“Winschoten”
Encyclopaedia of Jewish Communities: Netherlands
(The Netherlands)

53°09' / 07°02'

Translation of “Winschoten” chapter from
Pinkas Hakehillot Holland

Published by Yad Vashem

Published in Jerusalem


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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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[Page 287]

Winschoten, Netherlands

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Donated by Howard Engers

 

Population

Year General Population Jews % of
Population
1797   Approx 100  
1809   150  
1813   207  
1849   364 Approx 9.0
1860   628  
  Winschoten 4,972 504 10.1
  Beerta 3,420 37 1.0
  Finsterwolde 2,010 7 0.3
  Midwolda 3,292 9 0.2
  Nieuwolda 1,656 11 0.6
  Scheemda 4,033 60 1.4
1902   755  
1911   759  
  Winschoten 644 (including 45 Portuguese)  
  Beerta 33  
  Finsterwolde 12  
  Midwolda 33  
  Nieuwolda 13  
  Scheemda 24  
1940   Approx 520  
1941 Winschoten 14,661 432 y.m. 19 y.ch. 36 y.r.[1] 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 Engris 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

[Page 288]

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.

Bibliography

CB. 16-3-1934.
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.


Translator's footnotes

  1. I am not sure of the meaning of these abbreviations for the Jewish population breakdown (I expect that they are conventions used throughout the book.) Return


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