BOCHUM, city in northern Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The presence of Jews there is mentioned in 1349. A synagogue, erected in 1594, is mentioned again in 1652. In 1800 there were 27 Jewish residents (1.6% of the total population), mainly cattle merchants and butchers. The number increased to 1,002 by 1900 (0.27%) and to 1,152 in 1933. It maintained two synagogues (one established by the Orthodox Polish community), a ḥeder, a Hebrew school, a Jewish elementary school, eight benevolent societies, and cultural organizations. M. David served as rabbi from 1901 to 1936.
On October 28, 1938, some 250 Polish or stateless Jews were expelled from Bochum, and on November 10 – Kristallnacht – the main synagogue was set on fire and Jewish shops and homes were looted. Jewish males were arrested and temporarily interned in Sachsenhausen. By June 17, 1939, only 355 Jews remained in the city. During World War II they were deported to
in five transports embarking from Dortmund between January 1942 and March 1943. In 1943 and 1944 three forced labor camps were established in the city. In March 1945 about 2,000 of the workers were sent to Buchenwald; most were probably murdered. After the war about 40 Jews returned to Bochum. In 1953 the Jewish inhabitants of the neighboring towns of Bochum, Herne, and
united to establish a community, with the center in Recklinghausen, where a synagogue was consecrated in 1955. There were 66 Jews in the three towns in 1989. Since then, the number of Jewish inhabitants has increased greatly as a result of the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union. Consequently, the Jews of Bochum, Herne, and Hattingen formed an independent community in 1999, numbering 1,091 members in 2003.
PK; 50. Jahre Juedische Gemeinde Bochum (1892); FJW (1932/33), 158; Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 89–90. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Synagogen und juedische Volksschulen in Bochum und Wattenscheid (1988); M. Keller (ed.), Spuren im Stein (1997).