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BIELEFELD , city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Jews there were massacreda during the *Black Death, 1348–49. In 1370 a few Jews again settled in Bielefeld. The prohibition of 1554 on Jewish residence in the duchy of *Juelich also applied to Bielefeld, but Jews resettled there in 1586. Their main occupations were commerce and moneylending. Jews from Bielefeld attended the fairs at *Leipzig at the beginning of the 18th century. The cemetery continued in use from 1665, until a new one was opened in 1891. In 1905 a synagogue to seat 800 was consecrated. The Jewish population numbered 65 in 1783 and 800 in 1933. On Nov. 10, 1938, the synagogue was burned down. At least 500 members of the community perished during the *Holocaust. Only 12 survivors returned to Bielefeld after the war. A few Jews settled there from other places, and there were 66 Jews living in Bielefeld in 1955. A new synagogue was inaugurated in 1951. The Jewish community numbered 23 members in 1989 and 193 in 2003.


Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 82; mgdj, 3 (1912), 14–21; U. Niemann (ed.), Ueberblick ueber die Geschichte der juedischen Gemeinde in Bielefeld (mimeo 1962); H.A. Maass, in: Historischer Verein fuer die Grafschaft Ravensburg, 65 (1966–67), 79–94. add. bibliography: J. Meynert, Die Juden in der Stadt Bielefeld waehrend der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus (1983); G. Renda, Juedisches Lebenin Bielefeld (1997).

[Zvi Avneri]