General information: First Jewish presence: 1750; peak Jewish population: 166 in 1885; Jewish population in 1933: 107
Summary: Prior to the establishment of a Jewish community, local Jews conducted services in Max Stiel’s home on Langwahn, where a Jewish elementary school was later located. According to records, prayer rooms were later set up on Wollenweberstrasse and on the corner of Neustrasse/Josefstrasse. The community established a cemetery and the elementary school in 1820 and 1858, respectively. Services were conducted in Weisweiler until September 18, 1891, when Rabbi Dr. Frank inaugurated a synagogue on Neustrasse (present-day 17 Moltkestrasse). After the inauguration of the synagogue, the prayer room at 43 Langwahn was taken over by the school, the latter of which was declared a public institution in 1905. Affiliated with Juelich after the establishment of the synagogue, the Eschweiler community attempted to gain independent status between 1912 and 1926. Ninety-two Jews lived in Eschweiler in 1936. On the night of November 9, 1938, SA men burned down the synagogue building and desecrated the rabbinical vestments. Jewish homes and stores were wrecked, and Jewish men were sent to the Oranienberg concentration camp. Forty Jews left Eschweiler after Pogrom Night. Between 1933 and 1941, approximately 70 Jews left Eschweiler, of whom half moved to other German towns, 13 immigrated to Palestine and 20 immigrated to other countries. In 1942, the remaining 20 Jews were deported in three groups: 15 on March 22, two on June 15, and three on July 3. At least 126 Eschweiler Jews perished in the Shoah. At the synagogue site, now the location of a doctor’s office, a memorial plaque commemorates the synagogue and the community.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: EJL, SG-NRW, SIA, YV