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Translation of Winschoten chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Holland
Translation of Winschoten chapter from
Published by Yad Vashem
Published in Jerusalem
Published in Jerusalem
This is a translation from: Pinkas Hakehillot: Holland Encyclopaedia of Jewish Communities: Netherlands,
pages 287-288, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
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|Year||General Population||Jews||% of
|1941||Winschoten 14,661||432 y.m. 19 y.ch. 36 y.r.||2.9|
|Beerta 3,739||17 y.m.||0.4|
|Finsterwolde 3,238||1 y.m. 1 y.ch 1 y.r.|
|Midwolda 4,676||19 y.m. 2 y.r.||0.4|
|Nieuwolda 2,014||19 y.m. 2 y.r|
|Scheemda 7,247||22 y.m.||0.3|
Winschoten is located in the east of the province, approximately 10 kilometers from the German border. In 1947, 69% of its population were Protestants, 5% were Catholics, and the rest were members of other religious denominations or atheists. It is a regional center of commerce, and it has manufacturing.
The Era of the Republic
Jews came to Winschoten shortly after the middle of the 18th century. Most were from the East Friesland region of Germany. The first name that is known to us is the ENGERS family, to which children were born in Winschoten in the years 1772, 1776, and 1778. From the book of requests (Requestenboek) of the city of Groningen, it is evident that the Jews of Winschoten requested the certification of their synagogue protocols in 1778. From this we can surmise that there was already an organized community in that year. Services took place in Buiten Venne until 1797. That year, a synagogue was built on Langestraat with 70 seats. (According to another source, it was in Buiten Wittervrouwenstraat).
The 19th and 20th Centuries
The community grew rapidly during the 19th century. In 1849, the Jews were 10% of the population. The synagogue was no longer sufficient for the needs, and in 1845, after many years of demands for its expansion, a new synagogue was built and dedicated on Boschstraat. A few years later, in 1858, the community was split due to internal friction. The seceding community, lead by Gumpel Bloch, returned to the bosom of the community in 1860.
The first cemetery of the community, which was located in the city, served the city until 1928. It is not known when its land was obtained. 54 people were buried there between 1786 and 1828. At that time, they began to bury the dead in a new burial plot outside the city in Achteruit. There was a school in the city, with 73 students in 1859, and 89 in 1863. A new communal building was built on Boschstraat in 1900, which included a school, an assembly hall and residents for public servants. 52 students studied Jewish studies there in 1911. 12 students from adjacent towns received lessons from the teacher of Winschoten, who made the rounds to those places. There were seven members of the communal council. Aside from them, there was a committee for the poor and collections for the Land of Israel. There was a Gmilut Chasadim organization for men, and Ateret Nashim Vegmilut Chasadim organization for women. There was also a chapter of the Organization of the Benefit of the Jews of Holland.
There were many poor people in Winschoten during the 18th century. There were 280 needy people in 1902 37% of the members of the community! The situation improved as the 20th century progressed. The primary occupations were the cattle trade and butchering. At the end of the 1930s, 14 of the 26 local butchers were Jewish. The cattle trade was completely in Jewish hands. The Jews also had a significant portion of the tobacco trade, as manufacturers and workers.
Refugees from Germany arrived in Winschoten during the 1930s, primarily via the border crossing near Nieuweschans.
The Holocaust Era
In the economic realm, the Jews were pushed out of the cattle market during 1941. Since the Jews were pushed out of the public education system, a Jewish regional school and kindergarten were set up in Winschoten at the end of 1941. These were still operating in February 1943. At first, 25 children studied in the school.
In August, 1942, the Jews under the age of 60 were arrested, aside from a few officials, teachers, and members of the communal council. They were sent to the Westerbork Camp. During a large scale hunt that took place on the night before Simchat Torah of 5603 (1942), their wives and children were also arrested and sent after them to Westerbork. The last of the Jews were arrested and expelled during the early months of 1943. In total, approximately 500 Jews were expelled. Five returned from Westerbork. Nine were hidden and saved in Holland, and four succeeded in escaping to Switzerland. In total, almost 20 people were saved. On October 13, 1942, five hidden people were exposed
by the Dutch Nazis, the members of the WA of Winschoten. They had been hiding with farmers in Nieuwe Pekela.
The synagogue was pillaged, but they succeeded in transferring the Torah scrolls to Amsterdam, where they were saved.
The synagogue was sold after the Holocaust, and today it serves as a Protestant Church. The community itself united with Groningen in 1964. Today, a few Jews live there.
Gans, Memorboek pp. 262, 444, 490.
Jaarboek CO, pp. 245-246.
Joden in Groningen, Groningen, 1971.
L. de Jong, Koninkrijk, p VI-251.
Nederlandsch-Israëlietisch Jaarboekje, 1863, p. 46.
Nederlandsch-Israëlietisch Nieuws- en Advertentieblad, 27-10-1850.
NIW, 19-9-1024, 19-11,1948, 20-10-1962.
T. Potjewijd, Winschoten Leven en Werken in de 19e eeuw; met een lijst van joodse woorden en zegswijzen, Winschoten 1977, pp. 128-129.
Presser, Ondergang, p. 493.
J.H. Timmer F.C. Oortman, Uit Winschotens Verleden.
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