General information: First Jewish presence: 1366; peak Jewish population: 301 in 1927 (or 388 in 1895); Jewish population in 1933: 208 or 221
Summary: Few Jews lived in Dinslaken before the 18th century. In the early 19th century, local Jews established a prayer room in a private residence, soon after which the community purchased a site on the corner of Klosterstrasse and Kaiserstrasse and converted it into a synagogue; inaugurated in 1812, the synagogue also housed a Jewish elementary school (established in 1824) and an apartment for the teacher. The records tell us that a mikveh was installed in the building in 1893 (the same year during which the gallery was enlarged), and that changes were made to the exterior in 1910. Dinslaken’s Jewish cemetery on auf den Doelen (presentday Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse) was consecrated in 1722. In 1912, in response to the fact that construction on the street was growing increasingly invasive, the cemetery was moved to Wasserturmstrasse. In 1885, the community purchased a residential building on Neustrasse and set up an orphanage there. The orphanage, which served as a social center, accommodated a small synagogue and, beginning in 1931, a kindergarten. Various charity groups were active in Dinslaken, including one that attended to the needs of the sick. Jews and Jewish-owned stores were attacked in 1920. In 1936, the synagogue was vandalized and looted by local high school students. Many Dinslaken Jews left for larger cities during the mid- 1930s. On Pogrom Night, SA men, assisted by local students and their teachers, destroyed the interior of the orphanage and set the synagogue and several neighboring Jewish homes on fire. Jewish men were arrested and severely beaten, after which they were sent to Dachau; children and staff members from the orphanage were sent to Cologne—from where they eventually immigrated to the Netherlands—but not before being dragged through the streets and humiliated. Seventy Dinslaken Jews perished in the extermination camps. Memorials were erected at the former synagogue site and at the orphanage in 1980.
Photo: The synagogue of Dinslaken. Courtesy of: City Archive of Dinslaken.
Author / Sources: Ruth Martina Trucks
Sources: EJL, FJG, LJG, SG-NRW