General information: First Jewish presence: Middle Ages; peak Jewish population: 96 in 1910; Jewish population in 1933: 62
Summary: Kalkar’s 17th-century Jews were predominantly traders of cattle and textiles. Religious services were conducted in a residence on Kesselstrasse until 1826, when the community converted a church on Hanselaerstrasse into a synagogue with seats for 30 men and a women’s gallery. Although a Jewish elementary school was established in Kalkar in 1860, children continued to receive private tutoring in religion. Towards the end of the 19th century, a new school building—it also accommodated a mikveh—was opened in a building adjacent to the synagogue; the school closed in the 1920s, by which point very few children were enrolled there. In Kalkar, the Nazis’ persecution of and discrimination against the Jewish community were intense. On Pogrom Night, November 1938, the synagogue and Kalkar’s few remaining Jewish homes were vandalized, after which the authorities not only forced the community to sell the synagogue, but also deducted the subsequent demolition costs from the paltry sales price. Most of Kalkar’s remaining Jews were deported in 1941/2. A few survivors returned to Germany after the war, but the only remnant of the former community is the cemetery. On the 50th anniversary of Pogrom Night, a memorial was erected in the town center.
Author / Sources: Harold Slutzkin
Sources: LJG, SG-NRW