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> Synagogue > Jewish Groningen


The first Jews settled in the province of Groningen around 1550. Mijchel Pijrkel then came to live in the city of Groningen. In the 18th century, Winschoten, Veendam and Appingedam also became important settlements for Jews

The first synagogue was not allowed to be put into use until 1756, in the city of Groningen in the Kleine Folkingestraat. In 1796, during French times, the Jewish people of Groningen were finally given equal rights. This allowed Jewish citizens to play an important role in society in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Notable names include Jozef Israëls (painter), Aletta Jacobs (the first female doctor in the Netherlands and known worldwide as a champion of women's emancipation) and the professors Leo Polak and Helmuth Plessner.

Jewish manufacturers also made a name for themselves, such as the Levie (men's clothing) and Catz (spices) families. The names of the musicians Benny Behr and Sem Nijveen are still a household name.

Around 1900 many Jews from the province sought their happiness in the city. During the Second World War, Jewish life in the province of Groningen largely came to an end. The vast majority of Jewish Groningen residents died in the Nazi concentration camps.

After the war, Jewish life flourished again, especially in the city of Groningen. The Jewish Municipality of Groningen reopened the synagogue on Folkingestraat in 1981. From September 2021, a permanent exhibition about Jewish life in the province of Groningen can be seen in the synagogue. The building is open to the public five days a week. In addition, there are many activities such as concerts, education and lectures.

On the website you will find a wealth of information about the history of the Jewish communities in the entire province of Groningen. With fascinating stories about famous and lesser-known people, cemeteries, companies, synagogues, streets, culture, religion and much more.

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