General information: First Jewish presence: 1640; peak Jewish population: 151 in 1819; Jewish population in 1933: 121
Summary: In Laasphe, Jewish congregational regulations were issued in 1721. By 1750, the community had built a synagogue—the second floor accommodated an apartment for the teacher—at 44 Mauerstrasse. It was in 1750, too, that a Jewish cemetery was consecrated in Laasphe. In 1869, the same year in which a mikveh was installed in the synagogue, the community enlarged the main sanctuary. Other renovations and additions were carried out during the ensuing decades, and we also know that, by 1931, the synagogue’s gallery encompassed three sides of the interior. From in 1857 onwards, local Jewish children studied religion with sporadically employed tutors. Laasphe’s Jewish elementary school was founded in 1869. In 1892, Adolf Stoecker’s anti-Jewish party won 43 percent of the local vote. Jewish children were excluded from public schools in 1934, several years before this became common practice in Germany. In 1935, a Zionist group was founded in Laasphe. On Pogrom Night, SS men forced their way into the synagogue and, together with local residents, demolished and plundered its interior; outside the building, Torah scrolls and books were burned. The building, however, was not set on fire, for the rioters feared potential damage to neighboring structures. Sixty-two Laasphe Jews were deported; only two survived the Shoah. The synagogue building was later converted into a locksmith’s workshop. A memorial plaque has been erected in the town.
Author / Sources: Ruth Martina Trucks
Sources: EJL, LJG, SG-NRW