General information: First Jewish presence: 1721; peak Jewish population: 56 in 1868; Jewish population in 1933: 44
Summary: The earliest available record of a Jewish presence in Kaldenkirchen is dated 1721. We also know that a “protected Jew” lived there in 1768. Twenty-five Jews resided in Kaldenkirchen during the first half of the 19th century. The community, which was affiliated with the congregation in Kempen, consecrated a synagogue on Synagogenstrasse (“synagogue street”) in 1873; the synagogue was renovated in 1923, the same year in which its 50th anniversary was celebrated. Kaldenkirchen’s Jewish school was established in 1843. On Pogrom Night, SA men torched and destroyed the synagogue building. By 1939, only 23 Jews lived in Kaldenkirchen. Six local Jews were deported to the Riga ghetto in 1941; and in July 1942, two were sent to Theresienstadt. All but one perished. The synagogue ruins were demolished in 1960. A memorial plaque was unveiled at the site in 1986.
Author / Sources: Dorothea Shefer-Vanson
Sources: AH, EJL, SG-NRW, SIA, YV