General information: First Jewish presence: mid-17th century; peak Jewish population: unknown; Jewish population in 1933: 50 or 112 (sources of information differ)
Summary: Although records do not tell us when this community reached its peak membership number, we do know that the Jewish population figures for 1801 and 1925 were 37 and 87, respectively. Records from 1801 mention a school, but it was not until 1825 that the Huesten community hired a teacher. Local Jews conducted services in a private residence during the mid-19th century. A synagogue—women sat in a designated gallery— was inaugurated on Marktstrasse in 1905. According to records, the Jewish cemetery, which had been consecrated in Alt Huesten (on the corner of Mittelstrasse and Josefstrasse) before 1857, was desecrated in 1924. On Pogrom Night, SA troops destroyed the synagogue and vandalized Jewish homes and stores. One month later, in December 1938, the remaining Jewish-owned shops were shut down. Between 1939 and 1941, a local branch of the German Red Cross used the synagogue building as its headquarters. Local Jews were taken to a quarantine camp in March 1941, and were deported in May 1942. At least 85 Neheim-Huesten Jews perished in the Shoah. (Yad Vashem’s record of the death toll for Neheim-Huesten includes Jews from Neheim, Huesten and Neheim-Huesten, making it difficult to determine how many of the deceased were actually from Neheim-Huesten.) Today, the former synagogue building serves as either as an apartment building or a department store. As of this writing, a memorial plaque has never been unveiled in the town.
Author / Sources: Heidemarie Wawrzyn
Sources: EJL, FJG, HU, SG1933, SG-NRW, SIA, YV