General information: First Jewish presence: 1840: peak Jewish population: 225 in early 1932; Jewish population in 1933: 160
Summary: Jewish life in Bottrop lasted for less than a century. In 1920, the community erected a makeshift synagogue in a warehouse above a large building. As a result of an influx of Ostjuden (Jews from Eastern Europe), the Jewish population began to increase, necessitating the construction of a larger synagogue. The congregation considered enlarging the synagogue by using the vacant room next door, but a rift in the community halted proceedings: the original members wanted the synagogue to be reformed, whereas the newer immigrants wanted it to remain Orthodox. Unable to reach an agreement, the two groups split, after which the Orthodox congregants inaugurated their own synagogue and Talmud Torah. By early 1933, anti-Semitism was rampant in Bottrop. The SA organized boycotts of Jewish businesses and forced many to close down, prompting Jews to leave the town; many immigrated to Palestine, Belgium and the Netherlands. On Pogrom Night, both synagogues and the cemetery were destroyed. By the end of 1941, not a single Jew still lived in Bottrop. One of the synagogue sites now accommodates a furniture warehouse. A memorial plaque has been unveiled at the former cemetery site. In 1980, boxes containing approximately 150 Jewish books from the synagogue were put up for sale at an estate auction. They were not sold and, instead, were transferred to the Westfalle Jewish Museum in Dorsten, where they are now on display.
Author / Sources: Moshe Finkel
Sources: LJG, SG-NRW, SIA