General information: First Jewish presence: 14th century; peak Jewish population: 204 in 1895 (15.8% of the total population); Jewish population in 1933: 141
Summary: The Jewish community of Borken established a Jewish elementary school in 1823; classes were held in rented facilities at 84 Bahnhofstrasse and 1 Hintergasse. In 1825, local Jews remodeled a shed, located on the corner of Hintergasse and Dorfweg, into a synagogue with room for 66 men and 34 women. The school was officially recognized in 1869, and in 1896 a new school building was opened at 12 Pferdetraenke. The community also maintained a mikveh and, since the mid- 16th century, a regional Jewish cemetery in Haarhausen. In June 1933, local Jews and left-wing activists were detained in the town hall, after which they were imprisoned. The Jewish school was closed down in April 1934. On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s interior was destroyed; later, in February 1939, the community was forced to sell the synagogue and the schoolhouse to the town. Seventy-one local Jews emigrated (32 to the United States), 61 relocated within Germany and nine passed away. Borken’s last three Jews were deported to Theresienstadt, via Kassel, in August or September of 1942. At least 70 Borken Jews and one from Grossenenglis perished in the Shoah. (Grossenenglis and Freudenthal were affiliated communities.) The former synagogue, used for storage during the war and sold in 1949, was demolished in 1954. In 1988, a memorial was unveiled at the site.
Author / Sources: Esther Sarah Evans
Sources: AJ. EJL, PK-HNF
Located in: hesse