General information: First Jewish presence: 1298; peak Jewish population: 114 in 1849; Jewish population in 1933: 57
Summary: Coesfeld’s first Jewish community was destroyed during the Black Death pogroms of 1348/49. It was not until 1667, when eight Jewish families settled there, that a new community emerged in Coesfeld. In 1817, the community established a synagogue and a Jewish school; the school, which was housed inside the synagogue, was in use until the 20th century. We also know that in 1884, the Jews of Coesfeld built a large, ornate synagogue that served many of the surrounding Jewish communities. Although the synagogue was sold to a neighboring resident in early 1938 (when only 35 Jews still lived in Coesfeld), the new owner did not manage to prevent the SS from attacking his property on Pogrom Night; the SS did not, however, burn down the building. Jewish homes and stores were destroyed that night, and the town’s remaining Jews were severely beaten. Renovated in 1967, the synagogue now houses the Evangelical Church of Coesfeld. A memorial plaque has been affixed to the outer wall.
Author / Sources: Moshe Finkel
Sources: EJL, SIA, SG-NRW