General information: First Jewish presence: 13th century; peak Jewish population: 113 in 1885; Jewish population in 1933: 91
Summary: Jews settled in Zuelpich in the 13th century, soon after which they opened a synagogue. It was not until the 17th century, however, that a continuous Jewish presence was established there. Many local Jews were moneylenders, and we also know that several wealthy families earned a living as cattle traders. In 1848, the Jewish community inaugurated a new synagogue, with 70 seats for men and 40 for women, on Normannengasse. Other communal institutions included a Jewish school (established in 1866 and closed at some point during the Nazi period), a women’s association and a youth club. Zuelpich’s mayor tried to buy the synagogue time before Pogrom Night began, but to no avail. After setting the building on fire, SA men smashed and burned (this was done on the street) its ritual objects and furniture; Jewish residences were also plundered. The remaining Jews were forcibly moved into a “Jews’ house,” in July 1942, soon after which they were deported. Consecrated in the 16th century, the town’s Jewish cemetery was moved to Cologne-Ehrenfeld in the 1950s, when it was decided to mine the site for coal. A memorial plaque has been unveiled at the former synagogue site.
Photo: The synagogue of Zuelpich on Normannenstrasse. Courtesy of: City Archive Zuelpich/ Collection Hans-Dieter Arntz.
Author / Sources: Svetlana Frank
Sources: FJG, LJG, SG-NRW