A Jewish community arose in Werkendam in approximately 1782. Local Jews gathered for prayer in the private home of one of their numbers and established a cemetery of their own at the Hofstede in the Vervoorne Polder. A Jewish cemetery was established at Woudrichem sometime late in the 18th century.
During the first four decades of the 19th century, Werkendam and Woudrichem alternated as centers of Jewish life in the surroundings. Werkendam was recognized as the seat of a regional community in 1817 but was merged into the local Jewish community at Woudrichem in 1821. These roles were reversed in 1836. At the time, the Jews of Werkendam prayed in a synagogue located in a shed behind a building on the Hoogstraat.
By the mid-19th century, the cemetery at Hofstede was filled to its limits. As a result, the community established a new cemetery also located in the Vervoorne Polder in 1850. During the 19th century, many of the Jews of Werkendam and Woudrichem worked as lottery ticket vendors, butchers, and retailers. The Jewish community at Woudrichem was merged into the community at Gorinchem in 1918. The Werkendam community was merged into the Gorinchem community three years later.
During the Second World War, half of the Jews of Werkendam and Woudrichem were deported and murdered. Approximately ten local Jews managed to survive the war in hiding.
A monument in memory of local Jews deported and murdered during the Second World War was unveiled near the town hall in Woudrichem in May 1991.
Because of postwar restitution, the NIK (Central Consistory of Dutch Jewry) is since 2013 owner of the Jewish cemetery, that was previously in private hands. The municipality of Werkendam maintains the cemetery.
The Jewish population of Werkendam and surroundings:
The size of the Jewish community over time