Jews first settled in Winsum late in the 18th century. An organized Jewish community at Winsum was officially recognized in 1821 at the time of the establishment of a Netherlands-wide Jewish communal structure. The Winsum community grew in numbers between 1825 and 1875 but membership began to shrink thereafter. In 1878, the community built a new synagogue located on the Nieuwstraat in the adjacent village Obergum, in the present day being part of Winsum.
During its early years, the Winsum community buried its dead at the Jewish cemetery in Groningen. The community established a cemetery of its own, located on the Munsterweg in Winsumermeeden, in 1867. A Jewish cemetery was established in nearby Warffum during the second half of the 19th century.
During the early 20th century, the out-migration of Jews from Winsum to industrialized locales caused community ranks to fall even further. By 1934, Jewish population of Winsum had fallen to such a low point that the synagogue was sold.
Almost all of the Jews of Winsum were deported and murdered during the World War II German occupation of the Netherlands. The Winsum community was officially dissolved in 1948 and the locale was placed within the jurisdiction of the Jewish community at Groningen. The former synagogue is now used as a meeting hall.
The Jewish cemetery was restored in 1999 and is maintained by the local authorities. A statue in memory of the Jews of Warffum was unveiled in the B.H. Broekemastraat in 1977. In 1995, a plaque inscribed with the names of Winsum Jews deported and murdered during the war was affixed to a monument on the Regnerus Praedestinusstraat commemorating the 1945 liberation of the Netherlands. A memorial stone was placed in nearby Eenrum in 1997. In 2002, in nearby Bedum, a memorial plaque was affixed to the Jodenhuis (Jews' house), the one-time home of the two Jewish residents of the locale murdered during the Second World War.
A home originally built for the Winsum Jew Abraham Markus, now comprises part of the open-air museum in Warffum and presently houses a Jewish butcher's shop and a small Jewish Museum.
On April 28, 2011, after restoration, the synagogue was reopened. The synagogue building has a cultural destination, and is managed by the Stichting Synagogue Winsum.
The Jewish population of Winsum and surroundings:
The size of the Jewish community over time