Beginning late in the 18th century a small group of Jews regularly gathered for prayer in a private home on the Oude Haven in Zierikzee. A Jewish cemetery, located on the Grachtweg, was established in Zierikzee in 1799.
An organized Jewish community arose in Zierikzee early in the 19th century. In 1825, the community consecrated a synagogue, located on the Meelstraat. The synagogue was refurbished in 1888 and continued to be used as a house of prayer until 1920. Today, the building serves as a private home; the only evidence of its original function is the wind vane on its roof shaped in the form of a lion holding a Star of David.
The Jewish community at Zierikzee was governed by a community board. Voluntary organizations included a burial society. Most local Jews were involved in trade or manufacturing. During the 19th century, the Jewish Salomonson family of Almelo established a local cotton weaving factory in Zierikzee.
The Zierikzee community provided Jewish education to the children of its members; however, declining enrollment led to the closing of the school in 1860. By 1913, community membership had fallen to the point that religious services were held only on holidays. The Jewish community at Zierikzee was administratively merged into that at Middelburg in 1922.
During the World War II German occupation of the Netherlands, practically all of the remaining Jews of Zierikzee were taken to Amsterdam and from there deported to Nazi concentration camps in Poland where they were murdered.
Today, there are some Jewish families living in Zierikzee. The Jewish cemetery is maintained by the municipality. A column dedicated to the memory of the deported and murdered Jews of Zierikzee stands at the corner of the Grachtweg and Caustraat, not far from the cemetery.
The Jewish population of Zierikzee and surroundings:
The size of the Jewish community over time