• menu▼        
  • contact us

  • Jewish Life in Dieren, Rheden and Velp – by Hans Kooger


    Surnames mentioned in the article (in order of appearance):
    Lazarus(*), Jacobs(*), Levi(*), Davids(*), Herz, Josephi, Leefman, Loewenstein, Berlijn, Weijl, Mansfeld, Cohen, Katz, Salomons, Levie, Leeraar, Isaaks(*), Efraims(*), Sadix(Zadoks)(*), Godschalek(*), van Duuren, Godschalk, Abrahams, Franken, de Wolf, Liefman(*), Jacob(*), Sternfeld, Kats, Bachrach, Lewije,/Sander Mozes(*), Frank, [Chief Rabbi] Tal, Bierschenk, van Baaren, Minka(*), Heiman, Tersteeg, Simons, Prins, Ricardo, Sanders, Pels, Spier, Dormits, Schoonhoed, Santcroos(*), Patronimic names or names supposed to be patronimic.

    The Province of Gelderland
    It has repeatedly been tried to either restrict or forbid the settlement of Jews in Gelderland. Nijkerk was the exception where the Jews were allowed to settle in the 17th and 18th century in order to introduce the tobacco trade. Already in 1728 the Jews of Nijkerk built a synagogue. But from elsewhere, around 1735, the Jews of the region gathered in Arnhem in a home synagogue, though the number of Jews concerned was smaller than in Nijkerk.
    During the 17th and 18th century Nijkerk was the most important place of settlement of Jews in Gelderland. The first synagogue in Nijmegen was built in 1751; before that people gathered in home synagogues.
    Jews crossed continuously the Eastern borders into Gelderland. They lived scattered all over the country, even in the smallest villages. Mainly after 1811 small communities came into existence which built small synagogues and cemeteries.
    Most Jews coming into the country were tradesmen, hawkers and butchers. In 1796 all nasty, discriminating rules against Jews were cancelled. The Israelite (Sefardi and Ashkenazi) denominations were divided in 1814 into 14 resorts (including Luxemburg and Brussels). Each of them got a main synagogue, a chief rabbi and a provincial consistory, which took care of the administration. The main synagogue of Gelderland remained in Nijmegen. Ten years later Arnhem became the new seat of the Chief Rabbi, despite fierce opposition by Nijmegen.
    These kehillot flourished between 1850 and 1900 after which started a period of regression, cruelly rounded off by the German occupiers in the 1940's. In Gelderland only small communities in Arnhem, Nijmegen, Apeldoorn and Winterswijk (as a center for the surroundings) were still functioning after 1945.

    Rheden
    In 1798 Rheden, Renkum and Velp were united into one community, but a year later they were split again so that Rheden became an independent community.

    The first Jews
    Around 1777 Lazarus and his wife Judith Jacobs sought permission to live in Rheden and in 1782 he renewed his request to remain living there. The judge granted the request. In 1784 the butcher Lazarus employed an assistant originating from Mannheim who had married there. Nevertheless, because of the decree of 17.05.1726 "against living or staying overnight of Jews in the Netherlands" the judge prohibited Lazarus and his servant to stay and so they had to leave immediately. This edict said among others: "No strange or new Jews or Smoussen (a derogatory word in old Dutch for Jews) who try to earn a living by running a little shop or butchery or any other handicrafts are allowed to live on the land in this Province or settle in any way”. The judge kept to these regulations which would, however, be drastically changed again on May 12th, 1789. In 1789, in fact, the States of the Princely House of Gelre and the County of Zutphen established that the regulations from 1726 were in some places "by permission, connivance or otherwise, watered down. Quite a lot Jews lived in several places in Gelderland, 'continuously tolerated since many years'. The Jews who lived all over the province were now allowed to stay, but they had to carry a certificate of good behavior which had to be renewed each year. Lazarus probably had left Rheden for a while, but obviously he returned after the proclamation of the new Decree. This is known from a small lawsuit in 1796, caused by the maid of Lazarus, Sara.
    Around May 1773 – several years before Lazarus and Judith – Marcus Levi (born in Mannheim) and Sara Davids (age 22) originating from Bonn, had settled in Rheden. Sara had worked as a maid in Krefeld during the years before. Marcus had lived in Hamburg, Altena and Wansbek. They were married on November 8th, 1796 by the 'municipal administrators of Rheede'. On November 8th 1796 Marcus and Sara, who had moved in with Lazarus, were taken into custody together with Lazarus and Judith. They were accused of possessing false money. The house of the butcher was searched from top to bottom. No trace was found of false money or tools either in cupboards, cases or sleeping accommodations. In May 1797 several witnesses were heard. Regretfully it can no longer be followed how the Jews of Rheden fared after this legal case. Whether they were convicted cannot be traced anymore.
    Lazarus Isaacs appeared again in the population register of 1808 of Velp, but Sara Davids and Marcus Levi do not appear anymore together on these lists. However, there appeared three other Jewish families on a different list. On October 2nd, 1813 Mr. Loewenstein sent the 'Surveillance commission of the Israelite Congregation in Rhede' – a list of names of Jewish households to the Chief Consistory in Zwolle.
    The following families lived in Rheden: Samuel Herz and Bella Herz with their son Benjamin (born 14.03.1809), Moses Josephi and Sophia Leefman with their children Gumpel (born in 1806), Jacob (born in 1808) and Heijman (born in 1812), also Elias Heijman and his wife Gudula Hertz with their children Heijman (born in 1810), Herz (born in 1811) and Anzel (born in 1812). Parnas Loewenstein requested permission “to go every 4 weeks to church” (the synagogue) in Arnhem. About Samuel, Moses, Elias and Mr. Loewenstein no details were found either in the archives of Arnhem or in the archives of Rheden; they probably departed to elsewhere.
    Christiaan Saulus Marcus Berlijn, a converted Jew was at the age of 66 years appointed in Rheden on March 1st 1807 to the post of Public Surgeon, while around 1813 another Jewish doctor named Jacobus Michael Weijl was active in Nijkerk,) Gelderland. Christiaan Saulus Marcus Berlijn received a salary of 130, guilders as well as 100, guilders in emoluments. He was born around 1741. In 1811 he vaccinated 5 persons. The Public Surgeon died on July 15th, 1819 in Velp.
    During 1840, 1841 tradesman Nathan Haim Mansfeld lived in Rheden. He was born in 1814 in Warsaw and married to Judith Cohen from Veenendaal, where their son Nathan Mansfeld was born. Nathan later settled in Steenderen where he managed a small drapery business. He died in 1859 and was buried in the small cemetery in Bronkhorst. His tombstone is the oldest one in this cemetery.
    During the years 1800 and 1900 only a few Jewish families lived in Rheden. More families settled in Dieren and Velp. From the notaries' documents there appear to have been several more families.
    In 1878 Benjamin Simon Katz, a butcher, bought a house and land from a shopkeeper in Dieren for 800, , guilders.
    In the 1890's auctions were held several times. On September 2nd, 1891 Benjamin Salomons, businessman in Amsterdam, sold a party of draper's goods at an inn in the village of Rheden.
    More than a year later Benjamin Josef Levie, a businessman from Zwolle, also held an auction, this time at a different inn. The drawing up of the official report of this sale was witnessed by businessman Lion Leeraar who lived there.

    Mangels Isaaks
    The first Jew in Dieren is mentioned in the documents of a lawsuit in 1713. He came from Doesburg. Mangels or Mangenis Isaaks was accused by businessman Berent Efraims and his wife Elsken Sadix(Zadoks) that he had not repaid all his debts. Berent Efraim was the son of the Doesburg pawnbroker Ephraim Godschalek (1675, 1683 loan, offices) and his wife. Mangels had bought from Elsken a glassblowers' windlass for 12 guilders and 3 pennies. He also had had meals during the 'Holy Days" at Elsken's house for the amount of 6 guilders and 12 pennies. Mangels had already paid more than half of what he owed and he thought he had borrowed the windlass! This suit was probably settled amicably.
    Further notes from the 18th century about Jews in Dieren are almost completely missing. Only in several archives from the French period, beginning 19th century, Jewish family names appear again. Fragments of their lives are mentioned in official documents. Regretfully nothing is known about their actual lives.
    In a letter (August 1813) from the Jewish Community in Doesburg to the Jewish Consistory in Zwolle the following persons were mentioned: the butcher Michiel Jacob Levie residing in Dieren, 'moderate' (=financially), his sons Jacob (18 years old) and Samuel (16 years old) and his 27 year old stepson Salomon Marcus van Duuren, born in May 1786. M.J. Levie was born in 1761 in Pappenheim south of Nurenberg and married to the widow Lena Abraham Godschalk, a native of Wijhe. He is the ancestor of the Levie's from Dieren, whose descendants still lived there after the war. In 1794 Lena Abrahams got married at the age of 39 to Michiel Levie. Her parents, both deceased in Wijhe and buried in Raalte, were Abraham and Fransje. Lena brought into her second marriage a large number of children. She married the helper of her first husband, Marcus Levie, son of Levy and Isabelle Franken, who both died in Bronkhorst. Marcus Levie died in Dieren.

    Some details are known about the latter three persons from the description of Jewish life in Steenderen, Brummen and Bronkhorst (see kehilla Bronkhorst).
    From this and from the years of birth of her children, mentioned here under, it seems that Lena Abrahams during her first marriage lived in Bronkhorst until 1785 and as from 1786 in Dieren.
    Lena Abrahams had the following children: Philip (born in Bronkhorst, 1773), Levie (born in Brummen, 1778), Godschalk (born in Brummen, around 1780), Hartog (born in Brummen, 1785), Salomon (born in Dieren, 1786), Fransje (born in Dieren 1792) and Meijer, date of birth unknown. All children of Lena Abrahams and Marcus Levie had adopted the name Van Duuren.
    Lena and Michiel, the erstwhile assistant of Marcus, had two more children: Jacob (born in 1795) and Samuel (born in 1795). It must have been a lively family there in Dieren with children from two weddings. About some children we know the following Levie Marcus van Duuren , as well as his brother Hartog, became jewelers. Levie Marcus married with Koosje de Wolf from Elburg and left around 1825 for Zutphen. Godschalk Marcus was a merchant in soft goods (manufactured in weaving mills). He settled in Doesburg in 1807 after having obtained a guaranty.
    Salomon Marcus van Duuren married Rachel Liefman from Arnhem. They had three children between 1824 and 1827 in Dieren; Lena, Liefman and Marcus. Both Salomon and Marcus appeared in 1811 on a list of male inhabitants of Dieren for candidates for the National Guard. The father, Michiel Jacob Levie became in 1877 treasurer of the Dutch, Jewish Ring Synagogue in Doesburg – the towns of Didam, Bronkhorst, Steenderen and Dieren also belonged to this Community.
    The number of Jews living in Velp, Rheden and Dieren amounted in 1842 to around 40 persons. In Dieren these included mainly the Levie and Cohen families. The services were held in a home synagogue and a cemetery was mentioned only as from 1870.
    According to a list of names composed in 1819, Michiel Jacob, the Dutch ancestor of the Levie's, owned a piece of moorland which after his death was inherited by his widow Lena. Around 1846 she owned three houses, a small piece of arable land, moor land as well as a garden plot in Dieren.
    The grandson of Michiel Levie, called Efraim Samuel (Frits), was appointed ecclesiastical supervisor of the home synagogue in Brummen, according to the request of Mr. Salomon Sternfeld. Fritz would hold this position less than a year.
    Between 1849 and 1860 services were again held at a home synagogue in Brummen. This was not without difficulties because the local Jewish population had difficulty paying the yearly sum of 6 guilders to the Ring Synagogue in Arnhem, being a contribution to the salary of the Chief Rabbi.
    The great, grandson of Michiel Jacob Levie, Simon, received just like his uncle Efraim Samuel an administrative function. Another functionary, Levie Kats (no relation to the later on well known antique dealers Katz) would together with Levie and Salomon Bachrach organize the administration of a proper Jewish community.
    Levie Kats was the legitimate son of the butcher Benjamin Kats who was born in Doetinchem in 1816. The latter married the mother of Levie Kats on September 27th, 1855, Johanna Lewije, also known as Johanna Sander Mozes. Together with Levie, his sister was also legalized. Johanna Levije was born in Lien (Prussia) around 1809. She died in Dieren in 1865.
    Levy) Kats, the first parnas of Dieren, was married in 1872 to Hendrika Sternfeld of Brummen. They had six children between the years 1873 , 1880: Johanna, Betje, Benjamin, Levie, Isaak Samuel and a stillborn child. Johanna perished in 1942 together with her husband in Auschwitz. Samuel was murdered in 1943 in Sobibor.

    The creation of the Jewish Community
    In December 1878 Messrs Levie Kats, Salomon Bachrach and Simon Levie wrote a letter 'to organize a Commission to deal with the affairs of the Israelite Religion' to the Mayors of the hamlet of Dieren. They asked to rent the unused rooms in the old school in order to hold prayer services.
    However by 57 against 55 votes it was decided on February 18th, 1879 at a meeting with a large attendance that the school should be demolished. The Jews had to find another place and until the end of 1883 they held their services in unknown rented premises.
    Regulations of the kehilla Dieren, drawn up in February 1881, were approved in July 1882 by the Permanent Commission of General Affairs of the Dutch, Jewish Denomination. A protest was entered, however, by Doesburg to which Dieren used to belong, but the protest was rejected.
    In 1882 preparations were started to build the synagogue, complete with a gallery and a ritual bath.
    In 1882/1882 110 Jews lived in the community of Rheden out of a total of 12,860 inhabitants.
    In 1882 most of the families lived in the village of Dieren, afterwards also in Velp and Rheden. The number of Jews fluctuated between 85 and 115 during the time the synagogue was built.

    The synagogue
    There was no cooperation between the municipal community wardens and the kehilla administrators in 1879 – there was an unwillingness to rent them the old school hall. In the following years, however, the Jewish community themselves would take care of the acquisition of a meeting place. Levie Kats, chairman of the Commission for the Affairs of Jewish Religion, took the first step in 1879 by buying a piece of land of 195 square meters.
    In the sales document it was mentioned, among others, that the buyer was not allowed to obstruct the passage to the plot behind the one that was sold.
    The document also mentioned that a house was being built for Levie Kats. That must have been the first part of the synagogue. It also appears from the documents that the small synagogue being built was allowed to have big windows.
    In November 1880 Levie Kats bought another plot of 49.5 square meters adjoining his property bought in 1879. This piece of land was burdened with the condition that this passage should be free and unobstructed on Shabbath. This premise was paid for by the kehilla, as was the synagogue built between 1880 and 1883.
    About transactions between L. Kats and the kehilla concerning the acquisition of land and the building of the synagogue between 1880 and 1883 no documents were found. Possibly they worshipped in the beginning in a room in the house of Kats until the new synagogue could be put into use.
    In 1880 the Jewish community in Dieren was officially recognized by the Permanent Commission of the Dutch Jewish Denomination.
    On January 22nd, 1884 the gazzan and religion teacher from Zutphen, Benjamin Frank, held the last service in the old synagogue, perhaps the above mentioned premise of Kats, and the Tora scrolls were brought to the house of the chairman at 8 o'clock in the morning. At 13.00 hours the Tora scrolls were carried ceremoniously to the new synagogue after which the inauguration began. A Jewish periodical reported the following:
    Dieren, Jan. 25. Last Tuesday the local Jewish community celebrated in style. It was in fact the inauguration of a new synagogue. First we shall refer to the synagogue itself. The building is not big, but very nicely and appropriately furnished; it also has been provided with gaslight. After the hon. Mr. Frank van Zutfen had taken leave of the old house of worship with a few short words during the morning, the inauguration ceremony started at 1 p.m. by transferring the Tora scrolls to the new synagogue. Five members of the Arnhem Religious Song Society, acquitted themselves extremely well of their task, sang Psalms and text from Numbers. After the usual carrying around of the Tora scrolls and the prayer for His Majesty, Chief Rabbi Tal held the speech of the day about the four first verses of psalm 27.
    The ceremony was concluded by singing psalm 150. In the evening there was a very lively ball in Hotel 'De Kroon', where charity was also not forgotten. Everyone was united in thanking all those who had participated in contributing to the building of the synagogue.
    The Arnhemsche Courant also contained a short notice about the inauguration of the new synagogue in Dieren. It mentioned that the 'little church' had been soberly decorated for this special day, with greenery and flags and that many Jews had come to Dieren from nearby communities (Arnhem, Zutphen, etc.).
    The money required for the synagogue and the plot and borrowed by the administrators of the Kehilla Dieren, Levy Kats (chairman), Salomon Bachrach and Simon Levie (treasurer), were already paid off in January 1891 by the Kehilla.
    During the first years of the existence of the synagogue, sometime between 1884 and 1886, lessons were given in a small hall adjoining the hall. In 1896 another small plot was acquired in order to expand the complex with a small school. In 1892 it was suggested to the management of the Kehilla to build a mikveh (ritual bath), which was actually built in the 1890's.
    In the synagogue in Spoorstraat a ladies gallery was built above the church hall. Above the front of the outer door a text was placed in Hebrew from Genesis 28: 'How awe, inspiring is this place – this is the house of God the Gate to Heaven'.
    Many services were held there between 1884 and 1942; although already in the 1920's complaints were heard about declining interest in the synagogue.
    During the war – probably in 1942 – the Tora scrolls were packed in a crate and stored. The building was severely damaged in 1944, 45. After the war the Kats family was still able to use the school hall as a storage place.
    The Kehilla of Dieren was abolished in 1950.
    On the eve of Shavuoth May 22nd, 2007 the mezuzah was affixed.
    About the restoration and renewed use of the synagogue in Dieren by the Liberal Jewish Community in Gelderland see:
    http://www.ljggelderland.nl.dieren.html (in Dutch only) and
    http://www.dedierensesjoel.nl (in Dutch & English).
    Jewish Lessons
    From 1884 till about 1942 lessons were regularly given in the small hall at the synagogue (later in the especially built school, annex) by religion teachers/gazzanim to children between the ages of 4 1/2 and 13.
    Generally the children got daily lessons of 1 1/2 to 2 hours during weekdays and on Sunday even 3 to 4 hours.

    The Cemetery
    In 1892 the church council discussed the acquisition of a parcel of land for the community's own cemetery. The council convened to discuss the plot, with a passage through farmland, which was to be kept by the seller. They came to an agreement.
    The cemetery was about 50 x 20 meters and the first grave was dug already in 1893 (the 71 years old Rachel Bierschenk on March 1st, 1893). In the first year and in 1920 a series of old Jewish prayer books were buried as Jewish religious books are buried, they may not be destroyed.
    Around 1919 there were plans to build a metaher house on the cemetery. Only in 1922 bids were requested from several firms. 750 guilders were available for this purpose, but the cost amounted to 1,500 guilders. Simon Levie, member of the chewre Gemiluth Gasodiem would ' if necessary go shnorren for this purpose'. This proposal did not go down well with the administrators. They decided to take a mortgage on this building. However, after two years, it was in the meantime 1924, it turned out to be impossible and therefore a lottery was organized and the contribution of the members of the Kehilla was raised by 5 cents per week.
    During the summer of 1923 the building was put out to contract for the amount of 1,557 and the architectural design was accepted.
    In 1928 Mr. B. Katz donated taps for the metaher house.
    A fence is mentioned nowhere. Already for a long time the place is surrounded by a sizable beech hedge and barbed wire. On the side of the metaher house is an iron fence that was installed there in 1936. In the cemetery on Diepenbrocklaan there are 41 tombstones and 23 stumps of stone to mark the graves. The last gazzan, Abraham van Baaren has indicated on a drawing where each tomb is situated up till 1943. Since 1950 the municipality of Rheden is maintaining the cemetery. The oldest stone is from 1894 and the last tombstone was placed in 1986.
    For digitalization of the cemetery in Dieren – see Stenen Archief: , http/www.stenenarchief.nl – begraafplaatscode (59).

    Some facts about families Levie, Bachrach and Katz
    Izak Levie, who was not a descendant from Michiel Jacob Levie, lived to be 91 years and died on 10 Tewet 5697 (December 23rd, 1936) He was married to Jetje Schoonhoed (deceased 1911) and settled around 1870 in Dieren. They had 13 children: Koosje (born in 1872), Kaatje (2873), Salomon (1874), Abraham (1876), Philip (1878), Manuel (1879), Sientje (1881), Berend (1883), Jacob (1885), Nathan (1887), Aaltje (1889), Louis (1891) and in conclusion Abraham (1894)
    Kaatje, Aaltje, Salomon, Manuel, Jacob and Nathan were killed together with their loved ones in Sobibor in 1943. Berend and his wife died in 1942 in Auschwitz. Koosje died in Dieren in 1924.
    The Bachrach family played together with the Levie and Katz families a big role in the management as well as in the life of the Kehilla. Salomon Bachrach ran in the Kerkstraat around 1900 "De Goedkope Winkel", in which coats and ladies' clothes were sold. Jacob Levie and Salomon Bachrach competed with each other in business, but both were at the same time administrators of the Kehilla. Sally Bachrach later lived at the Stationsplein, a few houses from the Katz family.
    Sally Bachrach (born in 1845) was for quite a while treasurer of the committees for the church and the poor; his son, of the same name, later succeeded him in this function.
    Caroline Cohen, born in Sambeck (N.B.), married in 1877 Salomon Bachrach who came from Eibergen. They had four children, Sally, Bertha, Theodora and Gertruida.
    Sally Bachrach jr. (born in 1879) was the last chairman of the Kehilla – from 1938 up to 1942. He died on March 1st, 1943 in Arnhem and was buried in Dieren. He also was the last chairman of a community, which after 1945 only gathered once and afterwards ceased to exist.
    The illustrious predecessor of Sally Bachrach was Simon Levie who was parnas during a very long period, namely from January 1887 till his death in January 1938 (51 years).
    The Katz family (ancestor Benjamin Simon was born in Keppel in 1747) settled in Doesburg around 1800. They struggled greatly in this small town for their livelihood, although later on the branch in Dieren was rather well to do. David Katz Jr., son from the second marriage of Benjamin and Marianne, only lived to be 22 years old. He died on February 27, 1937 in The Hague, after he had married only half a year earlier the 20 year old Leni de Vries from Utrecht.
    Considering Jewish life in the community of Rheden, a defining tone was given, from a commercial point of view , by the Katz family, the Levie families (two families not related to each other as far as is known) and the Bachrach family.

    The antiquity dealers Katz bought and sold paintings and antiques and they appraised objects d'art for inheritances, insurance, etc. They were experts in the negotiation of paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries by Dutch masters. One painting from their collection in the Basel branch happened to save the lives of Bij –perhaps a nickname, Katz and 24 close relatives in 1942.
    Tradesman Nathan Katz, the brother of Benjamin Katz, traveled to Switzerland with his family with a visa which he got from the Germans, through mediation, to buy a collection in Switzerland, in which Hermann Goering who wanted to start a large collection of art was, very interested (a clear example of barter trade with the Germans through which lives were saved against material profits for the national, socialists). After his arrival another barter trade took place in October with a Katz family member – this time with Benjamin Katz who had a large art gallery where Goering regularly bought paintings.
    Nevertheless there came a time that even Goering could no longer safeguard Katz with his large family of 25 persons against deportation to the East. He therefore agreed to a gigantic exchange. Twenty five family members were exchanged against the painting Portrait of a man, member of the Raman family by Rembrandt. Both these transactions, the one with Nathan as well as the one with Benjamin, were witnessed by the Head of the Referat Sonderfragen together with his right hand, the Bevollmaechtigte des Sonderbeauftragten fuer das Museum Linz, the so, called Fuehrer Museum. In fact Hitler also wanted to build a big collection and the different services worked sometimes for Goering and sometimes for Hitler. Therefore both mediators were familiar with the system of negotiations in which
    someone’s life is exchanged against either services or goods.

    Gemiluth Gassodim
    Gemiluth Gassodim translated means ‘The practice of charity’. It is a Jewish habit that the chevre (society) looks after burials. The Kehilla Dieren also had such a society. In 1910 regulations were drawn up about the purpose, the members, the meetings, the management, the watchmen, the income and some general rules.
    Church managers and Kohanim (priests) could not become members of the board, but all other Kehilla members between the ages of 23 and 70 were eligible.
    Members between the ages of 18 and 70 years were obliged to help with the preparation for burial as well as the putting into coffins. They were also supposed to attend burials and prayers in order to obtain minjan for people in mourning and at yearly memorial services for loved ones who had passed away.
    The chevre actually ceased to exist in 1942.

    Velp
    Velp was first mentioned in 891 and again in the 11th century. After being sold in 1256 Velp became a part of the domain of the Count of Gelre.
    In the middle of the 14th century Velp was handed over to two more nobles.
    During the 18th and 19th centuries a lot of tobacco was grown in the village and there existed 3 paper mills. Around 1870 three men worked in one of the paper mills, named Abraham, Izaak and Jacob. But as far as is known no Jews ever lived in that area. Written evidence about Jewish presence in Velp, the largest of the seven villages of the municipality of Rheden, is regrettably very scarce.
    Jewish butchers and many other livelihoods

    During the beginning of the 18th century the Jew Meijer and his wife had rented a room at an inn. The wife had hung scales from the not very firm ceiling of this room in order to weigh persons or goods against payment. The innkeeper was less than enthusiastic because he did not like the idea of the ceiling coming down. He thus argued with this family and it came to blows. In 1715 the innkeeper handed a complaint to the local court. It is unknown how this affair ended. Meijer and his wife undoubtedly had left for another venue.

    On the list of 251 heads of families from Velp, composed in 1813, the name of the butcher Salomon Salomons, married to Sara Minka, appeared. He had received a license from the Mayor in 1811 to exercise his profession. Salomon, born in 1739 registered himself and his three children, a son and two daughters, on January 28th, 1813 in the Velp municipal residents' register.
    He signed his name in Hebrew.
    Also registered was Philip Heiman Philips, who also lived in Velp and wanted to be called Philip Heiman.
    In 1822 there were two more butchers in Velp, namely Ter Steeg and Simons. Around 1820 the brother of Salomon, the butcher Meijer Salomon together with his wife Klaartje Liebman Prins came to Velp. Between 1821 and 1828 they got four children: Manuel (1821), Saartje (1824), Abraham (1826) – who died when he was only four months old – and Samuel (1828).
    In 1826 aunt Grietje Hertz, Salomon who lived with them, died at the age of 88.
    On February 4th, 1822 the dog of a prominent man who accompanied his master (who rode a horse) was attacked in the Hoofdstraat by Meijer’s dog. That happened just in front of Salomons' butcher's shop, where Meijer with his wife and son lived. The big hairy dog had defended himself mightily. The other dog was left with bloody wounds. The important gentleman did not take this and started a lawsuit. All witnesses declared that Meijer’s dog had behaved savagely and that this was not the only time. Meijer had to pay the costs of the lawsuit and a fine of one guilder.
    In a list of names from 1811 Benjamin Ricardo is mentioned. He was born in 1759 and a dance teacher by profession. Benjamin owned a horse in those days. The Sephardic Jew Joseph Israel Ricardo, born in Groenlo, played an important role in the Kehilla. Perhaps Benjamin was related to him?
    Around 1860 there we also find in Velp the umbrella maker Hartog Frank who was married to Betje Sanders. Around the centenary Nathan Pels had a little shop selling umbrellas which burnt out in 1912.
    Well known was tradesman Spier from Arnhem who visited seamstresses with a handheld cart selling pieces of cloth and other goods. When he had made a sale he always said the pretty phrase: "Thank you in the name of my wife and children".
    During the same period the Jews from Velp joined the Kehilla of Arnhem, where they also went to the synagogue. The management of the Jewish community in Dieren was incensed about this and they wrote a letter to the Central Commission of General Affairs of the Dutch Jewish denomination in Amsterdam. The management of Dieren thought that this division was detrimental, certainly with regard to finances. Arnhem took over payment of the salary for the Chief Rabbi for the members of Velp, only after many complaints had been made. The Velp members continued to remain separated from the Kehilla Dieren.
    In a report in a yearbook from 1913 the Kehilla Dieren extended over six villages. No members from Velp were mentioned.
    Mainly during the First World War the kosher boarding house of Franken was very much in vogue. Joseph Franken came in 1904 from Arnhem with his wife Heintje Frank, born in Coevorden. His sons Maurits and Abraham helped their father with the running of the boarding house. He died in 1930.
    The butcher Meijer Dormits came in 1917 from Arnhem to Velp and started a butcher's shop. In 1920 he went to live in Arnhem again, but his shop in Velp continued to exist, later somewhere else.
    Berend Levie, son of Izak and Jetje Schoonhoed, had settled in Velp after the First World War. He dealt in rags and also had a small shop in which he sold musical instruments, gramophones and suchlike. Mainly his 'hornless’ gramophones were well known. Another dealer in rags was Jacob Santcroos, married to Lientje Levie. He already lived in Velp before 1918. In the twenties' there also was a fur shop managed by a Jewish owner.

    Refugees
    Many German Jews immigrated to neighboring countries after the Nazi's came to power in January 1933.
    The first wave of refugees consisted mainly of well to do people who could afford to stay abroad. The Netherlands were attractive for the German refugees. An estimated 23,000 to 24,000 German Jews staid more two weeks in the country between 1933 and 1941.
    In the community of Rheden, the villages of De Steeg and Dieren took care of refugee children for a short time during the years 1938/39.

    The war years
    It is impossible to get a complete picture about what happened during the war and the tragic downfall of all the families that lived in the community or of those who departed elsewhere just before 1940.

    Three non-Jewish families received a special distinction from the Israeli Ambassador for their brave deeds during the war years, as well as four ladies.

    After the war
    On November 1st, 1942 the management of the Kehilla (5 members) convened for the last time. After the liberation a few members convened on October 7th, 1945 under a provisionary chairmanship at the home of the chairman and with a provisionary secretary. They discussed the repair of the synagogue and mikveh and mentioned the possibly still existing monies at the ill, famed bankers Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co.
    The fencing in of the cemetery was discussed and it was agreed to levy a contribution of 1 guilder per month per family for repairs and upkeep.Few families of Jewish origin were left in the community. Only family names on tombstones in the cemetery and by luck, the still existing synagogue were reminders of the times that Jews had played a role in religious and social life.

    Source:
    Joods leven in DIEREN, RHEDEN en VELP, by Hans Kooger.
    Published by De Walburg Pers, Zaadmarkt 86, 7201 DE Zutphen 1987

    The source of the description of the barter trade Katz, Goering, although described in several places, is the website:
    http://www.dbnl.org/tekst/vene001schr04_01/vene001schr04_01_0012.htm
    Page 209, referring to:
    A. Venema, Kunsthandel in Nederland 1940, 1945,
    Amsterdam, 1986. (in Dutch)

    Prepared by:
    Compiled in Dutch from source:Yael Benlev
    Compiled in Dutch, apposed by:Ben Noach
    End editor Dutch and English:Trudi Asscher, Ben Noach
    Translation from Dutch:Nina Mayer

    Search the Web-site (databases, family trees, regional genealogies and collections)




    View Larger Map