General information: First Jewish presence: 1703; peak Jewish population: 68 in 1871; Jewish population in 1933: 43
Summary: The first available record of this community’s synagogue is dated 1820. We also know that on August 7, 1858, a new synagogue was inaugurated on 60-62 Koeln-Aachener- Strasse (formerly 133-135 Hauptstrasse). On Pogrom Night (November 9-10, 1938), the interior of the synagogue was ravaged, soon after which, on November 18, the heavily damaged building was sold. In 1944, the former synagogue was further damaged during a bombing raid. Between 1934 and 1939, 22 local Jews, including Jews from Berendorf, immigrated to the United States. The remaining Jews were moved into a house in Berendorf, from which, in October and December of 1941, several were deported to Lodz and Riga. In July 1942, the rest were deported to Theresienstadt. According to Yad Vashem, 40 Elsdorf Jews, some of whom had moved to other towns and cities in Germany, perished in the Shoah. The synagogue’s ruins were removed in 1954. At the site, now a parking lot, a memorial plaque commemorates the house of worship.
Photo: For the holiday of Shavuot, the synagogue of Elsdorf was decorated with plants. Courtesy of: US Holocaust Memorial Museum, 40154.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: EJL, SG-NRW, SIA