Jews may have lived in Terborg as early as medieval times and disappeared from the town during the persecutions that followed the plague epidemic of 1349. Several Jewish families settled anew in Terborg at the beginning of the 18th century. It is likely that an organized Jewish community arose by the second half of the 18th century. The Terborg community was originally linked with that of Doetinchem.
Terborg's first synagogue was located in a private home and opened in 1808. During the early 19th century, the Terborg community grew to such an extent that in 1840 a new synagogue was opened on the Dorpsstraat. Some years later Terborg became an independent community separate from that of Doetinchem. In 1901, the Dorpsstraat synagogue was replaced with a new and larger building located on the Silvoldseweg.
The Terborg community buried its dead at three cemeteries, one located in the village of Varsseveld and the other two located on the Silvoldseweg in Terborg. The first of the two cemeteries on the Silvoldseweg was established in 1742 and the other, located on the opposite side of the street, in 1928.
The board governing the Terborg community consisted of three members. Local voluntary organizations included a study fellowship and a women's society. Prior to the Second World War, a member of the Terborg community served on the municipal council of nearby Wisch.
During the World War II German occupation of the Netherlands, Jewish children were expelled from local public schools in September 1941 and compelled to attend a special Jewish school established in nearby Doetinchem. The majority of the Jews of Terborg were arrested and deported during 1942 and 1943 and were subsequently murdered. Approximately 40 local Jews and Jews from elsewhere managed to survive the war in hiding in Terborg. The synagogue was damaged during an aerial bombardment in 1945 and was later razed. Although the interior of the synagogue was plundered, the synagogue's Torah scrolls were hidden in Amsterdam beforehand and a number of them were recovered after the war.
A few Jews returned to Terborg during the post-war years. A Jewish community center that also served as a synagogue was opened in 1959. A memorial to the Jews of Terborg murdered during the war was unveiled at the entrance to the new cemetery during the same year. The Jewish communities of Terborg and Doetinchem were deprived of their independent status in 1988, a decision that led to conflict. In the end, the Jews of the two towns joined together to form a new community, the NIG-Achterhoek. In 2002, care of the new Jewish cemetery on the Silvoldseweg was taken over by the municipality of Wisch.
Several Jewish families settled in Varsseveld (located midway between Terborg and Aalten) during the second half of the 18th century. In about 1800 they established a synagogue in a room and a private home. The local community remained small but, nonetheless, established a cemetery of its own, located on the Spiekersweg. During the wartime German occupation, a few of the Jews of Varsseveld managed to survive in hiding, the rest were deported and murdered.
The Jewish population of Terborg and surroundings:
The size of the Jewish community over time