Synagogue of Charleroi. Photo by Jmh2o – Wikipedia

Charleroi is a city known for having been a very important coal basin, but also as an industrial centre. Since the decline of these industries, the city has invested heavily in cultural development and is particularly appreciated as a historical centre of comics, with the Marcinellois printer Jean Dupuis creating the magazine Spirou in 1938.

The Jewish presence in the city is relatively recent, with a community being formed after the First World War. Most of the Jews came from Eastern Europe to work in the region’s coal mines, as did other arrivals from that region or from Italy at the time.

The next generation of Jews integrated into the town and diversified their trades, especially in the crafts, reaching a number of 600 families by the end of the 1930s. A synagogue and socio-cultural places were opened at this time. The Shoah decimated a large part of the Carolingian Jews.

After the Second World War, a small community was reconstituted, which inaugurated a synagogue in 1963, located in Rue Pige-au-Croly. The building also served as a community centre. Later, the building became home to a Museum of the Memory of the Righteous. The museum organises visits for school groups in order to fight against hatred and forgetting.

A Jewish cemetery plot is located in the Marcinelle cemetery, where there are also two monuments to the victims of the Shoah.

Sources : Consistoire de Belgique