Delfzijl was one of the first places in the Dutch province of Groningen where Jews settled.

In 1655, a small group of Jews from the town of Emden received permission to live in Delfzijl. They were granted the right to perform religious duties including weddings, circumcisions, and Jewish burials. In the same year, they established a cemetery on the present-day Bredelaan in the nearby village of Farmsum. The cemetery was used by Jews from throughout the vicinity and was expanded once in 1703 and again in 1775.

DelfzijlDuring the eighteenth century, most Jewish residents of Delfzijl worked as traders in cattle, meat, or textiles. The community maintained ongoing commercial links with the Jews of Emden. At the close of the century, a number of German Jews moved to Delfzijl and Farmsum. In all, the economic situation of Jews in both places was quite reasonable.

In 1821, during the rationalization of Jewish institutions by the newly-installed official Jewish consistory of the Netherlands, Delfzijl was designated a regional center (Ringsynagoge). At the time, the Jews of Delfzijl held their religious services in a former cavalry stable. In 1842, King Willem II donated the former stable to the community. The community then sold the building and constructed and consecrated a new synagogue. That synagogue served the community until 1887 when it was sold in turn. A third synagogue, located on the Singel, was completed and consecrated in 1888. It was restored in 1931 and used by the until the Second World War.

A series of conflicts in the Delfzijl community led to a split that lasted from 1857 until 1860. Throughout the nineteenth century, the Delfzijl community maintained a complement of voluntary organizations that included a burial society, a women's society for the care of the synagogue, a society for the study of Jewish law, and a society for the provision of kosher food to Jewish patients in the hospitals of the province. By the mid-nineteenth century, the Delfzijl community had established its own religious school, which functioned until 1921. Local Jewish secular institutions eventually included two theater societies and choral societies. During the early-twentieth century, the directors of the synagogue were actively involved in the care of the Jewish poor. Membership in the Jewish community of Delfzijl reached its apogee in the late-nineteenth century and slowly declined thereafter.

The Marktstraat in Delfzijl, at the corner café Tivoli van Saartje Huisman, called 'Jeuden Saor', ca. 1903In March, 1942, during the midst of the Second World War, the Jews of Delfzijl were expelled to Amsterdam. From there the majority were deported to Nazi death camps and murdered. Throughout the war the Germans used the Delfzijl synagogue as a storage place for coal.

In 1947, the Jewish community of Delfzijl was officially dissolved and administratively merged into that of the city of Groningen. In 1948, the former synagogue was converted into a bath house. It now also houses the local offices of the Salvation Army. Since 1952, the cemetery at Farmsum is maintained by the municipal goverment of Delfzijl.

In 1982, a monument was unveiled in the local town hall of in memory of the Delfzijl's vanished Jewish community. In 1992, a plaque commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the deportation of local Jews was affixed to the façade of Delfzijl's railroad station.

In 1989, an exhibition was held in the nearby Termunten in memory of the Jews of that village murdered during the Second World War.

Jewish population of Delfzijl and surroundings:

1640 5
1660 50
1809 64
1840 109
1869 143
1899 196
1930 134


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