||Program for the dedication of the synagogue in the city and municipality in the province of South Holland (Zuid-Holland), the Netherlands, located halfway between Rotterdam and The Hague. The text begins with an outline of the program with twelve entries, which follow in facing Dutch and Hebrew pages.
From early on, the Jews of Delft held their religious services in private homes. Following the establishment of an official Jewish community in 1821, services were held in a home on the Pepersteeg. As the community grew, larger quarters were required and in 1847 an appropriate room was hired on the Choorstraat. Finally, in 1862, the community inaugurated a synagogue of its own on the Koornmarkt in the center of Delft. The Delft community's cemetery dates to 1840. It was located near the intersection of the present day Vondelstraat and Geertruyt van Oostenstraat. Jewish communal organizations in Delft included a burial society, a board for delivering aid to the poor, and a women's society that cared for the interior and appurtenances of the synagogue. The community also supported a small Jewish school that provided religious education to its children.
The Jewish population of Delft declined drastically during the first decades of the twentieth century. As a result, in 1927, the remaining Jews of the city petitioned the central consistory of Dutch Jewry for the formal dissolution of the community. The petition was later recalled. During the Second World War, the Germans deported and executed most of the Jews of Delft. That Delft's well-known Technical University was an early center of protest against German anti-Jewish measures was to no avail.
The Delft synagogue survived the war but its interior furnishings disappeared. The building was sold to the municipality of Delft in 1952. Ten years later, the Delft community was dissolved and merged into that of The Hague. The synagogue building was later declared a national monument and was restored in 1974. For two decades thereafter, the building served as a cultural center. In 1996, the former synagogue was reassigned to the Foundation for the Preservation of the Delft Synagogue (Stichting Behoud Synagoge Delft), which has since implemented a thorough renovation. The building was officially reopened in 2003 and now hosts cultural activities.
The Jewish students' union of Delft operates its own social and meeting center as well as a library and kosher dining hall. The Jewish cemetery is now maintained by the municipality. Jewish population of Delft and surroundings were 1809, 41; 1840, 83; 1869, 190; 1899, 96; and 1930, 46.
Delft is is primarily known for its typical Dutch centre (with canals), Delft Blue pottery (Delftware), the Delft University of Technology and its association with the Royal Family. The city dates from the 13th century. It received its charter in 1246. The association of the House of Orange with Delft began when William of Orange (Willem van Oranje), nicknamed William the Silent (Willem de Zwijger), took up residence there in 1562. William was the leader at the time in the struggle against the Spanish, the Eighty Years' War. Delft was one of the leading cities of Holland and was equipped with the necessary city walls to serve as a headquarters. When William was shot to death in 1584 by Balthazar Gerards in the hall of the Prinsenhof, the family's traditional burial place in Breda was in the hands of the Spanish. He was buried in the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), starting a tradition for the House of Orange that has continued to the present day. In 1654, the city was badly damaged and over 100 people killed in the Delft Explosion. The Delft Explosion occurred on October 12, 1654 when a gunpowder store exploded destroying much of the city of Delft in the Netherlands. Over a hundred people were killed and thousands wounded. About 40 tonnes of gunpowder were stored in barrels in a magazine in a former Clarissen convent in the Doelenkwartier district. Cornelis Soetens, the keeper of the magazine, opened the store to check a sample of the powder and a huge explosion followed. Luckily, many citizens were away, visiting a market in Schiedam or a fair in the Hague. Artist Carel Fabritius was wounded in the explosion and died of his injuries.
Egbert van der Poel painted several pictures of Delft after the explosion showing the devastation.