Jewish life in Ootmarsum began around 1700 with the arrival of a meat butcher. He was granted permission to settle in the town on the condition that the members of his guilds would not be harmed by his activities.
During the eighteenth century, the Jewish population of Ootmarsum grew steadily. In 1821, the locality, including the municipality of Denekamp, was granted the status of an independent Bijkerk. The church council consisted of three people.
A synagogue and a school were built in Ootmarsum in 1843. In a fire in 1859, both buildings were lost. A new synagogue on the Kloosterstraat was consecrated a year later. The building was restored in 1904; the local women's society provided textile furnishings and ritual objects.
The Jewish cemetery on the Kuiperberg, on the Almelose Straatweg, was inaugurated around 1786. The oldest preserved gravestone dates from 1814, while the most recent one was placed in 1928.
Regular Jewish education in Ootmarsum ceased to exist at the end of the nineteenth century. The arrival of a teacher from Hardenberg in 1914 seemed to revive Jewish education, but that was short-lived.
The cloth and damask factory of the Bendien family, founded in 1813, played a major role in the economic development of Ootmarsum.
In 1924, the Jewish community of Ootmarsum ceased to exist and was merged into that of Oldenzaal. The synagogue was initially sold, then demolished in 1936.
In December 2001, a monument in memory of the Jewish inhabitants of Ootmarsum murdered during the war was unveiled in the Kloosterstraat. The monument incorporates a plaque with names and the facade stone of the former synagogue.
The cemetery on the Kuiperberg is maintained by the local authorities.
The Jewish population of Ootmarsum and surroundings:
The size of the Jewish community over time