General information: First Jewish presence: 17th century; peak Jewish population: 63 in 1857; Jewish population in 1933: 40
Summary: By 1750, most Gangelt Jews had established themselves as cattle traders and sellers of agricultural products. Beginning in 1810 or 1820, local Jews conducted prayer services in a small brick synagogue on Heinsberger Strasse. In 1824, the synagogue was desecrated—the vandals stole the Torah scrolls—after which the building was renovated and reconsecrated. The Jewish community of Gangelt was affiliated with the district communities of Geilenkirchen, Heinsberg and Erkelenz in 1847. Burials were conducted in Heinsberg’s old cemetery until 1877, when a Jewish cemetery was consecrated at Am Wirtsberg in Gangelt; the new cemetery, located at some distance from the town, was in use until 1937. On Pogrom Night, members of the Nazi Party destroyed the interior of the synagogue. The building was sold to a private buyer in 1940. At least nine members of the Gangelt Jewish community perished in the Shoah. The former synagogue site was placed under a preservation order in 1993. At the cemetery, 31 extant tombstones were vandalized in 2010.
Author / Sources: Beate Grosz-Wenker
Sources: EJL, LJG, SG-NRW