Enger - history


History of the Jewish Community
1. 17th and 18th century
19th century
jewish parish
elementary school


History of the Jewish Community

1. 17th and 18th century
The social and juridical status depended on the sovereign: Friedrich Wilhelm (The 'Grosse Kurfuerst'; reign 1640 - 1688) allows the immigration of Jewish people into the areas of Brandenburg and Preussen, which Enger belonged to since 1609.

They were allowed to settle down in appointed places and special rights concerning trading and possession for example, were guaranteed by the so-called letters of safe-conduct. They had to pay Schutzgelder for these guarantees. In those times the first hint to a Jewish citizen in Enger could be found. (Alexander Nina).

During the reign of the next two kings , Friedrich Wilhelm I and Friedrich II, Jews had to pay higher Schutzgelder and the possibilities of trading were restricted again. A decrease of Jewish population was desired; to reach this aim the possibilities of family foundations were diminished again.

At the beginning of the 18th century three Jewish persons were known in Enger: Alexander Nina, Bendix Alexander and the widow of Itzig Meier. In the year 1730 the names: Abraham, Moses and Levi, followed and further: Berend, David, Samuel (1765), Gottschalk Abraham, Salomon Jacob, Selig Coppel and Jacob Katz (1796).

The first Jew who was allowed to possess a house in Enger was Moses Abraham; he bought his house in 1789 with the special permission of the king.

2. 19th century
From 1807 to 1813 Enger belonged to the Kingdom of Westphalia. During the French Revolution in 1791 laws of emancipation for French Jews were issued. These laws were brought to German territory by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1808, when he occupied Westphalia and other provinces. So the emancipation of Jewish people were first established in Germany. After Napoleon had left Westphalia, it became Prussian. In the year 1812 Prussia accepted the emancipation laws. Finally in 1847 Jewish people were fully emancipated.

In the 19th century 8 to 10 Jewish families lived in Enger. Most of them were established as merchants (Spanier, Ganz, Vorreuter, Katz, Isacson, van Pels); at the end of the 19th century most of them became great merchants or owners of  factories.

3. jewish parish
In the year 1812 the Jewish parish in Enger bought an area in order to build a synagogue, they were allowed to possess ground caused by the French occupation (1807 - 1813). Probably a parish, which met in private rooms for divine services existed before (since 1747).

The Jews from Spenge and Joellenbeck also belonged to the parish of Enger, later those from Wallenbrueck, too. Since 1879 only people from Enger were members of the parish. The quantity of members increased to 87 persons until 1843, but to the end of the 19th century the quantity decreased continuously; some families left Enger and others were assimilated in their Christian environment, because religious live didn't interest them any longer.

In the year 1895 the Jewish parish in Enger dissolved itself. Some families connected to the parish of Herford. In 1927 the synagogue in Enger was pulled down because of decay. The area was sold.

4. elementary school
In (ca.) 1812 a parish schoolmaster and organist (Josef Schneidacher) was employed in Enger. In April 1864 a teacher - Jesaias Meyer - appeared, who was certified by the Prussian government to teach elementary lessons, until this time the children went to public schools.

The school was closed in 1894, because the community couldn't  find qualified  teachers and because of differences concerning the money the parents had to pay. While social integration increased permanently, many parents sent their children to public schools.

Since 1895 all Jewish children (2) visited the Lutheran school. For religious education they went to Buende. After World War I religious lessons were taken in Herford, which could easily be reached by the children using the railway.

5. cemetery
It's not known when the cemetery was created. The area (1331 m2; 0.33 acres) is located outside the town at the Ziegelstraße. Probably it was created in 1826. In the beginning people were buried in sequence of death; later families were buried together. It's sure that there are more people buried than stones exist. Almost all Stones are inscribed in Latin and in Hebrew letters.

Nowadays the cemetery is looked after by the town office of Enger as a memorial place.

[jew.cemeteries] [Bünde] [Enger] [Lübbecke]

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