The first Jews to settle in Blokzijl arrived during the third quarter of the eighteenth century. Their numbers included a butcher and his family. Few Jews moved to Blokzijl prior to the introduction of full civil equality under Napoleonic rule in 1796 but, in the years thereafter, their numbers increased.

In 1771, the Jews of Blokzijl purchased ground for a cemetery on the Slingerpad. Beginning in 1791, the community held synagogue services in a private home. Following the resolution of a number of internal conflicts in 1828, the community purchased a building on the Zuiderstraat offering sufficient room for a synagogue, religious school, meeting room, and ritual bath.

Drawing of a reconstruction of the demolished synagogue in the Zuiderstraat in Blokzijl (door P. en J. de Jonge).

Drawing of a reconstruction of the demolished synagogue in the Zuiderstraat in Blokzijl (door P. en J. de Jonge).

Most of the Jews of Blokzijl worked as traders or butchers. The community maintained a single voluntary organization, a women's charitable society.

Early in the nineteenth century, the Blokzijl community was fused with that of the nearby town of Vollenhove. The community reached its apogee around 1870 and its numbers declined continuously thereafter. In 1885, local Jewish education was discontinued and from then on the Jewish children of Blokzijl received their religious education in the nearby town of Zwartsluis.

By the 1920's, the Blokzijl community had virtually ceased to exist. Its collapsing synagogue building was sold in 1925 and razed one year later. All the Jews that remained in Blokzijl were deported murdered during the Second World War.

Postcard of the Rijkswerkkamp

Postcard of the Rijkswerkkamp

The Jewish community of Blokzijl was formally abolished in 1947 and added to the jurisdiction of the Jewish community of Zwolle. The cemetery has been maintained by the municipality of Blokzijl since 1949. In 1999, the cemetery was restored with private funding and a memorial was added in memory of the fourteen Jews of Blokzijl and Vollenhove murdered by the Germans.


Jews arrived in the town of Vollenhove at the same time as in Blokzijl. From 1775 on, they had their own cemetery behind the Havesathe Old-Plattenburg mansion. In 1783, they received authorization to hold religious services in a home on the Kerkplaatze. In 1809, a gift from King Louis Napoleon enabled the community to construct its own synagogue which, however, was rarely used. Following the establishment of a centralized Dutch Jewish community structure early in the nineteenth century, the Vollenhove community was merged into that of Blokzijl.


For a short time beginning in the 1820's, an independent Jewish community existed in the village of Wanneperveen.

The Jewish population of Blokzijl, Vollenhove, Wanneperveen, and surroundings:

The size of the Jewish community over time


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