In 1647, a Jew was granted permission to settle in Coevorden and operate the local lending bank. He received the right to pray in his own house and was assigned a plot of land to serve as a burial ground. The local bank remained in Jewish hands throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

By 1760, almost a dozen Jewish families resided in Coevorden. In 1768, a community was organized. Synagogue services were held in a private house on the Kerkstraat and the community buried its dead in the grounds of the house.

CoevordenPrior to the introduction of civil equality to the Netherlands in 1796, the rights of the Jews of Coevorden had been subject to periodic restrictions. Nevertheless, Coevorden's Jewish population grew steadily throughout the second half of the eighteenth century.

In 1840, a synagogue was constructed on the site of the house on the Kerkstraat. The synagogue was renovated in 1879. Eventually, the community established a religious school which also served Jewish children from the nearby village of Dalen. The Coevorden community also maintained societies for the study of Torah, fund raising, and the provision of accoutrements for the synagogue, as well as social, recreational, and theater clubs. Later, a Zionist youth organization was established.

By the late-nineteenth century, the community had outgrown the cemetery on the grounds of the Kerkstraat synagogue. In 1894, a new cemetery was established adjacent to the public cemetery on the Ballastweg.


Under the German occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War, the Jews of Coevorden suffered the same measures as Jews elsewhere. In October, 1942 the majority were deported via the detention camp at Westerbork to Nazi death camps in eastern Europe. Only a few Jews from Coevorden survived the war.

In 1958, the Jewish community of Coevorden was officially dissolved and merged into that of the town of Emmen.

Although a number of the Torah mantles belonging to the Coevorden synagogue had been hidden in Amsterdam during the war, the majority of the accoutrements of the synagogue vanished without trace. The synagogue itself was sold soon after the war and was used for a time by the Reformed Church. The building was restored in 1976 and in the years since has housed the local music school. A plaque on its wall serves as a memorial to the murdered Jews of Coevorden.

The graves in the courtyard of the former synagogue have been re-interred in the cemetery on the Ballastweg, which today is maintained by the municipality. The Jews of nearby Dalen had maintained their own cemetery during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Restoration of the Dalen cemetery began in 1997. In the same year, a memorial stone with a plaque commemorating the murdered Jews of Dalen was placed in the cemetery. In 2001, the placement of a new fence to enclose the cemetery marked the completion of restoration.

Jewish population of Coevorden and surroundings:

1763 8 gezinnen
1768 13 gezinnen
1809 211
1840 225
1869 398
1899 289
1930 226


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