General information: First Jewish presence: 1660 (two Jews); peak Jewish population: unknown; Jewish population in 1933: 32 (in June)
Summary: Additional Jewish population figures for Erwitte include the following: 64 in 1817 and 108 in 1864. The synagogue on 50 Helleg (formerly Kletterstrasse) was inaugurated in, at the latest, 1801. Nineteenth-century Erwitte Jews also maintained an old cemetery on Gografenstrasse (approximately 160 feet from the local castle). In 1958, after this cemetery was converted into a lawn, graves were transferred to the newer Jewish cemetery, which had been consecrated inside the general burial grounds at 1 Bundesstrasse in 1881; used until the beginning of the 20th century, the Bundesstrasse cemetery has 77 gravestones. In 1875, a local Jew was killed during anti-Jewish rioting. By June, 1933, only 32 Jews lived in Erwitte. Later, on Pogrom Night (November 9-10, 1938), the nearly defunct synagogue was ravaged, nine or 10 of its Torah scrolls ripped into shreds. The remaining Jewish homes and Jewish-owned businesses were damaged severely that night. In all, five Erwitte Jews emigrated; two of them went to the Netherlands. Seven resettled elsewhere in Germany, four died in Erwitte and 16 were deported to the East in July 1942, where they all perished. At least 20 Jewish residents of Erwitte died in the Shoah. The synagogue site—the building was torn down in 1982—accommodates a garden. As of this writing, a memorial has never been erected in Erwitte.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AH, EJL, HU, SG-NRW, SIA