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Willem V van Oranje-Nassau
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Elias textielfabriek


-Karel 1. Sigarenfabriek
-Van Abbe Museum

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The Jewish community in Eindhoven.

In the eighteenth century, Jews settled along trade routes or in important market towns whenever possible. Eindhoven was one such place, located on the road between 's-Hertogenbosch, Hasselt, and Liège, with a weekly market and several annual fairs. However, until 1800, Jews were not allowed to settle in Eindhoven. They were only permitted to be present during the daytime. This restriction was based on a city ordinance from 1731, primarily targeting foreigners but disproportionately affecting Jews. As a result, they were compelled to find residence in the surrounding villages of Eindhoven (Woensel, Strijp, Gestel, Stratum, Tongelre, and also Helmond). House synagogues and Jewish cemeteries were established in Helmond and Tongelre. A Jewish cemetery was established in Woensel in 1747.

In 1772, the city council of Eindhoven was ordered by the Council of Prince Willem V to admit Jews and cease discrimination against them. However, until the civil emancipation in 1796, the Jewish residents of Eindhoven still faced numerous obstacles. From 1800 onwards, a small Jewish community began to form in Eindhoven. Living and coexisting among an overwhelming Catholic majority was not always without difficulties. However, as the years passed, the Jewish community became increasingly tolerated and accepted.

Due to successful entrepreneurship and industrial development, the Jewish community in the second half of the nineteenth century grew into a flourishing and prosperous community. Until the twentieth century, the Jewish community of Eindhoven remained a small bastion of Jewish knowledge and tradition. They played a significant role in the city's development. Around 1930, Eindhoven had the largest Jewish community in the province of North Brabant.

The Jews living in Eindhoven around 1800 mainly originated from the region between Cologne and Krefeld, as well as the vicinity of Bad Kreuznach in the Palatinate. In 1808, there were 100 Jews living in Eindhoven and 22 in the surrounding areas. Around 1900, there were 320 Jews in Eindhoven and approximately 60 in the surrounding places.

Initially, the Jews in Eindhoven worked as butchers, cattle traders, shopkeepers, and peddlers. Around the turn of the century, several Jewish families, including the textile manufacturer Elias, played a significant role in the city's industrial development.

In the 1930s, Eindhoven welcomed a large number of Jewish refugees from Germany, including many children. The Jewish population grew to 570 in 1940. During World War II, 266 out of the 570 Jews living in Eindhoven at the outbreak of the war were murdered, mainly in Auschwitz and Sobibor. Among them were 23 victims from the State Mental Asylum on Boschdijk. Throughout the war, an additional 339 Jews settled in Eindhoven, primarily from other places in the Netherlands, seeking refuge with their families. Of this group, 66 were killed. In total, 36 percent of the Jewish residents were murdered. Eindhoven and Tilburg have the lowest percentage of victims among the major cities in the Netherlands. Many were saved because they had good relationships with non-Jewish residents and survived the war in hiding. It is also believed that the Germans in Eindhoven were not as fervent in tracking down and arresting Jews who did not respond to their call for transportation to Westerbork or Vught. No evidence has been found of large-scale raids, as seen in other cities.

Although Philips protected its Jewish employees at the Philips Kommando in Vught, 39 individuals from this group still perished. Particularly during the hunger marches following the evacuation of the camps in Poland in 1945, where they had been transported on June 3, 1944.

The Jews who returned to Eindhoven from camps and hiding places after the war generally did not feel welcome. As a result, many emigrated within a few years, particularly to Israel.


De familie Philips was van joodse oorsprong en kende een aantal voorzangers en rabbijnen. 1 februari 1826 trad de familie toe tot de Nederlandse Hervormde kerk. In de meeste gevallen namen Joden een ander geloof aan om niet uitgesloten / gediscrimineerd te worden.


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Het bevrijdingsmonument


Despite all the opposition, some Jews succeeded in purchasing a house in Kerkstraat in Eindhoven in 1781 and renovating it to be used as a synagogue. In 1808, the synagogue was attended by 90 people, of whom 83 lived in Eindhoven, 5 in Woensel, and 2 in Stratum. The synagogue became too small, but thanks to a donation from King Louis Napoleon, they were able to demolish the existing synagogue and build a new one. It was inaugurated in 1810.

In 1851, the church board purchased three houses adjacent to the synagogue. The Jewish community had grown to a point where it was decided in 1861 to build a new synagogue. However, there was concern that permission would not be granted. The Roman Catholic church had been demolished, and a large new St. Catherine's Church was built on the corner of Kerkstraat and Rechtestraat, with a side entrance on Kerkstraat directly opposite the current synagogue. There were worries that the services in the synagogue would be disrupted by the organ music from St. Catherine's Church. However, the request was approved in a city council meeting in 1864 without much discussion. In Eindhoven, the Roman Catholic Church and the synagogue had always been located very close to each other, and both buildings were rebuilt. No archival documents have been found indicating objections from the Roman Catholic authorities regarding the proximity of the synagogue.

The synagogue was to be built under the architecture of Pierre Cuypers, who had recently received the commission for St. Catherine's Church. It is possible that the design was ultimately made by Antonius Cornelis Bolsius, an assistant of Cuypers.

On August 24, 1866, the new synagogue was consecrated. However, due to a severe cholera epidemic in the summer of 1866, a lavish celebration was canceled.

The synagogue was heavily damaged by the German bombing on September 19, 1944, the day after the liberation of Eindhoven. Restoration work began in March 1946, and the synagogue was reopened on May 22, 1947.

In 1953, there was a plan to widen Kerkstraat to create a through route between Paterskerk and Grote Berg. As a result, the synagogue had to be demolished.

In February 1959, the synagogue was demolished without protests from the residents of Eindhoven. However, the road widening project was never carried out. Approximately one year later, the old city hall on Rechtestraat was demolished to create a route from the Market Square to Kleine Berg. There was significant resistance from the residents to this plan. Ultimately, this breakthrough plan was also never implemented. On November 17, 1958, the current synagogue, located in two houses on Hendrik Casimirstraat, was inaugurated.

Portret van Bolsius door Heinrich Windhausen (1874)
Joodse Gemeente Eindhoven -N.I.H.S Brabant
Rabbijn Simcha Steinberg

Memorial plaque for the Eindhoven Synagogue.

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