General information: First Jewish presence: 1576; peak Jewish population: 105 in 1849; Jewish population in 1933: 32
Summary: The first available record of a Jewish presence in Lengerich is dated 1576. During the 16th and 17th centuries, most local Jews were Schutzjuden, that is to say, “protected Jews” who had received a letter of protection from the local authorities, limited to a quota. In the 18th century, but especially in the 19th, the Jewish population experienced considerable growth, peaking at 105 in 1849 (the largest Jewish community in the area). Services were conducted in private prayer halls until June 15, 1821, when Rabbi Abraham Sutro inaugurated a synagogue at 163 Parzelle. The community founded a Jewish school in 1829, and we also know that in 1856, the statutes for the Lengerich synagogue district (including Tecklenburg and Ladbergen) were officially recognized. The Nazis’ anti-Jewish boycott (announced in 1933) was enforced zealously in Lengerich. As a result of the ensuing violence and discrimination, many Jews left Lengerich during the 1930s. On Pogrom Night, Nazis demolished and, in some cases, burned down Jewish homes and businesses; the synagogue’s interior was destroyed, its ritual objects stolen. Several local Jews were arrested that night. It was in 1938, too, that local Nazis destroyed large sections of the cemetery. An unspecified number of Jews left Lengerich in 1939. The remaining Jews were eventually moved into a so-called “Jews’ house,” from which they were deported to the death camps of the East; five Jews, Lengerich’s last, were deported in December 1941. According to Yad Vashem, at least 35 local Jews were killed in the Shoah. Lengerich is no longer home to a Jewish community. Nothing remains of the synagogue, but a memorial plaque has been unveiled next to the former cemetery site.
Author / Sources: Benjamin Rosendahl
Sources: EJL, LJG, SG-NRW, YV