GELSENKIRCHEN, city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. A community was established there in 1874 and a synagogue built in 1885. There were 120 Jews living in Gelsenkirchen in 1880, 1,171 in 1905, and 1,600 in 1933. The community maintained an elementary school which in 1906 had 121 pupils. Siegfried Galliner officiated as rabbi before World War II. In Gelsenkirchen, as in most Westphalian congregations, Reform Judaism was dominant but an Orthodox congregation was established with its own synagogue and institutions. For some time from 1922 the rabbi of the Association for the Safeguarding of Traditional Judaism in Westphalia (founded 1896) had his seat in Gelsenkirchen. Under the Nazi regime two-thirds of the Jews left. The synagogue was destroyed on Kristallnacht, Nov. 9, 1938. On January 27, 1942, 350 of the remaining 500 Jews were deported to the Riga ghetto. The last Jews were deported to Warsaw and Theresienstadt. By June 17, 1939, only 720 Jews remained. On Sept. 9, 1939, the men were deported to the *Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Their families followed in 1942. There were 69 Jews in Gelsenkirchen in 1946. In 1958, a synagogue and communal center was built for the newly established Kultusgemeinde. The community numbered 110 in 1967 – mostly new residents – and had its own cantor and teacher. In 2005 the Jewish population was around 450, with a new synagogue under construction.


Festschrift der Synagogen-Gemeinde Gelsenkirchen… (1924); H.C. Meyer (ed.), Aus Geschichte und Leben der Juden in Westfalen (1962), 63–66, 162–3, 188, incl. bibl.; PKG. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Spector (ed.), Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust (2001).

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.