The Jewish community of Apeldoorn is one of the Netherlands' youngest. A small group of Jews of German origin arrived in Apeldoorn only as late as the 1770s and were included as part of the Jewish community of Deventer.
Beginning in 1855, the Jews of Apeldoorn held religious services in a private house on the Loolaan. Following the arrival of a greater number of Jewish families later in the nineteenth century, a synagogue with adjoining classrooms and ritual bath was built on the Paschlaan. A Jewish religious school was founded in 1890. With the establishment not long after of its own cemetery on the Arnhemseweg, the Apeldoorn community came into its own and achieved independence from the Deventer community.
Early in the twentieth century, two facilities were opened in Apeldoorn to serve the mental healthcare needs of Dutch Jewry. The first of these institutions, the Apeldoornse Bosch or Central Israelite Institute for the Mentally Ill, was established in 1909. This institution housed a synagogue of its own. In 1925, the Paedagogium Achisomog for mentally retarded Jewish children was opened. The establishment of the two facilities contributed to steady growth of the Apeldoorn community, this in contrast to most Jewish communities in the Mediene, which tended to decline in size during the late nineteenth century. The Apeldoorn community was also relatively prosperous and had no poor members to support.
The growing Jewish population of Apeldoorn maintained a flourishing communal life. Voluntary institutions included a society for providing clothing for the patients of both newly founded mental health institutions. Another society was dedicated to brightening the lives of institutionalized children. The community also maintained separate burial societies from men and women. Cultural needs were serve by a theater club, literary society, choral club, and an recreational society. Many Apeldoorn Jews were also active members of the Netherlands Zionisten Bond and Zionist Youth Federation.
In October of 1941, the 1,549 Jews of Apeldoorn were forced to register with the authorities. Their numbers the patients and staff of both institutions as well as large number of refugees from Germany. In the very same month, far earlier than in most of the rest of the Netherlands, the first arrests and deportations of Apeldoorn Jews began. Early in January 1942, most of the remaining Jews in Apeldoorn were arrested and incarcerated in the Apeldoornsche Bosch. On January 23, 1942, the last staff and patients of the two mental institutions - children as well as adults - were deported. Almost all were murdered in Auschwitz and Sobibor.
After the war, only 150 Jews returned to Apeldoorn, some from the camps and some from hiding. The synagogue on the Paschlaan had been set afire in 1941 and was heavily damaged. In the years after the war, synagogue services and Jewish lessons for children were held in private homes. In September 1947 a residence was opened on the grounds of the former Apeldoornsche Bosch for 440 Jewish children, mostly from Rumenia, who had survived the war. They left for Palestine a year later.
Achisomog was re-opened in 1946. A successor to the Central Israelite Institute for the Mentally Ill was opened in the form of The Sinai Clinic in Amersfoort in 1960.
In 1950, a monument to the murdered Jews of Apeldoorn was unveiled in the city's Jewish cemetery. The synagogue on the Paschlaan was rebuilt and re-consecrated in 1960 and today is open for prayer during the Jewish high holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In 1988, municipal authorities took over the maintenance of the Jewish cemetery. In 1990, a monument in memory of the deported patients and staff of the Apeldoornsche Bosch by Dutch Jewish artist Ralph Prins was installed in the Prinsenpark.
In 1954, the Jewish community of nearby Hattem was incorporated into the Apeldoorn community. In 2000, the communities of Apeldoorn, Deventer, en Zutphen were united into a single community in which the community of Zutphen plays the central role.
In front of the synagogue in the Paslaan a monument in remembrance of the 592 Jews from Apeldoorn who didn't survive the Second World War was reveiled in October 2005.
The Jewish population of Apeldoorn:
The size of the Jewish community over time