Prussian manufacturing town near Düsseldorf, in the province of the Rhine. Small neighboring villages, embraced in the former electorate of Cologne, and which probably contained Jews, are mentioned in accounts of persecutions as early as the First Crusade, but no Jewish community is spoken of in connection with Krefeld. While the first mention of Krefeld as a town dates back to the middle of the twelfth century, the first Jew to settle there was Jacob of Mörs, in 1617. The Jewish population of Krefeld increased but slowly, and when the town, in 1702, came under Prussian control, the community was still small. Eleven years after this a royal edict required the magistrate to admit only such Jews as had received the king's permit. In 1765 Krefeld's small Jewish community erected a synagogue at its own expense; up to that time it had worshiped with the neighboring congregation of Hüls. In 1780 it contained but eleven Jewish families (about seventy individuals). In 1808 the synagogue there was rebuilt on a larger scale, Löb Karlsburg being installed as rabbi.
Under the French government Krefeld formed a consistorial diocese, the Jews of which were citizens of the empire, with full legal rights. By the Peace of Paris (May 30, 1814) Krefeld became again a part of Prussia; the existing conditions were allowed to stand, but a cabinet order of March 3, 1818, renewed the Napoleonic edict of May 17, 1808, which had imposed restrictions on Jewish money-lenders during a term of ten years, although in France itself the edict had lapsed (see
- Keussen, Die Stadt und Herrlichkeit Krefelds, Krefeld, 1859;
- Salfeld, Martyrologium, p. 418;
- Horowitz, Festschrift zum 125 Jährigen Jubilæum der Chebra Kadischa zu Crefeld, 1890;
- Rœnne and Simon, Die Verhältnisse der Juden im Preussischen Staate, pp. 36 et seq.