New Synagogue for Dutch Town

The new synagogue of Almelo, financed almost entirely by the municipality of that small town in eastern Holland, was inaugurated Sunday at ceremonies attended by Mayor Frederick Schneiders, Israeli Ambassador Eytan Ronn and local dignitaries. It replaces the 19th Century synagogue which survived the Nazi occupation, only to be demolished recently in the interests of modern town planning.

The new synagogue, located on Church Square, in the center of Almelo, is much smaller than the original. Its size reflects the shrinkage of the local Jewish community. There were about 200 Jews in Almelo in 1945. Today there are no more than 45 in the town and nearby villages and their new house of worship has only 45 seats. The bulk of Almelo’s Jews left over the years, many moving to Amsterdam or emigrating to various countries, including Israel. A relatively large number of Almelo Jews survived the Nazi occupation as did their synagogue with the help of local non-Jews. When the Nazis entered the town, the municipality requisitioned the synagogue on the pretext that it would be used as a potato storehouse.

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