Jews lived in 's-Heerenberg as early as the first half of the 14th century. A memorial book from the time records local Jews amongst the victims of the pogroms of 1349-1350. Reports also survive of a Jew having resided in 's-Heerenberg during the second half of the 16th century, a time when few Jews lived in the Netherlands.

The Jewish population of 's-Heerenberg grew over the course of the second half of the eighteenth century. The Jewish cemetery located on the road to Zeddam dates to prior to 1752. A synagogue in a private home was in use in 's-Heerenberg by 1793. A permanent synagogue was built in an alleyway called Kattenburg, today the Oude Poortstraat, probably in 1801.

At the outset of the 19th century the finances of the Jewish community at 's-Heerenberg were such that it could no longer retain its religious teacher. Some years later the community was able to hire a teacher once again. Membership in the 's-Heerenberg community reached its high point during 1860's. A new synagogue was built, also in the Kattenburg, in 1871. At the time, the community was governed by a two-member directorate that was also responsible for the Jewish education of its children. The Jewish population of 's-Heerenberg remained constant over the first four decades of the twentieth century. Jews played an active role in the secular life of 's-Heerenberg. Most local Jews worked in retail trade, the meat business, and banking.

Jewish cemetery in 's-Heerenberg, ca. 1977

Jewish cemetery in 's-Heerenberg, ca. 1977


coll. Kooger

Under the German occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War, most of the Jews living in 's-Heerenberg were deported and murdered. Only a few local Jews managed to survive the war in hiding. The Jewish community at 's-Heerenberg was formally dissolved in 1947 and the location placed within the jurisdiction of the Jewish community at Doetinchem. The synagogue at 's-Heerenberg was plundered during the occupation and was sold soon after the war. Since 1949, the building has housed a hotel. The Jewish cemetery on the Zeddamseweg is maintained by the local authorities.

The Jewish population of 's-Heerenberg and surroundings:

The size of the Jewish community over time