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The Jewish Community of Rudolstadt

Rudolstadt

A town and seat of the  of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt district in Thuringia, Germany.

In the Middle Ages there were occasional short time settlements of Jews in Rudolstadt. There was a more permanent Jewish settlement between 1784 and 1874. During these 90 years the community operated a prayer room in the private rooms of the merchant Schwabe and a cemetery that was destroyed during the Nazi era. Until 1816 there was also a mikveh in Ludwigsburg in Rudolstadt. In the first half of the 20th century there were still a few Jewish families living in Rudolstadt who attended religious services in Saalfeld on high holidays. Today only the buildings in which the prayer rooms were, are kept as residential houses. Any traces or references to Jewish life no longer exist in Rudolstadt.

--------------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz. 

Place Type:
Town
ID Number:
21374366
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Related items:

Ilmenau

A town in the Ilm district in Thuringia, Germany.

First Jewish presence: in or around the year 1300; peak Jewish population: 82 in 1910; Jewish population in 1933: 51

Ilmenau’s first synagogue was built in 1428. In 1492, after Jews were banished from Ilmenau, the synagogue was handed over to the local church. Jews returned to the town during the 17th century, but it was not until the early 1800s that a Jewish community was established there. Ilmenau was never home to a large Jewish population, therefore a proper synagogue was never built in the town; a prayer room, situated in the back of a building, served as a synagogue. Jews and Christians coexisted peacefully in Ilmenau. The anti-Semitic legislation and boycotts of 1933 were completely ignored, and it was not, in fact, until 1935 that residents began to obey the increasingly restrictive anti-Jewish laws. On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), rioters smashed windows in Jewish owned businesses, plundered the prayer room and burned ritual objects. Ilmenau’s remaining Jews were deported, marking the end of Jewish life in this small town.

__________________________________________________

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.

Arnstadt

A town in the Ilm district in Thuringia, Germany. Until 1990 in East Germany. 

The Jews living in Arnstadt in the middle of the 13th century had close ties with the Jews of Erfurt, to which many of them later migrated. Four anti-Jewish outbreaks between 1264 and 1466 resulted in massacres, and following the latter the Jews were expelled from Arnstadt. A Jewish community was reestablished in the 19th century. It numbered 59 in 1880, 137 in 1910, 87 in 1933, and 56 in 1939. Most of the Jews living in Arnstadt were prosperous, their main occupations being cattle-dealing and banking.

The synagogue, built in 1913, was burned down by the Nazis on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938).

The community was not reconstituted after World War II.

Erfurt

A city in Thuringia, Germany. Until World War II within Sachsen province.

21st Century

In 1998, the ancient synagogue was reconstructed and Jewish classes are held there. In 2003 the community numbered about 550 people, most of them immigrants from the former Soviet Union. The head of the community is Reinhard Sharm and the rabbi of the community is Consentin Pal. There is a community cultural center where Jewish and social classes are held, such as concerts, radio programs and meetings on a cup of coffee. The old Jewish cemetery was closed and a new cemetery was opened. There is a room for ritual purity, and eulogies are said in a special style. Tours of the museum, the ancient synagogue and the ancient mikveh are available.

History

Jews are first mentioned there in the 12th century. At first under the protection of the king, by the second half of the 12th century they had passed to the jurisdiction of the archbishop of Mainz, who composed an oath formula for them in German. In 1209 the king also relinquished his right to collect taxes from the Jews, which in 1212 was explicitly granted to the archbishop. In 1221 anti-Jewish riots broke out. Jews were murdered while some, preferring martyrdom, threw themselves into the flames. Among the martyrs was the paytan and cantor Samuel B. Kalonymus. Nevertheless, the Jewish community of Erfurt continued to exist and even to expand. After some time a new synagogue was built and well-known rabbis chose Erfurt as their seat. Between 1286 and 1293 Asher B. Jehiel probably lived there, and at about the same time Kalonymus B. Eliezer ha-Nakdan composed his Masorah Ketannah, still preserved in manuscript in Erfurt. During the middle ages the Jews of Erfurt followed the Saxony prayer rite. The community's book of ritual is preserved at Jews' college, London (ms. 104, 4).

At the beginning of the 14th century protection over the Jews passed to the municipality; however, in early March 1349, over 100 Jews were murdered by the populace, and many set fire to their homes and perished in the flames. Those who survived were driven from the city. Among the martyrs was Alexander Suslin ha-Kohen, author of Sefer ha-Aguddah. Israel B. Joel Susslin mentions the Erfurt martyrs in an elegy (Sefer ha-Dema'ot, 2, 126-7). The city council again permitted the Jews to settle within the city walls and build a new synagogue in 1357. In 1391 the king canceled all the debts owed by Christians to the Erfurt Jews and handed them over to the municipality for 2,000 gulden; the municipality claimed this sum from the Jews, but promised them to return part of the debts. Subsequently the Jews had to pay a special tax to the king's treasury.

In 1418 they were compelled to declare the amount of their property on oath, in the synagogue, and the king collected new taxes from them on this basis. In 1458 they were again expelled from Erfurt.

During the following century the Erfurt community became one of the largest and most important in Germany, some of the most celebrated rabbis officiating there. Meir B. Baruch ha-Levi served there for some time; a disciple of his was Hillel of Erfurt. In the middle of the 15th century Jacob B. Judah Weil taught there. During this period, Erfurt Jews played an important role in banking in Thuringia.

Around 1820 the Prussian authorities used the tombstones in the Jewish cemetery for the fortification of the city. At that time Jews again began to settle in Erfurt, numbering some 144 in 1840 when a new synagogue was dedicated. The community numbered 546 in 1880 (1.03% of the total population); 795 in 1910 (0.72%); and 831 in 1933 (0.6%).

After the advent of the Nazis the majority of the Jews left Erfurt, 263 remaining in 1939. The synagogue was burned down on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938). The community was compelled to pay for the petrol used for igniting the synagogue and for clearing the ruins. The men were detained in the local school, where they were mistreated, and subsequently deported to Buchenwald. The 173 Jews remaining in Erfurt were deported in February 1945 to Theresienstadt Nazi concentration camp.

 

The Jewish community after the Holocaust 

The community was renewed after the Holocaust. In 1952 a new synagogue and mikveh were built. In 1961, 120 Jews lived in the city. A memorial book was issued for Holocaust victims. The communal archives from 1855 to 1936 have been transferred to the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem. One of the famous manuscripts of the Tosefta was found in Erfurt after which it is named. According to Saul Lieberman in his Introduction to his edition of the Tosefta Bi-Feshuto , the manuscript was created sometime during the 12th century in Germany. 

Jena

A city in Thuringia, Germany.

Around 1400 there was a small Jewish community in Jena. In 1431 a synagogue that was located on Jüdengasse and Leutragasse is mentioned. From the middle of the 16th century to 1850 Jews were forbidden to settle in Jena. It was not until the second half of the 19th century that a small Jewish community formed again, but it never received the status of a religious community. The newly founded "Israelite Religious Community" endeavored to provide regular religious instruction for school-age children and worship service. Both took place in the private rooms of community members. The buildings in Scheidlerstrasse 3 and in the former Schützenstrasse 52 are now privately owned and used as residential buildings. The number of members of the Jena community developed as follows: In 1880 there were 30 Jewish residents in Jena, in 1890 there were 64, in 1895 already 85, in 1900 the number fell to 61 and in 1905 there were 145 Jews in Jena. The deceased of the community were buried in the Jewish cemetery of the Erfurt community. Although the Jena congregation was given the opportunity to set up a burial place in a separate section of the Catholic cemetery, the predominantly conservative congregation refused.

In 1925 there were 277 Jewish residents in Jena. In 1933 it was less than half with 111. By the end of 1938 all Jewish businesses were "Aryanized" or closed, the Jews living in Jena at that time were crammed into so-called "Jewish houses". From 1942 the deportations to the to the Nazi concentration camps began. After the end of the war eleven survivors of Jena Jews returned from Theresienstadt, and they again founded a small community which only existed for a very short time.

It was only after 1990 when the USSR collapsed, that Jewish emigrants came to Jena and formed a new community.

----------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz. 

Poessneck

Pößneck

A town in the Saale-Orla-Kreis district, in Thuringia, Germany.

Some Jews lived in Poessneck as early as the Middle Ages. From the middle of the 15th century, however, there was no information about Jewish life in Poessneck. Only in the 19th century are Jewish residents mentioned in Poessneck. These formed a small community, but it did not have the status of a religious community. The religious activities of the community were probably carried out in the private rooms of the house of David Binder, who was a wealthy merchant and owned a large business in Poessneck. This building is located at Breiten Strasse 2 and still exists today as a department store.

The Jewish community reached its peak in 1895, when 51 Jews lived in Poessneck. In 1933 there were still 16 Jews living in the place. Until the outbreak of war some Jews left the place due to exclusion and persecution. The businessman David Binder against whose company many Nazi attacks were directed, was deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1938 where he was murdered. After the war there was no longer a Jewish community in Poessneck.

-------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz. 

Saalfeld

A town and capital of the Saalfeld-Rudolstadt district in Thuringia, Germany.

Jews are already recorded in Saalfeld at the beginning of the 14th century. They formed a small community with a synagogue. At the time of the plague epidemic the Saalfeld Jews were also expelled, three of them re-established the Erfurt community in the years after the expulsion (1357). Only at the beginning of the following century were Jews living in Saalfeld again, they lived from trading in money and jewelry. The medieval Jewish community was probably also affected by the expulsions of Jews in the Wettin territory but there is no conclusive evidence of this.

Until the 19th century there was no evidence of Jewish life in Saalfeld. At the end of the 19th century, 31 Jewish people lived in Saalfeld, this number changes only insignificantly in the following years. There is a loose community without the status of a religious community. There was a prayer room in a private household, the burial of the dead took place in Erfurt. In 1933 there were 33 Jews living in Saalfeld, some of whom were able to emigrate; other Jews who remained in Saalfeld were murdered.

-------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz. 

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The Jewish Community of Rudolstadt

Rudolstadt

A town and seat of the  of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt district in Thuringia, Germany.

In the Middle Ages there were occasional short time settlements of Jews in Rudolstadt. There was a more permanent Jewish settlement between 1784 and 1874. During these 90 years the community operated a prayer room in the private rooms of the merchant Schwabe and a cemetery that was destroyed during the Nazi era. Until 1816 there was also a mikveh in Ludwigsburg in Rudolstadt. In the first half of the 20th century there were still a few Jewish families living in Rudolstadt who attended religious services in Saalfeld on high holidays. Today only the buildings in which the prayer rooms were, are kept as residential houses. Any traces or references to Jewish life no longer exist in Rudolstadt.

--------------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz. 

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Saalfeld
Poessneck
Jena
Erfurt
Arnstadt
Ilmenau

Saalfeld

A town and capital of the Saalfeld-Rudolstadt district in Thuringia, Germany.

Jews are already recorded in Saalfeld at the beginning of the 14th century. They formed a small community with a synagogue. At the time of the plague epidemic the Saalfeld Jews were also expelled, three of them re-established the Erfurt community in the years after the expulsion (1357). Only at the beginning of the following century were Jews living in Saalfeld again, they lived from trading in money and jewelry. The medieval Jewish community was probably also affected by the expulsions of Jews in the Wettin territory but there is no conclusive evidence of this.

Until the 19th century there was no evidence of Jewish life in Saalfeld. At the end of the 19th century, 31 Jewish people lived in Saalfeld, this number changes only insignificantly in the following years. There is a loose community without the status of a religious community. There was a prayer room in a private household, the burial of the dead took place in Erfurt. In 1933 there were 33 Jews living in Saalfeld, some of whom were able to emigrate; other Jews who remained in Saalfeld were murdered.

-------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz. 

Poessneck

Pößneck

A town in the Saale-Orla-Kreis district, in Thuringia, Germany.

Some Jews lived in Poessneck as early as the Middle Ages. From the middle of the 15th century, however, there was no information about Jewish life in Poessneck. Only in the 19th century are Jewish residents mentioned in Poessneck. These formed a small community, but it did not have the status of a religious community. The religious activities of the community were probably carried out in the private rooms of the house of David Binder, who was a wealthy merchant and owned a large business in Poessneck. This building is located at Breiten Strasse 2 and still exists today as a department store.

The Jewish community reached its peak in 1895, when 51 Jews lived in Poessneck. In 1933 there were still 16 Jews living in the place. Until the outbreak of war some Jews left the place due to exclusion and persecution. The businessman David Binder against whose company many Nazi attacks were directed, was deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1938 where he was murdered. After the war there was no longer a Jewish community in Poessneck.

-------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz. 

Jena

A city in Thuringia, Germany.

Around 1400 there was a small Jewish community in Jena. In 1431 a synagogue that was located on Jüdengasse and Leutragasse is mentioned. From the middle of the 16th century to 1850 Jews were forbidden to settle in Jena. It was not until the second half of the 19th century that a small Jewish community formed again, but it never received the status of a religious community. The newly founded "Israelite Religious Community" endeavored to provide regular religious instruction for school-age children and worship service. Both took place in the private rooms of community members. The buildings in Scheidlerstrasse 3 and in the former Schützenstrasse 52 are now privately owned and used as residential buildings. The number of members of the Jena community developed as follows: In 1880 there were 30 Jewish residents in Jena, in 1890 there were 64, in 1895 already 85, in 1900 the number fell to 61 and in 1905 there were 145 Jews in Jena. The deceased of the community were buried in the Jewish cemetery of the Erfurt community. Although the Jena congregation was given the opportunity to set up a burial place in a separate section of the Catholic cemetery, the predominantly conservative congregation refused.

In 1925 there were 277 Jewish residents in Jena. In 1933 it was less than half with 111. By the end of 1938 all Jewish businesses were "Aryanized" or closed, the Jews living in Jena at that time were crammed into so-called "Jewish houses". From 1942 the deportations to the to the Nazi concentration camps began. After the end of the war eleven survivors of Jena Jews returned from Theresienstadt, and they again founded a small community which only existed for a very short time.

It was only after 1990 when the USSR collapsed, that Jewish emigrants came to Jena and formed a new community.

----------------------------------------

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz. 

Erfurt

A city in Thuringia, Germany. Until World War II within Sachsen province.

21st Century

In 1998, the ancient synagogue was reconstructed and Jewish classes are held there. In 2003 the community numbered about 550 people, most of them immigrants from the former Soviet Union. The head of the community is Reinhard Sharm and the rabbi of the community is Consentin Pal. There is a community cultural center where Jewish and social classes are held, such as concerts, radio programs and meetings on a cup of coffee. The old Jewish cemetery was closed and a new cemetery was opened. There is a room for ritual purity, and eulogies are said in a special style. Tours of the museum, the ancient synagogue and the ancient mikveh are available.

History

Jews are first mentioned there in the 12th century. At first under the protection of the king, by the second half of the 12th century they had passed to the jurisdiction of the archbishop of Mainz, who composed an oath formula for them in German. In 1209 the king also relinquished his right to collect taxes from the Jews, which in 1212 was explicitly granted to the archbishop. In 1221 anti-Jewish riots broke out. Jews were murdered while some, preferring martyrdom, threw themselves into the flames. Among the martyrs was the paytan and cantor Samuel B. Kalonymus. Nevertheless, the Jewish community of Erfurt continued to exist and even to expand. After some time a new synagogue was built and well-known rabbis chose Erfurt as their seat. Between 1286 and 1293 Asher B. Jehiel probably lived there, and at about the same time Kalonymus B. Eliezer ha-Nakdan composed his Masorah Ketannah, still preserved in manuscript in Erfurt. During the middle ages the Jews of Erfurt followed the Saxony prayer rite. The community's book of ritual is preserved at Jews' college, London (ms. 104, 4).

At the beginning of the 14th century protection over the Jews passed to the municipality; however, in early March 1349, over 100 Jews were murdered by the populace, and many set fire to their homes and perished in the flames. Those who survived were driven from the city. Among the martyrs was Alexander Suslin ha-Kohen, author of Sefer ha-Aguddah. Israel B. Joel Susslin mentions the Erfurt martyrs in an elegy (Sefer ha-Dema'ot, 2, 126-7). The city council again permitted the Jews to settle within the city walls and build a new synagogue in 1357. In 1391 the king canceled all the debts owed by Christians to the Erfurt Jews and handed them over to the municipality for 2,000 gulden; the municipality claimed this sum from the Jews, but promised them to return part of the debts. Subsequently the Jews had to pay a special tax to the king's treasury.

In 1418 they were compelled to declare the amount of their property on oath, in the synagogue, and the king collected new taxes from them on this basis. In 1458 they were again expelled from Erfurt.

During the following century the Erfurt community became one of the largest and most important in Germany, some of the most celebrated rabbis officiating there. Meir B. Baruch ha-Levi served there for some time; a disciple of his was Hillel of Erfurt. In the middle of the 15th century Jacob B. Judah Weil taught there. During this period, Erfurt Jews played an important role in banking in Thuringia.

Around 1820 the Prussian authorities used the tombstones in the Jewish cemetery for the fortification of the city. At that time Jews again began to settle in Erfurt, numbering some 144 in 1840 when a new synagogue was dedicated. The community numbered 546 in 1880 (1.03% of the total population); 795 in 1910 (0.72%); and 831 in 1933 (0.6%).

After the advent of the Nazis the majority of the Jews left Erfurt, 263 remaining in 1939. The synagogue was burned down on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938). The community was compelled to pay for the petrol used for igniting the synagogue and for clearing the ruins. The men were detained in the local school, where they were mistreated, and subsequently deported to Buchenwald. The 173 Jews remaining in Erfurt were deported in February 1945 to Theresienstadt Nazi concentration camp.

 

The Jewish community after the Holocaust 

The community was renewed after the Holocaust. In 1952 a new synagogue and mikveh were built. In 1961, 120 Jews lived in the city. A memorial book was issued for Holocaust victims. The communal archives from 1855 to 1936 have been transferred to the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem. One of the famous manuscripts of the Tosefta was found in Erfurt after which it is named. According to Saul Lieberman in his Introduction to his edition of the Tosefta Bi-Feshuto , the manuscript was created sometime during the 12th century in Germany. 

Arnstadt

A town in the Ilm district in Thuringia, Germany. Until 1990 in East Germany. 

The Jews living in Arnstadt in the middle of the 13th century had close ties with the Jews of Erfurt, to which many of them later migrated. Four anti-Jewish outbreaks between 1264 and 1466 resulted in massacres, and following the latter the Jews were expelled from Arnstadt. A Jewish community was reestablished in the 19th century. It numbered 59 in 1880, 137 in 1910, 87 in 1933, and 56 in 1939. Most of the Jews living in Arnstadt were prosperous, their main occupations being cattle-dealing and banking.

The synagogue, built in 1913, was burned down by the Nazis on Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938).

The community was not reconstituted after World War II.

Ilmenau

A town in the Ilm district in Thuringia, Germany.

First Jewish presence: in or around the year 1300; peak Jewish population: 82 in 1910; Jewish population in 1933: 51

Ilmenau’s first synagogue was built in 1428. In 1492, after Jews were banished from Ilmenau, the synagogue was handed over to the local church. Jews returned to the town during the 17th century, but it was not until the early 1800s that a Jewish community was established there. Ilmenau was never home to a large Jewish population, therefore a proper synagogue was never built in the town; a prayer room, situated in the back of a building, served as a synagogue. Jews and Christians coexisted peacefully in Ilmenau. The anti-Semitic legislation and boycotts of 1933 were completely ignored, and it was not, in fact, until 1935 that residents began to obey the increasingly restrictive anti-Jewish laws. On Pogrom Night (Nov. 9, 1938), rioters smashed windows in Jewish owned businesses, plundered the prayer room and burned ritual objects. Ilmenau’s remaining Jews were deported, marking the end of Jewish life in this small town.

__________________________________________________

This entry was originally published on Beit Ashkenaz - Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities website and contributed to the Database of the Museum of the Jewish People courtesy of Beit Ashkenaz.