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KEMPEN, town in the Rhineland, Germany. The first settlement of Jews in Kempen must have taken place sometime before 1288, when persecutions claimed 17 victims, among whom was a Torah scribe, Isaac, and a young boy, Abraham, who was burned to death. In the 14th century Jews originating from Kempen are found in *Cologne. Kempen Jews were allowed to deal in meat, and to slaughter both for themselves and for non-Jews, but they had to use the public scales and pay a fee to the weight master. In 1330, in return for a loan of 8,000 marks, the archbishop of Kempen granted the Jews of Kempen protection and citizenship. However, in 1347 another persecution drove a number of Jews from the town, and this was followed soon after by the *Black Death persecutions in which Jews also suffered. In 1385 Jews are recorded as living in a Judengasse northeast of the market. There are no further traces of permanent Jewish settlement in the city until 1807, when under French rule there were 32 Jews in Kempen under the authority of the Krefeld consistory. A synagogue was consecrated in 1849; in 1854 there were 125 Jewish families affiliated to it, 26 of them (92 persons) living in the town of Kempen. From 1854 to 1922 the community had its own elementary school. In 1895 the number of Jews in the city of Kempen was 103 (1.5%), in 1925; 80 with another 500 or so living in the county. At the beginning of the 1930s there were 150 Jewish families in the county, and 23 of them (70 persons) dwelling in the town. The synagogue was destroyed in 1938. On July 25, 1942, about 200 Jews were deported from Kempen, mainly to *Theresienstadt.


A. Kober,… Aus der Geschichte der Juden im Rheinland… (1931); Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 395–6.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.