General information: First Jewish presence: 1694; peak Jewish population: 50 in 1933
Summary: Although this Jewish community’s prayer room was built before 1750, it was not until 1814 that a synagogue was inaugurated in Nordhorn (on property no. 127). In 1864, the community established a cemetery on Bentheimer Strasse. Several Jewish properties, including the synagogue, burned down in a fire in 1871, but the community received money for the construction of a new house of worship. Records tell us that Nordhorn was home to a school for religious studies in or around the year 1850; later, a teacher from Bentheim instructed Jewish children in religion. Salomon de Vries served as chazzan from the 1880s until 1932. In 1933, the synagogue was damaged. Approximately 20% of the Jewish population left Nordhorn between 1933 and October 1938. On Pogrom Night, SS men from Bentheim and members of the Gestapo demolished the synagogue and plundered Jewish homes. Jewish residents were arrested, and although the women were quickly released, the men were imprisoned and sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Most of the remaining Jewish children, forbidden from attending German schools, were sent to relatives in the Netherlands. At least 28 of the 50 Jews living in Nordhorn in 1933 perished in the Shoah. One returned to the town and lived there until 1970; another returned in 1952 with his family. Memorial stones have been unveiled on today’s Alte Synagogenstrasse (“old synagogue street”) and in Langemarck Square; a monument listing the names of Nordhorn’s murdered Jews stands on Langemarck Square.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Located in: lower-saxony