General information: First Jewish presence: 14th century; peak Jewish population: 450 in 1930; Jewish population in 1933: unknown
Summary: Jews resettled in Recklinghausen in 1816 and conducted their religious services in a private building, with schoolrooms attached to it, until 1880. In 1904, however, the community consecrated a new synagogue with room for 120 men in the main sanctuary and 120 women in the gallery. This new house of worship also housed a small synagogue for weekday services, as well as schoolrooms and a mikveh. A cemetery was acquired in 1820, but a new one was consecrated in 1905. Recklinghausen’s active and multilayered Jewish community was home to many immigrants from Eastern Europe whose orthodox ways did not sit well with the more established Jewish families. Many Jews emigrated from the town after the 1933 boycotts. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue was vandalized and set on fire; rioters used tractors to pull down its imposing tower. We also know that Jewish homes were heavily damaged that night. In 1939, Recklinghausen’s remaining Jews were forcibly moved into a few “Jewish Houses” from which they were deported in 1942. A small number of former residents returned to Recklinghausen after the war. The former synagogue site now accommodates a government office; a bronze memorial depicting a stylized menorah and synagogue building commemorates the destroyed house of worship.
Photo: The synagogue of Recklinghausen in the 1920s. Courtesy of: City Archive of Recklinghausen.
Photo 2: The burned synagogue of Recklinghausen after Pogrom Night in 1938. Courtesy of: City Archive of Recklinghausen.
Author / Sources: Harold Slutzkin
Sources: LJG, SIA