General information: First Jewish presence: 1559; peak Jewish population: 295 in 1909; Jewish population in 1933: 160
Summary: The earliest record of a Jewish presence in Warburg, dated 1559, mentions two Jews who had received a writ of protection from the authorities. Warburg developed into a center of Jewish life after the mid-16th century, and the county rabbinate of Paderborn was based there from 1686 until 1814. In 1855, the Jewish community of Warburg, along with those of several surrounding towns, became an independent synagogue association. According to records, Jews made up 10% of Warburg’s total population in 1802. Local Jews conducted services in several prayer halls after 1648/49. Established at An der Burg (in the old city) in 1693, the community’s synagogue also housed a Jewish school until 1909, when the latter was moved to a separate building. Beginning in the 1680s, the community maintained a cemetery at Mollhauser Graben; a new cemetery, however, was consecrated on Am Sacktor in the 19th century. In 1933, the Nazi Propaganda Ministry shut down the Warburg’s Jewish school and implemented the anti- Jewish boycott. Many local Jews left as a result of the deteriorating economic situation; violence against Jews became common during the 1930s. Although the synagogue was not set on fire on Pogrom Night, rioters made sure to damage its interior; Jewish men were sent to Dachau and to Buchenwald that night. The Warburg authorities appropriated the synagogue after the pogrom. By 1939, approximately 91 Jews still lived in Warburg. Deportations to the Riga ghetto and to the camps of Eastern Europe began in 1941. One hundred and fortyeight local Jews were deported, of whom 136 were murdered. A memorial plaque was later affixed to one of the cemetery’s walls. Although the synagogue building survived the war, it bears not a trace of its former use. Warburg is no longer home to a Jewish community.
Author / Sources: Benjamin Rosendahl
Sources: EJL, LJG, SG-NRW