Barntrup – Alverdissen

General information: First Jewish presence: 1599; peak Jewish population: 43 (Barntrup), 38 (Alverdissen); Jewish population in 1933: 8 (Barntrup), 6 (Alverdissen)
Summary: Jews were permitted to settle in Barntrup in 1595, but the first available record of a Jewish presence there is dated 1599; in Alverdissen, a Jewish presence was recorded in 1610. Expelled from the Lippe region in 1614, Jews did not return to Barntrup and Alverdissen until the 17th and 18th centuries, respectively. The two communities merged in the early 1860s. Although a synagogue existed in Barntrup in 1769, it was not in use by 1820, at which point local Jews prayed in Alverdissen and Bega. Later, in 1872, a synagogue was inaugurated in a private residence on Krumme Strasse; in Alverdissen, services were conducted in a rented prayer hall until the establishment of a synagogue in the mid-19th century. Cemeteries were consecrated in Alverdissen and Barntrup in 1747 and in the 19th century, respectively. We also know that the two communities intermittently hired a teacher, and that, beginning in the late 19th century, a teacher from Boesingfeld instructed the communities’ few school-age children. In 1902, Gustav Maybaum was elected as chairman of the Barntrup town council, but resistance among local people to a Jew holding this position forced him to resign. Renovated in 1909, the Barntrup synagogue was not used during the Weimar period, when the local Jewish population dwindled. Two families (eight Jews) lived in Barntrup in 1933; in Alverdissen, the Jewish population consisted of the six members of the Arensberg family. In 1937, Rudolf Katz of Barntrup was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment for drinking wine with an ethnic German woman. The Jewish community of Barntrup-Alverdissen was merged with Boesingfeld in 1938. On Pogrom Night, rioters destroyed the interior of the Barntrup synagogue and damaged its remaining two Jewish homes; the one Jewish man present in Barntrup was placed on a car and paraded through the town as a “rich Jew.” In Alverdissen, the one remaining Jewish home was destroyed. Both synagogues were sold to private buyers in 1939, after which the one in Alverdissen was demolished. In 1939, Barntrup’s remaining four Jews were moved into one house; sent to Bielefeld in July, 1942, they were then deported to Theresienstadt. The remaining Jews of Alverdissen were deported to the East. At least nine Barntrup Jews and five from Alverdissen perished in the Shoah. The Barntrup synagogue was used as a residence and inn until 1978, when it was demolished and replaced by a new building. A memorial was unveiled in Barntrup in 1988.
Author / Sources: Nurit Borut Sources: PK-NW, SGCJZL