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  • The Jewish community of Apeldoorn


    Source: S. Laansma


    In 1770 there were already some Jews in Apeldoorn, hailing from Germany. The first Jewish family settled in Apeldoorn about 1798. The head of the family was the merchant David Joel with his wife Rachel. They had four children. The family, who had to pay taxes, was duly registered in the Cedulen van Ambtlasten from 1800 and 1801 and was taxed with an amount of one guilder. At the time that was not a small sum. The father died before 1811 and his widow with her children moved to Vaassen. One son, Jacob, remained in Apeldoorn, where he died in 1830, under the name Davids Joel de Jong. He was not married.

    About 1800 a second Jewish family settled there. The head of the family was the merchant Manus Koppel with his wife Berendina Rachel. Manus Koppel was a Cohen, a Jewish priest, who are descendants of Aharon, the brother of Moses. The couple had six children. Since there was no Jewish community in Apeldoorn, the few Jews there were members of the Deventer community.

    When the adoption of family names became law, there appeared names like de Jong and de Vries. All the children of David Joel's widow returned to Apeldoorn. At the start of the 19th century one son, David de Jong, started a Jewish house community, which probably was a house-synagogue.

    During the last year of the French occupation (1813), the communities of Apeldoorn and Vaassen compiled a summary of the inhabitants. Three Jewish families were registered in Apeldoorn and two in Vaassen.

    The Verklaring der Rechten van den Mensch en van de Burger, ensured the emancipation of the Jews. 

    The synagogue
    Since 1855 there was a house synagogue at the Waterloo Boulevard. As mentioned before, the Apeldoorn Jewish community had to use house synagogues, during the 19th century. Only in 1890 was a real synagogue built in the Paschlaan, with a school and a mikve. The building was surrounded by a modern iron grid.

    In December 1890 the synagogue was inaugurated with a beautiful ceremony. The congregation was addressed by chief rabbi Justus Tal. The Jews of Apeldoorn had now their own kehilla, which in 1892 counted 62 Jews.

    During the years several chazanim served in the synagogue. The chazan usually was also the teacher and shochet. There was also a shamash who had to prepare the synagogue for the service and who had to take care of the heating and the lighting. One of his other tasks was the collecting of the membership fees.

    About 1930 it was decided to enlarge the shul. The enlarged building was completed in March 1932. The solemn congregation was addressed by J. Vredenburg, the chief rabbi of Gelderland.

    The synagogue received many presents: A silver crown for the new Torah, a Torah mantle, a silver shield, a silver yad, two marriage chairs and financial donations. 

    In August 1941, at the time of the German occupation, the synagogue was brutally burned. After the war services were held in a house, which was not suited for this purpose at all.

    In February 1960 the new synagogue - situated at the same place where the old synagogue had been built - was ceremoniously inaugurated. The new building had a specious lobby, a community hall and a small kitchen.

    The walls were covered with mahogany wood. Copper candlesticks and a copper crown, remnants of the old synagogue, illuminated the synagogue. Several leaded windows were also saved, together with the old Torah rolls and silver ornaments.

    On the street side, where the light streams inside through the antique leaded windows, fourteen Jewish motives adorn the wall. Amongst them one finds the two stone tables and the symbols of the twelve tribes. These adornments were presented by the Apeldoorn municipality in honor of the Jews murdered during the war. On the roof of the synagogue a large illuminated mogen dovid was placed, which is unique in the Netherlands.

    In 1978 the Jewish community counted thirty six members; services [are] were held on the High Holydays only.

    The cemetery
    The present Jewish cemetery of Apeldoorn dates from 1892. Till then the members of the Apeldoorn Jewish community were buried in Deventer. In order to be buried there, one had to be a registered member of the community.

    Membership was attained by birth or could be bought (inkopen) by Jews living outside Deventer. These members received a kind of diploma, which today we would call a membership card. They became so called immatriculated members, which gave them the right to be buried there.

    Already from the start of the 19th century, Jews from Apeldoorn were buried in the Jewish cemetery of Deventer. The last of such burials took place in 1892.

    In the meantime a new Jewish cemetery has been opened in Deventer. Most old gravestones have disappeared, although some old ones, dating from 1880 were discovered. Probably thirty members of the Apeldoorn community were buried in Deventer, between 1833 and 1892.

    In January 1890 Apeldoorn appointed a cantor. They now had their own shul and subsequently plans were made for their own cemetery.

    At the request of the Jewish community from May 1892, the Apeldoorn authorities granted a parcel of land of 20 by 20 meters for a synagogue.

    A fence of at least two meters high had to be erected and space had to be reserved for people who died from a contagious disease. Within a very short time work was started. The plot was fenced off, and a small metaher house (for the required cleansing of the bodies) was built. During the years the cemetery was enlarged.

    In July 1950 a monument was erected in the memory of those deported. The cemetery is being cared for by the Apeldoorn community.

    Religious education and chazaniem
    In the beginning almost no Jewish education could be provided. There was a Jewish teacher in Apeldoorn, but it is not sure whether he taught Judaism. About 1830 there was a prosperous Jewish family which could afford a private teacher. It was too far for the pupils to travel to Deventer to be taught there.

    Only in 1856 started somebody to arrange services in one of his rooms at the Loolaan. This room also became a home synagogue.

    In 1888 somebody wanted to send his child to the Jewish teacher in Deventer and the community agreed to pay for travel. Only in 1890 the Apeldoorn community got their own teacher, who also functioned as cantor and secretary. The Jewish school was opened with twenty pupils.

    Another community member served as a butcher. After the war there were only a few Jewish families left. Their children were taught by a so called travelling teacher.

    After 1945 the buildings of the Apeldoornse Bosch, the former Jewish home for psychologically disturbed patients, were used for children who had survived the concentration camps.

    Cultural life
    Gemilous Hassodim was an association for men and Hadras Noshim for women. There was a Jewish theater association, a literature association and a song and amusement group. The NZB, the Dutch Zionist Organization and the Zionistic youth movement were also active in Apeldoorn.

    Jewish professions
    There were Jewish merchants, butchers, teachers and a Jewish paper manufacturer. There also was a Jewish municipal collector and during the first half of the 19th century there were collectors for the state lottery. There was a rag merchant and a skin salter. As mentioned before the kehilla employed a schouchet, a chazzan and a sjammes, a beadle.

    The sad end
    592 men, women and children from the Jewish community of Apeldoorn did not return. Their fate was shared by the 869 patients and staff from the Apeldoornse Bos.

    Additional reference:
    The Tryptich - Famous Institutions - Apeldoornse Bos

    Extracted from source:Yael Benlev-de Jong
    Translated from Dutch:Mechel Jamenfeld
    Editing:Ben Noach
    Final editing:Hanneke Noach

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