General information: First Jewish presence: 1241; peak Jewish population: 358 in 1933; Jewish population in 1933: 358
Summary: The Jewish community of Dueren was decimated during the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49, but a Jewish presence was re-established there in 1370. In the mid-1880s, after two centuries during which large numbers of Jews settled in the area, more than 600 Jews lived in the Dueren region, approximately 10% of whom lived in the city of Dueren. Although the Jews of Dueren were not recognized as an official Jewish community, they maintained a prayer room and a school. In 1847, the authorities permitted the community to build a synagogue which would also serve the surrounding towns; and in 1869, construction commenced on the large house of worship (inaugurated in 1872). On Pogrom Night, SA troops tried to set the synagogue building on fire; they failed, and instead busied themselves by breaking windows, tearing the Torah scrolls and holy books and breaking furniture. Unappeased, the men returned the following morning, doused the building with kerosene and set it on fire, after which they did the same to the community center, the school building and the sexton�s house. According to records, the blaze was so intense that several neighboring homes caught fire, the inhabitants just managing to escape unharmed. The Dueren municipality billed the Jewish community for the cost of demolishing the synagogue ruins. At the former synagogue site, now a parking lot, a memorial stone with an engraving of the synagogue commemorates the destruction.
Photo: The synagogue of Dueren. Courtesy of: City Archive of Dueren.
Author / Sources: Moshe Finkel
Sources: LJG, SG-NRW, SIA