Zaltbommel

According to archival evidence, Jews resided in Zaltbommel on and off during the Middle Ages. The archives contain no mentions of a permanent Jewish settlement at Zaltbommel during the period.

The first individual Jew on record to have permanently resided in Zaltbommel was Kosman Gompers, who was granted a lease on the local bank in 1679. In his offer to lease the bank, Gompers demanded that he be the only Jew permitted to live in Zaltbommel. This may have been out of fear of potential competition. Enforcement of Gompers's request obviously had lapsed by 1748, the year in which a Jewish cemetery was opened in a former vegetable garden plot adjacent to the town walls of Zaltbommel. Beginning in the same period, Jewish religious services were held openly at locations including a synagogue in a private home on the Gasthuisstraat.

Kiddush cup, gift to the synagogue of Zaltbommel, 8 July 1862In 1785, a conflict over the community's statutes led the Jews of Zaltbommel to split into two factions. The split led to the establishment of a second cemetery in the Oliemolen. In the centuries that followed, two additional Jewish cemeteries were established in Zaltbommel: one near the Bossche Poort in 1823, and the second on the Maarten van Rossumsingel in 1901.

The first actual synagogue to be opened in Zaltbommel was consecrated in 1804. The building also contained a classroom in which the Zaltbommel community's children received Jewish religious instruction. As the decades passed, the building aged and the Jewish population of Zaltbommel grew, leading to the construction of a new house of worship. The new synagogue was inaugurated in 1864; its construction was financed in part by donations from Prince Hendrik of the Netherlands and from the Rothschilds.

The official board of the Jewish community at Zaltbommel also served as the board for administering aid to the community's poor. Local voluntary organizations included a burial society, a women's society for the maintenance of the synagogue, and a Torah study fellowship. The Alliance Israélite Universelle maintained a branch in Zaltbommel. A sub-committee of Centraal Israelitisch Weeshuis (Central Israelite Orphanage) in Utrecht was also active in the town.

The conversion to Christianity of three Jewish families from Zaltbommel in 1826 caused a local sensation. One of the converts, an off-spring of the Philips family, later became the founder of the company that grew to be one of the world's major electronics manufacturers.

In 1845, a religious school for the poor was established at Zaltbommel offering both Jewish and general education. Even though enrollment at the school declined from the late-19th century onward, a new school building was inaugurated in 1903. Membership in the Jewish community at Zaltbommel continued to fall over the course of the first decades of 20th century. At the start of the Second World War, community membership was approximately half of what it had been at the outset of the century.

Under the World War II German occupation of the Netherlands, deportation of Jews from Zaltbommel to the detention and transit camp at Westerbork began in November 1942. The last Jews remaining in Zaltbommel were forcibly removed to the transit and prison camp at Vught in April, 1943. Eighty percent of the Jews of Zaltbommel were murdered during the war. The synagogue building itself came through the war undamaged although a large part of its contents was stolen. What remained of the contents of the synagogue was donated after the war to the synagogue at 's-Hertogenbosch. When in 2003 the completely rebuilt synagogue in Sliedrecht was consecrated, these objects were donated to the Sliedrecht synagogue.  

Jewish life did not resume in Zaltbommel in the post-war years. The Jewish community at Zaltbommel was officially dissolved in 1947 and the locale placed within the jurisdiction of the Jewish community at 's-Hertogenbosch. The synagogue building was sold and subsequently was used as commercial space.
A monument to the memory of the murdered Jews of Zaltbommel was unveiled in 1969. The former community's ritual bath, located in the Minnebroederstraat was restored in 1996. The Jewish cemeteries at Zaltbommel currently are maintained by the local authorities. Restoration of 130 gravestones at the Bossche Poort, Maarten van Rossumsingel, and Oliemolen cemeteries was completed in 2002. 

Jewish population in Zaltbommel:

1809 109
1840 226
1869 254
1899 140
1930 71


Collectie en mediatheek

 Kidoesjbeker  1862 (voor)
object, kidoesjbeker. maker, onbekend (DK). materiaal, zilver. datering, 1862 (voor).
plaats, Duitsland (?). hoogte, 7.0. diepte, ø 6.6. collectie, Joods Historisch ...
Collectie > Museumstukken > 01996

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 Dossier  
Dossiers (158) van de Commissie voor Oorlogsschade mbt 155 joodse
gemeentes (Amsterdam en mediene), 1945-1950.
Collectie > Documenten > 00005954

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 Overzichtsfoto  1939 (ca.)
Benno Cats, Hans Engelsman, Elly de Wijze, Kitty Hes, onbekende, Marcel Hertzdahl,
Max Joosten en Betty Joosten in een straat in Zaltbommel, circa 1939.
Collectie > Fotos > 40011339

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 [Binnenland] : Amsterdam  
Vermelding van benoemingen met betrekking tot de Ned. Isr. schoolbesturen.
Collectie > Joodse pers > 20031385

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 De joodse gemeente Zaltbommel  1984
De joodse gemeente Zaltbommel.
Collectie > Literatuur > 11000129

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