General information: First Jewish presence: 1814; peak Jewish population: 56 in 1900; Jewish population in 1933: 33
Summary: Two Jewish families settled in Datteln in 1814. Records indicate that the town's first Jewish institution was a cemetery, laid in 1817. By the year 1831, the Jewish families had established a prayer room in a residential building called Hecht am Alten Markt. In 1848, Datteln�s Jews�now three families�became part of the district synagogue association of Recklinghausen along with the Jews living in Ahsen, Herten, Horneburg, Waltrop and, of course, Recklinghausen. In 1860, the small Datteln community consisted of three to five families; they held prayer services in a house belonging to the Ellermans, on Tuerkenstrasse. The prayer room was moved twice more: to the Huelsdas family home on Hohen Strasse, and to a house owned by the Sauer family, also on Hohenstrasse. In 1912, Datteln’s Jews purchased a plot of land on the corner of Marktstrasse and Tuerkenstrasse (today 1 Tuerkenort); a small synagogue was built there in 1929. The one-story building contained two rooms; the prayer room seated approximately 40 persons. Rabbi Dr. Steinthal led the synagogue’s inauguration ceremony on December 16, 1929. The last burial in Datteln’s Jewish cemetery took place in 1933, the year of Hitler’s rise to power, when 33 Jews still lived in the town. Twenty-one Jewish residents remained in 1937. On October 23, 1938, the Datteln Jews held the last prayer service in their synagogue; the building was sold in November. There are conflicting reports as to whether the synagogue was the target of Pogrom Night violence. Attacks reportedly took place there on the night of November 10- 11 when, presumably, an attempt was made to burn down the building. We do know, however, that the cemetery was desecrated; it was further damaged by fighting during World War II. According to Yad Vashem, at least 15 Jews who were born in Datteln or lived there for some time perished in the Shoah. The former synagogue was turned into a residence in 1948. Before it was demolished in 1984, the building had also functioned as a store house and a garage. As of this writing, no memorial plaque has been erected on the site. Eight gravestones, with Hebrew and German inscriptions, survive in the Jewish cemetery on Dueppelstrasse.
Author / Sources: Bronagh Bowerman
Sources: HU, SG-NRW, SIA, YV