General information: First Jewish presence: 1565; peak Jewish population: 145 in 1808; Jewish population in 1933: 62
Summary: The Jewish population of Guetersloh did not experience considerable growth until 1671. Community records tell us that, in 1721, local Jews established a prayer room in a private house and consecrated a cemetery. This arrangement sufficed until 1765, when the Jewish community was granted permission to build a proper synagogue. For this purpose, a modest building, which also housed a school, was established in Guetersloh; the school, however, was not opened until 1799. Later, when additional space became necessary, a separate school building was built alongside the synagogue. On Pogrom Night, SS men set the synagogue on fire. The caretaker and her son, who were in the building when the SS arrived, barely escaped death. In 1940, the Jewish community was forced to pay for the demolition of the building. Today, a new building stands on the site. A small memorial plaque has been unveiled nearby.
Photo: The synagogue of Guethersloh before Pogrom Night. Courtesy of: City Archive of Guethersloh.
Author / Sources: Moshe Finkel
Sources: EJL, LJG, SG-NRW, SIA