Bad Driburg

General information: First Jewish presence: 17th century; peak Jewish population: 71 in 1888; Jewish population in 1932: 38
Summary: Although Jews established a presence in Driburg in the 17th century, the town authorities were, from the outset, determined to limit the growth of any official Jewish community. It was only at the start of the 19th century, in fact, that the community experienced moderate growth, with approximately 50 members, making up 2% of the town’s total population. The Jewish community of Bad Driburg was officially founded in the mid-19th century. Local Jews conducted services in a private residence and at the synagogue of a neighboring community until 1828, when a synagogue was inaugurated in Driburg. This house of worship was destroyed in a neighborhood fire in 1876, soon after which, in 1878, the community established a new synagogue with a seating capacity of 100 (40 in the women’s section). In Driburg, a cemetery was consecrated in 1820; the oldest tombstone is dated 1823, and the last burial took place there in 1940. According to records, Driburg was home to a Jewish elementary school between 1852 and 1855, and again between 1906 and 1914. On Pogrom Night, rioters demolished the synagogue and set its contents on fire; Jewish homes and stores were vandalized, and a number of men were sent to Buchenwald. Eleven Jews (out of a total of 42) managed to emigrate before 1940; most of those who stayed behind were deported to Eastern Europe, and we also know that 26 perished in the Shoah. Today, a memorial plaque commemorates the former synagogue. In 1949, a memorial was unveiled at the Jewish cemetery. Constructed, in part, of fragments from destroyed tombstones, the memorial lists the names of local Jews who were murdered by the Nazis.
Photo: A bride and her groom in front of the synagogue of Bad Driburg in 1919. Courtesy of: City Archive of Bad Driburg.
Author / Sources: Moshe Aumann; Sources: EJL, LJG, SG-NRW