Pearl of the Ruhr: Unearthing a Jewish community in Werden, Germany

By THOMAS SIMON
September 24, 2017 18:12

It still is an uphill battle in a town that, indeed, did restore the gravestones at the Jewish cemetery after the windstorm Kyrill wreaked havoc in 2007.




A postcard of Werden in 1916.

A postcard of Werden in 1916.. (photo credit:Wikimedia Commons)

"IF YOUR family had been Christian, they would have been given a memorial in the center of town,” says Marc Mülling. “But this town prefers to blot out the Jewish contribution to its past.”

Mülling has spent the past 17 years researching the history of the erstwhile Jewish community in his German hometown, Werden, now part of the city of Essen. Early on, he discovered that the founders of the big wood manufacturing company W. Döllken & Co., established in 1887, were Jews. As it happened, they were my forefathers, the Simon family. Marc Mülling contacted me more than a decade ago. Since then, we correspond, talk by phone and meet frequently.

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