General information: First Jewish presence: 1750; peak Jewish population: 127 in 1910; Jewish population in 1933: 55
Summary: Jews first settled in Langenfeld in the early 18th century. Today’s town center was then called Ganspohl, where there was a Jewish farming community that maintained a small prayer house. According to records, local Jews consecrated a cemetery in 1793. It was not until the mid-19th century that the surrounding villages merged, creating the new town of Langenfeld. The Hauptstrasse in Ganspohl was chosen as the location for a new house of worship. The synagogue (it also housed a janitor’s apartment) opened for services on December 17, 1869; the inauguration festivities continued for two days. On the night of November 9, 1938 (Pogrom Night) SA men smashed the synagogue’s windows, broke into the building (and the janitor’s apartment), demolished the interior and, finally, set the building on fire. The building burned down, and the plot of land was sold in 1939 to encourage the remaining Jews to leave. A gas station was later erected on the site, but the land was returned to the Jewish Trust Corporation in 1953. The site was later sold to a Shoah survivor who erected a commercial building there. A memorial plaque can be found in the city museum.
Author / Sources: Ruth Martina Trucks
Sources: EJL, LJG, SG-NRW