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  • Maassluis, the Jewish Community

    Names adoptions mentioned in this article:
    Van Engers, Gazan, Katan, Koppels, Meijerse, De la Meuse, Van Rusting, Schweidt,Slier.

    The period prior to equal rights for all
    The separation of Maassluis from Maasland took place in 1612 – which until then had been one entity. Maasland was inhabited by many Roman Catholic landowners, Whereas in Maassluis many fishermen who belonged to the Lower Dutch Reformed Church, were to be found. The main source of income was fishery (and its suppliers) who yielded by far the most taxes. The location, the fertile region and its connection to the waterways made Maassluis an attractive place for trading. Thus there was an annual market and there were also special markets for fish, cattle, pigs and cheese. For important decisions the municipality of Maassluis always needed the approval of the tradesmen or -women. It also needed the approval of the town’s districts as well as in matters concerning entrance and departure from Maassluis and for the inspection of its streets. This law which dates from 1768 also played a big role in the establishment of a synagogue for the Jewish community.
    The granting of permission to settle in Maassluis was done by the Magistrate and the municipality. In 1619 the Government of Holland decided not to lay down special rules for Jews in the West, but to let each town decide whether or not to allow Jews in their towns. The towns were free to determine the conditions of admission, but they were not allowed to make the Jews wear a sign showing they were Jewish. The towns admitting Jews followed in practice the example of Amsterdam where they were allowed to live unhindered as a religious minority. In the capital Jews were in general not allowed to participate in the social life of the guilds and they could not call upon the municipal (poor) relief fund. Maassluis was free to admit Jews and to establish its own conditions.
    The granting of permission to settle had two reasons relief for the poor and a fair distribution of the municipal taxes. If one was a member of a certain church and one suddenly became poor, the costs could be carried either by the social welfare department of that church or by the community from which one came. If one departed to another municipality, one had to bring an affidavit from the previous municipality as proof.
    In 1768 the settling procedure in Maassluis went hand in hand with a by-law relating to its quarters. From that time on the quarter master walked through his quarter twice a year and recorded the changes. This was a precursor of the population register. This is especially important for the research of the migration of Jews, because before 1811 there generally are no details to be found for this group of the population. Accordingly we have rather a good picture of the Jewish population of Maassluis before 1811.
    In 1769 the By-law and ordinance for the Jews in Maassluis was formulated by the lady of the manor. In essence this was about the establishment of a Jewish community with its own synagogue. This law did not mention any special conditions. Here the prevailing laws were the quarter registers and the remainder was decided by the Magistrate, but in this respect Maassluis showed a different and more favorable attitude toward the Jews . Therefore, the first synagogue in Maassluis could be established in 1768, whereas in cities like Delft and Schiedam Jews could only begin to settle in 1786. According to a register from 1809 it seems that Maassluis was an attractive town for newlyweds. During the course of time, admittance of Jews was sometimes more strict than at other times.
    On June 19th, 1779 the governing body of Maassluis held a meeting regarding a petition entered by a number of shopkeepers trading in sheets, cotton, linen and wool. They wanted to appeal against strangers going from door to door with such wares and sitting in their little stalls on market days until late in the afternoon. In order to resolve these complaints the ‘servants of the law’, a kind of policemen, were told to take action. However, when the hawkers showed their unwillingness to comply, the sheriffs had to be involved. They had to do this without allowing themselves to be moved by accepting gifts or closing their eyes. The background of this decision was that one should be able to live in Maassluis in order to trade, otherwise this would lead to unfair competition. The Jews were also expected to contribute to municipal taxes.
    On June 23rd, 1792 it was decided that all Jews who requested permission to live in the town, would be considered inhabitants from that day on and could not refuse to pay either civil or church taxes.
    From the permits issued afterwards we see that almost always admission to live in the town was issued by the Jewish Parnassim.
    After 1795, the year of freedom, equality and brotherhood and the beginning of the emancipation of Jews, the above practice did not change much. Two Jewish Parnassim still had to show there was no objection to admitting Jewish inhabitants, a fact which in some cases caused difficulties. Only after 1811 no more questions arose concerning specific admission policy for Jews. The completely free settlement also guaranteed that Jews were free to leave or stay whenever and wherever they wanted.

    In 1688 the first house was bought by a Jew, in 1730 no houses were owned by Jews.Most Jews lived in rented homes. By the end of the 18th century, however, houses were bought. When buying a house one also had the obligation to take care of the road surface. If one wanted to refurbish or make changes to a house, one had to have permission.

    The ‘eruv’
    In 1785 the Parnassim of the Jewish community submitted a request to the magistrate to stretch a rope or cord at the end of the northern part of the Noordvliet, from the top of one of the trees to the front of one of the houses in order to have a certain closure. The same permits were also requested for other exits from Maassluis which were closed by a fence or by water. Determining these borders was necessary in order to ascertain the limiting point where Jews could walk to during the Sabbath and holidays. The magistrate agreed on condition that it would not disturb vehicles and in particular hay carts.

    The equalization of civic rights of the Jews
    The equalization of civil rights did not do much to change the situation of the Jews in Maassluis. There were only small changes. For instance, if one became an official one had to take an oath and now also rabbis of the Jewish nation had to take one. Also, Jews were taxed in a different manner to other inhabitants. However, in 1798 they were given equal rights by the fire brigade: they were now also allowed to use fire hydrants. The ten men who were drafted into the fire brigade were, however, given the rank of pumper, which was the lowest level.
    In 1808 Louis Napoleon initiated an inquiry asking whether a distinction was made between the Jews of Maassluis and other groups of the population with respect to living quarters, trade or civil rights. The reply of the management of Maassluis was negative.
    After 1805 more (financial) funds were put at the disposal of the Jewish community and two houses were bought in Nieuwe Bone Street, one to be used as a bath house and the other as a synagogue. This synagogue had already been there since 1768, but now it became the property of the Jewish community, which was no longer dependent on the goodwill of the landlords.
    Old traditions of quarrels and disagreements continued to exist. For instance someone’s wig was taken off and people pushed and mistreated each other during religious services. Complaints were submitted to the tribunal of Delftland. One of the people concerned was accused of throwing out his fishing nets in water belonging to another. He had to pay a fine and his fishing equipment was confiscated.

    Civic duties
    Army service was introduced into the Netherlands by Napoleon when the Kingdom was annexed to France (1811-1813). Military service also remained in force after the establishment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This was managed by a lottery system. The lottery decided which young man of eighteen was going to serve in the army. One did not have to perform military service oneself, but one could engage a substitute. Research indicates that the better situated Jews of Maassluis tried to find substitutes for their sons. There were two reasons for this. The Jewish parents were afraid that their sons would not be able to perform their religious duties during army service and the youngsters could not earn any money. These substitutions were fixed by contract. With the signing of the contract an amount of money was handed over and the rest was deposited in the battalion’s fund. It would be paid in several parts per year in order to prevent the person substituting from disappearing with the money. Not all Jewish young men could afford to be substituted -they did their military service and in the end they received a document proving that they had fulfilled their duty.

    Civic rights
    From 1850 to 1917 the so called right to vote according to census existed in the Netherlands. This meant that the right to vote was coupled to the level of income of male voters. One could vote for the States General, the Provincial States and the Municipal Council. The list of 1850 from Maassluis did not mention any Jews. In 1856 there was a change. Two persons fulfilled the demands on the basis of tax payments for land, personnel and patents. After 1885 the number of Jews with voting rights increased.

    Registry of (new) names (1811)
    In 1811 all inhabitants of the Republic were obliged to choose a surname. Identification of citizens became much simpler after the introduction of the civil registry and the recording of surnames. In the registry of surnames and adoptions in Maassluis we find two groups of Jewish names. The first group already had a surname and wished to keep it, like van Gelderen, Stibbe or Polak. The other group accepted a surname, like Van Engers, Gazan, Katan, Koppels, Meijerse, De la Meuse, Van Rusting, Schweidt and Slier. Some of these names were taken from locations (Van Gelderen – Gelderland, De la Meuse – the Maas- Maassluis, Polak – Polen). The name Gazan is from the Hebrew word for cantor. Meijerse and Koppels can be traced to the first names of fathers: Meijer, Jacob. Katan (Hebrew for small) is an obvious example of a nickname.

    The Jewish community of Maassluis from 1814 – a new organization for the Jews in the Netherlands
    Upon the return of King William I in 1813 a new period began for the Jews in the Netherlands. A new organization was established on the analogy and “classis” division of the Dutch Reformed Church. At the top of this organization we find the Ministry of Worship, which also had a department for Jewish matters. A second layer was formed by the main synagogues. After that came the departmental synagogues, or “auxiliary churches”. Every Jew was a member of a departmental synagogue. From 1814 onwards there was a small synagogue in Maassluis, to which in the very beginning also Delft and Schiedam belonged. Maassluis belonged to the main synagogue in The Hague. Each year the departmental synagogue had to submit a budget to the main synagogue and the Ministry. The nomination of the management of the departmental synagogue was also changed. The managers were nominated under supervision of the parnassim of the main synagogue and the Ministry of Worship. The other very important condition they had to adhere to was that they had to conduct their correspondence completely in Dutch. This was a problem because many Jews could not write in Dutch. In such cases a scribe was called in.

    The Management of the Jewish community in Maassluis
    The departmental synagogue in Maassluis was managed by three members; the Manhigim (leaders). The first was the supervisor (chairman), the second was the treasurer and the third was described as an elder. The first two were sometimes also described as church masters. Both the chairman and the treasurer could spend money on behalf of the Jewish community. For instance matzot were bought and small pensions were paid out.
    They had the keys to the synagogue. Another responsibility of the management was the keeping of order in the synagogue. This seemed to be no easy task, according to historical descriptions. They were also responsible for drawing up a budget and to make a statement of accounts. The responsibility to appoint and fire community clerks (teacher of religion, reader/cantor, the sexton and the shochet (ritual slaughterer)).The care for the poor was another duty of the management. In Maassluis frictions existed between members of the management and the kehilla and in the end the main committee of the Ministry had to interfere. The parnas with the longest term of office was charged with the collection of income from seating places in the synagogue, These funds were used to pay for the rent of the synagogue. If there were differences of opinion between the parnasim, they had to apply to the dignitaries of Maassluis; the sheriff, the mayors and the aldermen. The hands of the Jewish leaders were also tied financially. They were allowed to spend up to 10 guilders and with the approval of the magistrate – up to 25 guilders. For an expense of more than five guilders they needed the approval of the whole community. So all this was not very easy.

    The rabbinical quota
    Each town in the district of The Hague was obliged to pay a contribution to the income of the Chief Rabbi. This was called the rabbinical quota. The size of the amount contributed showed how much a community could afford and from 1813 complaints by community members were submitted to the Maassluis municipality who in turn forwarded these to the Jewish community. The deficits at the root of the difficulties were caused by the furnishing of the synagogue. In the end the quota for Maassluis was lowered.

    The synagogues

    The first synagogue
    The number of Jews in Maassluis had grown so much that by 1768 plans were made to establish a synagogue. Compared to Delft and Schiedam, this was relatively early for Maassluis because at that time no Jews were allowed to settle in those towns. In Vlaardingen the Jewish community started to grow only during the second half of the nineteenth century. In Maassluis the Jews were the first religious group to have their own building for worship, apart from the Reformed. Only in 1787 the Roman Catholics received permission to establish a church.
    Within the Jewish community there was a difference of opinion concerning the establishment of a synagogue. The community was divided between the fractions of Sluis and Leiden, who had many disagreements. Until 1769 there was a house synagogue in Maassluis, but during that year, after the disagreements were resolved, the synagogue in Bone Street was put into use. One year after the establishment of the synagogue there was tension again. Two parnassim of the Jewish community, Levi Samson and Salomon Moses were of the opinion that they couldn’t perform their religious duties because of the unrest caused by some persons in their community. They requested the magistrate to restore order. However, the magistrate “did not interfere in the government of the Jewish church”.

    The second synagogue
    For years this synagogue was dilapidated. The windows were closed with paper and refurbishing was never completed because the artisans were never paid in full. This was the situation in 1818. After about another 10 years, in 1827 the situation had deteriorated so much that the owners of the butcher shop next door submitted their complaint to the municipality of Maassluis. In their letter they indicated that the building was in such a dilapidated state that something had to be done without delay in order to prevent major accidents, to which in particular the owners and their servants were exposed. In order to get a better idea of the situation, the mayors and aldermen instructed the head of the public works department to report on the technical state of the building. His conclusion was that the building, its elevation, walls, roof, vault and in all probability also its foundations were in a state of disrepair and dilapidation. There was an immediate danger of collapse, because the window frames on which part of the walls rest, had sagged.
    Hereupon the municipality decided on 07.04.1827 to instruct the Jewish community to repair the premises in order to avoid accidents. For this they were given a period of two months, otherwise the whole building would be demolished. As a result almost the whole building was indeed demolished. A house next to the former synagogue was adapted so that services could be held. One could wait until there were enough financial means to build a new synagogue. In 1828 they received a pledge for 400 guilders from King William I. Thus, a building with a yard and a bleaching field were acquired for the sum of 150 guilders. However, this turned out be unsuitable for use as a synagogue and was therefore resold. In the end a coach house was found on the north side of Lange Bone Street. It was necessary to finance the refurbishing of the synagogue. All the money received from the King was available for this purpose. There were also contributions from private persons of several Jewish communities and lastly from the Baron Rothchild Francfort, who contributed 50 guilders. The total amounted to 1194.65 guilders.

    In November 1831 the refurbishing and furnishing were completed. On Friday, December 2nd, 1831 the new synagogue was inaugurated. Financial problems, however, kept pursuing this small community.
    In 1837 an application was made for a subsidy of 1200 guilders to the Ministry of Worship in order to buy land for a cemetery with a suitable fence. The request was rejected.
    During the following years there was a lot of unrest in the synagogue, leading even to physical blows. Peaceful coexistence returned only after 1851.

    The third synagogue
    In 1856 the first initiatives were started to get a third, but new, synagogue as the building in Bone Street had become dilapidated. Money was collected, inter alia four hundred guilders from the King. It turned out that the old synagogue could not be restored and thus another alternative was sought. In the end a suitable building was found on the north side of Zuidvliet (later called Groen van Prinstererkade). However, it still took quite a lot of effort until the synagogue could be put into use, mainly because of financial problems. The festive inauguration took place on April 30th, 1858. This building was used until the Jewish community in Maassluis came to an end.

    The Jewish community life in Maassluis

    The teacher, cantor, reader, sexton and ritual butcher
    In most small Jewish communities these functions were performed by one person but in Maassluis this was a bit different. A publication of 1809 shows that seemingly the functions of teacher, reader and sexton were indeed performed by one person. After 1811 he was called ‘gazan’. For this he received a yearly income of one hundred guilders. After 1822, however, the function of ritual butcher was performed by a different person. After a lot of deliberations all functions were conveyed to one person in 1833.

    The school and the children in 1878
    In 1870 the Ministry for Worship was abolished and from then on Jewish communities had to submit their requests to the Dutch-Israelite Church Council in Amsterdam. Elaborate lists of requests gave a good indication about the situation in the communities. In 1878, for instance, there were eleven paying and eight non-paying children in the Jewish school in Maassluis. All Jewish pupils went to public school and after that to the teacher of Jewish religion. They received Jewish tuition from the age of five until fourteen. One had to pay 25 cents per child in the Jewish school, but received a rebate for more children; for two children one paid 40 cents and for three – 50 cents. In 1886 the school in Maassluis was one of the best in the The Hague area.

    The ritual butcher (animal cutter, shochet)
    For every Jewish community, even the smallest, it was important to have a ritual butcher in the vicinity for the supply of kosher meat. For instance, in 1769 the community was not provided with a meat cutter. The Magistrate of Maassluis had to be informed within eight days who was to be appointed as ritual butcher. Upon demise or departure, another ritual butcher would have to be chosen.
    The same Jewish animal cutter was active between 1791 and 1822. During that period the shochet and teacher was one and the same person. In 1839 there was again a separate shochet. The financing of the ritual butcher showed a changing pattern. Between 1825 and 1833 he was paid by the Jewish community, after that by private persons. The tariff for slaughtering a cow was 50 cents, for a calf 30 cents and it was free for a sheep. There were professional butchers and there were those who butchered for their own use, mainly as a means to get kosher meat. From a list of butchers in Maassluis of 1773 it seems that all kinds of conditions were in force, like which kinds of meat could be slaughtered and how often. Restrictions also existed as to how the butcher shop had to be furnished. For instance in 1774 it was prohibited to make a gallery/arcade in which to hang the meat, but the meat was indeed allowed to hang on the wall. In the nineteenth century permission from the municipality was needed for all kinds of matters. Butchers had to be able to comply with all the conditions. In 1827 one could only slaughter on the porch. One was not allowed to throw meat remnants in the ditch or to keep live cattle inside the house.
    24.1% of the slaughtered cattle came from two Jewish butchers. If one takes into account that Jewish butchers did not slaughter pigs, this is a considerable amount of the total. Jewish butchers did not only supply meat to their own community but in the nineteenth century they regularly supplied meat to the orphanage of Maassluis.

    Circumcision, marriage and funerals
    Circumcision of new-born boys on the eighth day of their lives is an age- old Jewish practice which, according to the Bible, goes back to the patriarch Abraham. The acceptance of boys into the covenant of Abraham is considered to be an honor and is performed by qualified private persons. The circumcisers (mohel) were not official functionaries of the Jewish community They travelled throughout the country, even to the smallest places to perform this calling/profession. They kept a register of the circumcisions they performed. In the 18th century there was no mohel in Maassluis. The little boys were circumcised in Rotterdam by mohels who came from Rotterdam. In those registers Maassluis was called “Sluis”. Only at the end of the 18th century Maassluis got their own mohel. Not a single marriage contract (ketubah) is known from Maassluis. Sometimes a planned wedding did not take place. One such example exists from 1800. For this reason a fine of three hundred guilders had to be paid in that case and the presents had to be returned. Quite exceptionally we know what these included: a diamond ring, a black silk “pelu” , two silver purse snaps, two silver needle-cases and 53 guilders and 16 pennies. The bride-to-be gave: six silver spoons, silver plates, two silver salt vessels and two silver salt spoons.

    The cemetery
    It is not known when exactly the Jewish cemetery in Maassluis was laid-out. The first Jews who died there were transported to Rotterdam for burial. This started in 1754 and ended in 1781, when the last deceased was transported to Rotterdam. Sometimes Jews were transported to Leiden (1757) and Katwijk (1779) in order to be buried there. After 1781 there is no mention anymore of transports of the dead, so probably the cemetery in Maassluis was established at that time. In 1839 the cemetery was full and had to be extended. An adjoining plot of land was bought, but the money had run out and the whole complex could not be fenced in as this would have cost a thousand guilders. The mayors and magistrates granted a loan of 400 guilders, to be returned in installments of 25 guilders per year, without interest. The collection of the balance from the Jewish community was not successful. However, another solution was found; the positions of Tora reader and cantor were vacated in 1838 and three members of the community were found to be prepared to fulfill these functions for five years, without pay. This way money was freed to build a new wall around the cemetery. The last funeral took place in 1937. In 1948 the Jewish community of Rotterdam bought the cemetery from the municipality of Maassluis and in 1950 it was cleared out. The remains were re-buried in the General Municipal Cemetery and in the end the twenty three tombstones were also moved there.

    Society life
    From the thirties of the 19th century the Jewish funeral society “Gemilous Gasodiem” was active. This society had the goal to grant assistance to the sick and to carry out religious acts for the dying and dead.
    Apart from that, only a few facts are known about a society of women in the 19th century.

    Jewish poor relief in Maassluis
    Before 1796 Jewish communities in the Netherlands were themselves responsible for the relief of their poor. This changed after the Jews received equal rights and financial means to support their poor.
    In the year 1796 this applied to mentally handicapped, mentally ill, destitute and pregnant womem. The latter had to be cared for, according to the magistrate, by care takers of the same religion. However, this changed in 1795. The leaders of Maassluis received reports of the poor of several religions, names added, but the management of the Jewish poor relief objected to this. The government of Maassluis consulted with the national government which indicated that for the Jewish minority the implementation of this law should be done leniently. In the course of years, money, bread, fuel, as well as assistance in acquiring medicines, were supplied. Remarkable was the assistance to passing poor who according to old Jewish tradition had to be supported. Causes of poverty were bad management, difficulties during the winter and family status.
    In 1818 the Welfare Association was established by the authorities which had as its goal the education of paupers, beggars, vagrants, foundlings and orphans to towards a moral and honest existence in agricultural and prison colonies in Drenthe and Overijssel. In due course a few Jews from Maassluis were also admitted.

    Economic activities of the Jews of Maassluis

    Choice of profession
    Until far into the 19th century a free choice of professions for Jews was out of the question. In documents of the time we find the term ‘businessman’, which does not explain much. Jews were not welcome in guilds until 1795. Jews were neither working in the important street workers guild of Maassluis, nor in the fishing industry. They did however work as suppliers. For many business activities Jews depended on the consent of the local authorities, for selling coffee, tea and chocolate/cocoa, keeping a small inn or bar, butchering cattle as well as the placement of signboards. Consent was also needed to hold a fair and to practice acrobatics. For instance, a request to perform conjuring and magic tricks was denied. In a list of requested permits which had been approved from 1749 – 1779, there seem to have been no Jewish salesmen of vinegar, beer, salt and soap. Half a century later, in 1820, there were no Jewish bakers, liquor dealers, keepers of public houses, vehicle renters and seamstresses of woolen fabrics in Maassluis.
    Earning ones living was a constant concern for the Jews of Maassluis. Many tried to peddle, which was forbidden for non-inhabitants. There were Jews who practiced the profession of butcher for which a permit was necessary but there were also those who slaughtered kosher meat by themselves. As mentioned, around 1820 there were two Jewish butchers in Maassluis who were responsible for the supply of a substantial amount of meat.

    The sale of lottery tickets and the organization of lotteries
    During the period of the Republic, before 1813, Jews played an important role in selling lottery tickets in Maassluis. In 1726 a lottery was established consisting of six classes and a first prize of 100,000.- guilders. The lotteries were issued by the receiver-general who transferred them to so-called collectors. They in turn sold them to re-sellers or debtors who in turn sold them on to traders. This last group consisted mainly of Jews from Maassluis. For some of them this business was a side-activity, but it was an important source of income. In 1813 the national lottery became the ‘Dutch Lottery’ and as from 1816 it was continued as the Royal Dutch Lottery. One had to have a permit to sell lottery tickets which were granted by the Dutch provinces. For Maassluis this was County Council of South-Holland. After 1813 it was possible to organize a lottery privately, with the permission of the Municipality. For instance, lotteries (more to be considered auctions) were held of vases, gold and silver objects, or furniture.

    Coffee, tea and chocolate dealers
    In the 18th century Jews took part in the coffee and tea trade. Unlike in other cities in Maassluis the Jews could sell their wares in little shops. But there were rules that had to be kept, such as ‘not having light inside the shop in the evenings’, or ‘taking care that the boards hanging outside the house on the south-eastern side were taken inside’. Chocolate was often sold in the country side by wandering salesmen, but also in some small shops by Jewish tradesmen, or their spouses.

    The granting of credit/loans
    From the seventeenth century onwards there are only occasional data known about Jews granting loans or credit. In 1810 an effort was made to open a Loan Bank, but only in 1818 did the King grant permission for this. There is a notation from 1820 that all kinds of items were pawned, like watches, hats, trousers and other pieces of clothing.

    Other tradesmen
    Jews in Maassluis were active in trading gold, silver and watches. There were quite a few Jews in Maassluis who sold cloths. Jews were also active in the business of hats and caps. These were usually sold from house to house. In the eighteenth century many Jews in Maassluis tried either to sell from house to house or to obtain a stand in the local market. They asked the municipality of Maassluis to receive a permit to stay overnight. Such a permit was not always granted, or sometimes only for one night. The shopkeepers of Maassluis regularly complained to the municipality about Jews running around with merchandise, as they considered this to be unfair competition. The magistrate was forced to intervene because of the rapidly deteriorating economic situation. The following resolution was made in 1783: that in the future no Jews or other persons would be allowed to run around with goods without permission, except if, as a local citizen they had an established shop and lived in this town in a house with their whole household for at least four years without interruption. Hawkers went from house to house with packets, suitcases, carts or baskets.
    Jews also tried their luck by selling wines and distilled beverages. Others traded in pottery and china wares, dolls and other toys. There were also those who traded in furniture, rags and old clothes. At the end of the nineteenth century there was a Jewish photographer.

    Male and female servants
    During the period 1822 to 1839 there were about 30 Jewish families in Maassluis. Of these about a quarter often had a Jewish servant. In 1820 a wet nurse came to live with a Jewish family in order to feed their baby of several months. She stayed for three years. Less is known about men servants in Jewish houses. However, sons of butchers were boarded out in order to learn the trade with other butchers.

    The twentieth century
    As from the end of the nineteenth century the number of Jewish inhabitants in Maassluis declined fast. Nevertheless during the first decade of the twentieth century there came about a small revival, possibly as a delayed result of the Nieuwe Waterweg (1872)(new water way canal). In 1908 the festive commemoration of the 50 years’ existence of the synagogue was celebrated. In the years 1913-1914 not much was left of the Jewish community in Maassluis: 32 persons. It was a small community, but not too small to hold a minjan. An eventual merger with the Jewish community of Rotterdam was already being considered. During the thirties a minjan could not be held and several Jews from Rotterdam were asked to come to Maassluis. Already before the beginning of the Second World War there was no sign of a Jewish Community in Maassluis. In 1960 the synagogue was demolished. Some fragments of the building, like the frieze and the first stone, were transferred to the Maassluis Museum.

    Demography of the Jews in Maassluis

    In the nineteenth century there was an average of ninety Jewish persons in this town. After 1900 there was a decline in numbers; from 59 persons in 1899 to 32 in 1909-1914, to 16 in 1920 and 1922. The last summary was in 1930, when there were only eight Jews left.

    Migration pattern
    Jews who left Maassluis did so with the intention of living in the big cities.
    Maassluis was one of the few communities in the province of South Holland where Jews were allowed to settle early on. From 1750 the number of Jews in Maassluis increased steadily, in contrast to cities like Schiedam and Delft. In the 20th century the number decreased. The last Jewish families from Maassluis perished during the second world war.

    book: Joods leven in Maassluis, 1688-1942,
    mw. drs. E. Banki, drs. L.M. van der Hoeven, Maassluis, 2000
    ISBN: 90-803236-2-4
    website: http://www.joodsmaassluis.com/

    Extracted from the source:Yael Benlev-de Jong
    Translation into English:Nina Mayer
    Editing:Ben Noach
    Final review:Zelig & Ruth Matmor

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