RECKLINGHAUSEN , town in Westphalia, Germany, where the presence of Jews is attested as early as 1305. The financier Gottschalk of Recklinghausen, who carried on extensive business from Lochern (in Dutch Gelderland), was killed during the disturbances caused by the Black Death in 1349–50. No organized community, however, came into being in medieval times, and there is no record of one in Recklinghausen until 1828. In the course of time, an active Jewish life developed and the community established a synagogue, communal center, elementary school, mikveh, and a variety of Jewish societies. Eastern European immigrants founded their own society and minyan. The Jewish population of Recklinghausen grew from 72 in 1880 to 298 in 1905. It dropped to 280 (5% of the total population) in 1933. From 1903 until 1922 and again from 1934 to 1938, Recklinghausen was the seat of a district rabbi. The last incumbent was Selig Auerbach, who later immigrated to the U.S. During the Nazi persecutions, many members of the community succeeded in emigrating from Recklinghausen, principally to Holland. On Nov. 9/10, 1938, the synagogue was destroyed, and subsequent deportations of the remaining Jews brought the community to an end. A new community of 52 Jews was established in Recklinghausen after World War ii in conjunction with *Bochum and Herne, numbering 76 persons in 1962. In 1960 and 1961 the "Synagoga" exhibition of Jewish art and folklore was held in Recklinghausen and was subsequently shown throughout Germany. In 1974 there were 60 Jews residing in the city. In 1997 a new synagogue was consecrated. Due to the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union, the community grew so that it was divided in 1999. The new Jewish community of Recklinghausen numbered 624 in 2004.
H.C. Meyer (ed.), Aus Geschichte und Lebender Juden in Westfalen (1962), 125–33, 165, 187, 255; Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 678–9; Monumenta Judaica, 2 (1963), 369, 379, 653. add. bibliography: W. Schneider, Juedische Heimat im Vest. Gedenkbuch der juedischen Gemeinden im Kreis Recklinghausen (1983); 1829–2004. 175 Jahre Juedische Kultusgemeinde Recklinghausen. Festschrift (2004).
[Larissa Daemmig (2nd ed.)]