General information: First Jewish presence: 1642; peak Jewish population: 217 in 1808; Jewish population in 1933: 92
Summary: The Jewish population of Heinsberg reached its peak in 1808, when 213 Jews lived in the town. The community’s small synagogue, built in 1717, adequately served the needs of the community until 1808, by which point the house of worship could no longer accommodate the growing congregation. The new synagogue was completed in 1818. Situated in the rear courtyard of a large factory, the building was connected to the street by a narrow path. It was around this time, however, that the Jewish population of Heinsberg began to dwindle. Beginning in 1933, as was the case in other German cities and towns, local Jews experienced increasing anti-Semitic violence, violence that culminated on Pogrom Night, November 1938, when local Nazis broke into the synagogue, smashed its windows, destroyed the interior and threw furniture and ritual objects onto the street. Approximately 200 spectators gathered outside the synagogue and set fire to the Torah scrolls. The building was destroyed in a bombing raid in 1944. Apartments were later built on the site, next to which a memorial plaque has been unveiled.
Author / Sources: Moshe Finkel
Sources: LJG, SG-NRW, SIA