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In Memory of

the Former Jewish Community of Beckum

Zur Erinnerung an die

einstige  Synagogengemeinde  Beckum  




















Plaque at the site of the former

Jewish Community Building

at Nordstrasse 8 in Beckum


"Since 1743 this had been the site of the

Synagogue of the Beckum Jewish Community. 

It was destroyed on 9 November 1938

during the years of the National Socialist tyranny"







                    In 1925, years before our Exodus from Beckum,

                    JACOB RAPHAEL (1897 – 1971) wrote the following. 

                    Jack Raphael served in Beckum from 1924 to 1937

                    See Biographical Notes



         Our Wandering


        How hard and twisted is our path!

        Stones and jeers surround us:

                                          Our Wandering


                             The path,  -  no end in sight!

                             From eternity to eternity:

                                          Our Wandering


                             We remain.  And the sun escapes, -

                             A half-chanted tale of yearning:

                                          Our Wandering


                             And always stones and jeers!  Oh, why?

                             How hard and twisted is our path? -

                                          Our Wandering


                             J.  Raphael, Israelit, 9 July 1925

                             Translated by Zeev Raphael, July 2007



 Table of Contents:

  1.      Location
  2.      General Information about Beckum

  3.      History of the Jewish Community

  4.      Jewish Cemetery and other Memorials

  5.      Personal recollections of Beckum

  6.      The Holocaust in Beckum

  7.      Alex Falk

  8.      Documents

  9.      Photographs

  10.      Fate of Jews from Beckum

  11.      Bibliography

  12.      Links



1.    Location:


                 Beckum is located in the Münsterland  of Westphalia,

                    in North-West Germany.

                    Latitude: 51° 45' Longitude: 8° 2'                              


                The map shows Beckum located almost equidistantly to the

                    three neighbouring towns of Dortmund, Münster and Bielefeld.   

Map of BECKUM environment 1897

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2.    General Information about Beckum:

Wappen der Stadt Beckum


The Beckum coat of arms  shows three oblique silver colored strips of waves, on a red background.

The three waves symbolize the name of Beckum: Beckum = Beckem = Böckhem = Bekehem = Bachheim, - which means "home (Heim) of the streams (Bach)".   This refers to the three streams Kollenbach, Siechenbach and Lippbach that join together near Beckum, to become the Werse river.



View of old Böckhem



View of old Beckem



View of the Rathaus  (Townhall) of Beckum.  The core of the building dates back to 1440.  Since 1986 the building serves as the Beckum Town Museum.  The museum includes a section dedicated to the former Jewish Community of Beckum, with documentation of the former synagogue and the Jewish school.  It recalls the life and work of the Community that can be traced back to the year 1343.



The people of Beckum are proud of the antics of their Schildbürger.   At the time of the Inflation in the 1920s they even issued NOTGELD  (emergency notes) with those Schildbürger as the topic.   Here are some of those tales:


The Cow on the City Wall:  Grass had been growing wildly on the city wall.  The Schildbürger decided that a cow should graze the grass.  How will the cow get to the grass?   Three strong men dragged the cow up to the top of the wall,  with the aid of a rope.   But the rope had been wound around the neck of the cow, so by the time it reached the top, it had choked to death… 


The New City Hall.  The Schildbürger had decided to build a fine new City Hall.  But the architect forgot to include windows, with the result that it was pitch dark inside the hall.    The Schildbürger attempted to collect the sunlight into buckets and sacks, and to carry it inside.  The attempt failed…


Moving the City Hall.  A jacket was used to mark the progress of moving the Hall.   While the  Schildbürger pushed on the wall,  a passing tramp took the jacket.   They believed that the Hall had been moved too far…


The Sundial.   The City Council decided to place a sundial on the market place, so that the citizens "shall know the time of the day".   The Mayor then ordered it to be covered with a roof to protect the dial from the sun.   The following day the  Schildbürger were surprised that they could not read the time on the sundial…


Recent History: 


The First World War and the subsequent inflation had followed an economic boom. The seizure of power by the National Socialists in 1933 put an end to the democratic work of the Beckum city council. During World War Two Beckum suffered only little destruction from air attacks.  In 1945 the town surrendered to the Americans without battle.  Following a period of post-war difficulties, Beckum developed into a modern and pleasant industrial city.  In 1974 Beckum celebrated its 750th Anniversary.   In order to honour the occasion, the Stadt Beckum published an impressive 350-page album.  The former Jewish Community of Beckum received only little mention.  See letter to the Stadtverwaltung.  Today Beckum is part of the Warendorf District, and together with its suburbs Neubeckum, Vellern and Roland, the town has about 39,500 inhabitants.  Thanks to its hiking tracks, nature reserves and recreation areas Beckum has become a popular target for holidaymakers.




Beckum, Stadt:
(1894 Amtsgericht und Post Beckum;
1927 Amtsgericht, Post und Finanzamt Beckum;
Besonderheiten 1894: Bahnhof der Linien Beckum-Ennigerloh und Braunschweig-Hamm der Preußischen Staatsbahn; Landratsamt, Amtsgericht, katholische Pfarrkirche, reiche Kalksteinlager mit Brüchen, Zementfabrik, Dampfmühlen, Branntweinbrennerei;
Besonderheiten 1927: Landratsamt, Gymnasium, Reichsbanknebenstelle, Zollamt)
  4.631 Einwohner (1890), davon 368 Evangelische, 85 Juden
10.660 Einwohner (1925), davon 1.177 Evangelische,   9.266 Katholiken, 6 sonstige Christen, 111 Juden
11.508 Einwohner (1933), davon 1.127 Evangelische, 10.275 Katholiken, 2 sonstige Christen,   86 Juden
12.331 Einwohner (1939), davon 1.149 Evangelische, 11.106 Katholiken, 2 sonstige Christen,     2 Juden




Reichstag Elections in Beckum, 5 March 1933.


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3.    History of the Jewish Community:


Time-line (1343 - 1967)

For English translation  Click Here


History:  A chapter on the pre-1924 history of the Beckum Jewish Community

was included in a festive volume published on the occasion of

the 700th Anniversary of the town of Beckum in 1924.  

For English translation  Click Here


Location of Jewish Remnants in Beckum:
1.    Remnants of town fortifications
2.    Oststrasse 35.  Former residence of the STEIN family
3.    Ostwall.  The Jewish cemetery
4.    Nordstrasse:   Location of former Jewish businesses
5.    Nordstrasse 8:  Synagogue and Community House
6.    Westpark:  War Memorial of WW1
7.    Westpark: Memorial to Jews of Beckum
8.    Main Square:  Jewish section in Town Museum
Note: Thanks to Albertus-Magnus-Gymnasium in Beckum

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4.    Jewish Cemetery and Other Memorials:  Click Here



MAP:  Showing location of

      Beckum's Jewish Cemetery




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5.    Personal Recollections of Beckum:  Click Here


Photo taken 1932, before Synagogue wall

From L to R:

Rear row: Margarete CHERY (?), Gerd STEIN, Trude STEIN, Uschi REINGENHEIM

Front row: Marianne KRONENBERG, Gerd HEINE, Heinz RAPHAEL, Ernst HEINE    


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6.    The Holocaust in Beckum Click Here


Die SA marschiert ...

Photo taken 1936 at Oststrasse, corner Ostwall.

Note Family Stein on the balcony.




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7.    Alex Falk Click Here



Alex Falk (1857 - 1938) of Beckum

was one of 36 Jews who were murdered in Germany

during the 1938 Reichspogromnacht



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8.      DocumentsClick Here

Program for Inauguration Ceremony of

Nordstrasse Synagogue, 12 July 1867



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9.    Photographs:            

 a.  About Beckum:   Click Here

 b.  Private Pictures of Beckum:  Click Here


                                                BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS



10.    Fate of Jews from BeckumClick Here   

The destination of
112 Jewish residents of Beckum                                             


Photo: Holocaust Memorial at the Westtor


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11.   Bibliography:

a.    Books:  Click Here


b.    Articles from Newspapers and Journals: Click Here


c.    Other items:  Click here

 Note:  Enquiries concerning items listed in this Bibliography
                 may be addressed to the Webmaster.   CONTACT

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12.   Links:

a.    Auf den Spuren jüdischen Lebens in  Beckum
        (Traces of Jewish life in Beckum)
        A project by students of the Albertus-Magnus-Gymnasium in Beckum
b.    Beckum Town

c.    JewishGen Home Page

d.    ShtetLinks Directory

e.    JewishGen  Germany Database

f.     The RAPHAEL- FISCHER Story (a Presentation)

g.    RAPHAEL- FISCHER Family Chronicle  (Genealogy)

h.    Jewish Virtual LibraryA Virtual Jewish History Tour of Beckum

 i.    Raoul Wallenberg Foundation: "A Chronicle of growing up in the Third Reich"   

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              Webmaster:  Zeev Raphael, Haifa


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