respectively. Lechenich’s wellrespected Jewish elementary school was destroyed during World War I; it was never rebuilt, for community membership declined steeply in the 1920s. Bismarck’s personal banker, an influential Jew named Gerson von Bleichroeder, purchased a castle in Lechenich for his retirement. On Pogrom Night, as firemen protected the neighboring buildings, local police aided the SA in demolishing and burning the synagogue’s interior. The synagogue was later leveled, after which the site accommodated an air raid shelter. At least 34 Lechenich Jews perished in the Shoah. In memory of the community, a memorial plaque was erected at the site of the former Jewish school.
Author / Sources: Ruth Martina Trucks
Sources: EJL, LJG, SG-NRW