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Virtual Jewish World: Hagen, Germany

HAGEN, town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. A small Jewish community came into existence in Hagen during the early years of the 18th century. Among the town's 675 inhabitants in 1722 were four Jewish families, two of them glassmakers and two animal butchers. Little is known of the community in the following decades, but in 1799 there is evidence of a significant settlement of 23 Jews, mostly engaged in peddling. During the 19th century their numbers increased, and they were particularly prominent in the development of the textile industry. In this period they established a school and finally built a synagogue in 1859. By 1897 there were 470 Jews among the population. On the eve of the Nazi regime in 1930, there were 679 Jews in Hagen. The synagogue was set on fire in 1938, Jewish stores and homes were destroyed, and all Jewish men were deported to Sachsenhausen-Oranienberg and Dachau. Over the next year emigration intensified, with around 300 managing to leave during the entire Nazi period. The remaining Jews were deported between 1942 and 1943 via Dortmund to Theresienstadt and Zamosc and from there to Belzec, and later to Auschwitz directly. In all, 153 perished. By 1956 there were again 20 Jews living in Hagen. The synagogue in Hagen-Hohenlimburg (Hohenlimburg was incorporated into Hagen in 1975), which was damaged in 1938, was bought and restored by the city of Hagen in 1960. In 1986 it was opened as a memorial site (Alte Synagoge Hohenlimburg). The Jewish community numbered 38 in 1989 and 338 in 2004. Most of the members are immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who came to Germany after 1990.

Sources:Hagen Municipality, Gedenkbuch zum tragischen Schicksal unserer juedischen Mitbuerger (1961); H. Zabel (ed.), Mit Schimpf und Schande aus der Stadt, die ihnen Heimat war. Beitraege zur Geschichte der juedischen Gemeinde Hagen. vols. 1, 2 (1994; Beitraege zur Foerderung des christlich-juedischen Dialogs, volume 11); idem (ed.), Adolf NassauMann des Glaubens und der Gerechtigkeit. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der juedischen Gemeinde Hagen (1989; Beitraege zur Foerderung des christlich-juedischen Dialogs, volume 4); A. Boening (ed.), Der juedische Friedhof in Hohenlimburg (1986; Beitraege zur Foerderung des christlich-juedischen Dialogs, vol. 3); B. Gase, Geschichte der Juden in Hagen (1986; Hagener Hefte, vol. 14).

[Ze'ev Wilhem Falk /Michael Berenbaum and Larissa Daemmig (2nd ed.)]

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