General information: First Jewish presence: 1337; peak Jewish population: 227 in 1894; Jewish population in 1933: 117
Summary: The first Jewish community of Burgsteinfurt, numbering 109 members, disappeared after the Black Death persecutions of 1348/49. Jews did not return to Burgsteinfurt until 1662, when a new community was established there. Services were conducted in a makeshift synagogue (located in a private residence) until 1744, when the authorities finally permitted the Jewish community to build a synagogue. Completed in 1764, the building also housed an apartment for the teacher and a school, the latter of which taught children from many surrounding towns. In 1841, the school received official governmental recognition. Local Jews were proud of the fact that their town was home to two Jewish cemeteries and the largest matzo factory in Europe. On Pogrom Night, between 40 and 50 members of the Hitler Youth smashed the windows of the synagogue and ransacked the interior; the next day, the youths returned and proceeded to burn down the building, after which, two weeks later, the building was razed and the site cleared. At the site, which at the time of this writing was still vacant, a stone monument has been unveiled.
Author / Sources: Moshe Finkel
Sources: EJL, SG-NRW, SIA