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19 th century stories
The first Jews of Dorsten
Dorsten 1820: "Violence in
the synagogue itself"
Eisendrath Family in Dorsten
The family name
Julia Eisendrath - portrait of
a Jewish Mama
Eulogy at the grave of
Julia Eisendrath
Jewish real property in Dorsten
Nathan Eisendrath emigrates
David Samson Eisendrath
Establishing in the USA
Migration of Jews from Europe
to North America
20 th century stories
Simeon B. Eisendrath, architect
Nathan Wolff and the Eisendrath family
Strouss, Eisendrath & Company
Visits to Europe since the 1920s
1933: A Protest Letter to
President Hindenburg (1933)
The Letter in full text
The Eisendrath branch in Zaandam/Netherlands
The last jewish place in Dorsten
Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath
Charles R. Eisendrath: An
identity and family history that
are inextricably linked (1999)
21 st century stories
Adam Eisendrath: The German Heritage Quest - February 2000
Dorsten contacts and
visits 2001-2007
Family Reunion 2010
The journey of two prayer books
Stolperstein memorials for the Eisendrath family
Who and why?
The Dorsten research group
and the Jewish Museum
of Westphalia
* The signature in the header above
is that of Samson Nathan Eisendrath
(from the year 1840)
Dorsten 1820:
»Violence in the synagogue itself«

  In June 1820 four of the eight Jewish families in Dorsten complained to the mayor, “...that the other families, led by Samson Nathan Eisendrath (1785-1857), no longer wanted to attend the services at the synagogue. They said that without any official authority Eisendrath had moved the synagogue to his own house and taken the Torah scroll, other “synagogue utensils” and money from the poor box. As a service could only take place, they said, when ten man were present and in order to “put Jewish matters right”, the people complaining demanded punishment for the renegades.

In 1808 two Jewish families were allowed to settle in Dorsten. For centuries Jews had been banned from the towns of Westphalia but this meant that a new Jewish community could now develop.

The “Dorsten Synagogue Dispute” of 1820 occupied the authorities intensively: The synagogue was a simple prayer room which the Jewish householders had established in 1809 in a private Christian house. There had obviously been conflicts for some time. On 29 June 1820 the mayor wrote to the regional rabbi Abraham Sutro in Münster: “Complaints and disputes among the local Jewish congregation do indeed occur frequently – but as much as I would like to obtain peace, I do not feel that I am in a position to judge the reason or lack of reason for these quarrels (…) as the Jewish congregation has its own laws with which I am not familiar and about which I have been informed by one side in one way and by the other side in another way.” (Pic.: Drawing of the Synagogue’s facade (1924))  

The regional rabbi first requested the mayor to “seriously call on the members of the said congregation to maintain strict law and order and to say that anyone person behaving in an unbecoming manner in the synagogue would be punished in accordance with the full rigour of the law.”
Disputes, which according to the mayor “mainly occur through non-compliance with private Jewish laws” had already lead to a split at Passover 1820. As “there had even been violence in the synagogue itself”, on 9 September 1820 he again asked the regional rabbi to arbitrate personally.
When he was officially questioned Samson Nathan Eisendrath, who in 1816 was appointed “Head of the Jewish Community” by the Royal Government of Münster, stated that he now wanted to bring an action against the complainants. Without the personal involvement of the regional rabbi conciliation no longer seemed possible. Samson Nathan made the necessary contribution towards the travel expenses which was to be divided up among the congregation later.
Sutro appears to have been in Dorsten in late autumn 1820 but he did not achieve anything. When Mayor Gahlen wanted to collect the contribution towards the travel expenses from the Jewish families, they refused “because the regional rabbi had not sufficiently settled the points at issue”.

Charter of the Jewish commmunity in Dorsten (1856)   Charter of the Jewish commmunity in Dorsten (1856)

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