General information: First Jewish presence: 1343; peak Jewish population: 104 in 1924; Jewish population in 1933: 100
Summary: Jews lived in Beckum without interruption for over 250 years (1670-1938). The community built its first synagogue in 1743, but decided, in 1865 (when the Jewish population topped one hundred) to construct a new and larger synagogue with a social hall and school. In July 1867, the community celebrated the completion of the construction with a splendid, two-day inauguration. This synagogue was in use until October 1938. On Pogrom Night, SA and SS men stormed the synagogue building. As they had been ordered not to burn it down, they proceeded to demolish the interior with extra vengeance. Everything was destroyed by hand; smashed methodically and hurled onto the street. SA and SS men returned the following morning and forced an elderly Jew to smash the Hebrew words engraved above the entrance. Until it was torn down in 1967, the building was used as an office space by various governmental agencies. A new building was later constructed on the site, and in 1988 a commemorative plaque was unveiled there.
Photo: Expropriated synagogue of Beckum, after Pogrom Night, with the swastika flag. Courtesy of: City Archive of Beckum.
Author / Sources: Moshe Finkel; Sources: LJG, SG-NRW, SIA