General information: First Jewish presence: unknown; peak Jewish population: 61 in 1861; Jewish population in 1933: 26
Summary: In 1665, three Jewish families lived in Friesheim. The synagogue association of Lechenich-Friesheim- Gymnich was formed in 1849, but each town maintained its status as an independent Jewish community. Records tell us that 60 Jews lived in Friesheim in 1872, when the town’s total population was 1,245. In Friesheim, prayer rooms were established in the Cahn and Hirsch family homes. The 19th-century community attended Sabbath services in Weilerswist until 1863, when a synagogue was inaugurated at 35 Niederweg (formerly 41 Niederweg). We also know that a Jewish cemetery was consecrated in Friesheim in the 1850s. On Pogrom Night, the interior of the synagogue was destroyed, after which the building was torn down with the help of the volunteer fire brigade. Eighteen Jews still lived in Friesheim in 1939. Later, in July 1942, the town’s remaining Jews were deported to the East. At least 89 Friesheim Jews perished in the Shoah. At the synagogue site, now a yard, one can discern the outline of the former synagogue’s foundation. As of this writing, a memorial has not been erected there.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: EJL, SG-NRW, SIA