General information: First Jewish presence: 1653; peak Jewish population: 58 in 1895; Jewish population in 1933: 50
Summary: The Jewish population of Guerzenich grew steadily during the first half of the 19th century, soon after which, in 1858, an official Jewish community was established in the town. Guerzenich’s first prayer room, established in a private residence—the owners had bequeathed the property to the Jewish community—was used until the early 20th century, by which point the structure had reached a dangerous state of dilapidation. Finally, in 1906, the community inaugurated a new synagogue. On Pogrom Night, when the local fire brigade forbade the incineration of the synagogue, Nazi hoodlums were forced to limit their violence to wrecking the building and desecrating its ritual objects. The building was torn down one month later. A small memorial plaque has been unveiled near the former synagogue site.
Author / Sources: Moshe Finkel
Sources: EJL, LJG, SG-NRW, SIA