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The boy Arie Volchonok taking the oath of a Zionist youth movement in Ainring DP camp in Germany, 1946

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The boy Arie Volchonok (later Itamar) taking the oath of a Zionist youth movement in Ainring DP camp in Germany, across the border from Salzburg, Austria, 1946. On the wall behind him are photos of H.N. Bialik and Dov Ber Borochov.

The Oster Visual Documentation Center, ANU - Museum of the Jewish People, courtesy of Arie Itamar.

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Munich
(German: Muenchen)

Capital of Bavaria, Southwestern Germany

The first record of a Jew in Munich is from 1229, in a deed that mentions a Jew named "Abraham from Munich" who appeared as a witness at a trial in Regensburg. In the second half of the 13th century, Munich appears to have had a sizable Jewish community; the Jews lived in their own quarter and had a synagogue, ritual bath, and hospital. But life was not peaceful for the Jews of Munich. On October 12, 1285, in the wake of rioting following a blood libel levied against the Jews, 180 Jews who had sought refuge in the synagogue were burned to death; the names of 68 of the victims are listed in the Nuremberg Memorbuch, which dates from 1296. The Jews obtained permission to rebuild the synagogue in 1287, but for several centuries they remained few in number and suffered from various restrictions, and the hostility felt towards the Jewish community occasionally boiled over. During the Black Death, the community once again was the victim of a pogrom. However, by 1369 there were Jews once again living in the city, and in 1375 Duke Frederick of Bavaria granted them (and other Jewish residents of Upper Bavaria) the privilege of paying customs duties at the same rate as their Christian neighbors. Some years later, the Jews planned the construction of a synagogue and a hekdesh (consecrated property), but their plans do not seem to have been realized. The remission of debts owed to Jews ordered by Emperor Wenceslaus resulted in Munich's Jews losing all of their assets. They also suffered severely in 1413 when they were accused of host desecration. In 1416 the small community was grated some privileges, including permission to buy a lot for a cemetery.

The clergy succeeded in having all of the Jews of Upper Bavaria expelled in 1442, and 8 years later they were also driven out of Lower Bavaria, where many had taken refuge. Duke Albrecht III gave the Munich synagogue (located on the modern-day Gruftgasse) to Johann Hartlieb, a physician, and it was subsequently converted into a church. Jews were excluded from Munich and Bavaria for nearly three centuries (although there may have been some periods when their residence was permitted, as may be deduced from a renewal of the ban, announced in a 1553 police ordinance).

During the Austrian occupation after the War of the Spanish Succession, Jews were readmitted into Bavaria, and some presumably found their way to Munich. However, a new decree issued on March 22, 1715 again ordered them to leave the country. About 10 years later, a few Jews who had business dealings with the Bavarian count began to resettle in Munich, and by 1728 several Jews resided in the town. In 1734 the Court Jew, Wolf Wertheimer, took up residence in Munich and was joined by his family in 1742; in 1750, all Court Jews and Jews in possession of passes granting them freedom of movement were officially excluded from the general ban on Jewish entry into the town. A community was subsequently formed by Jews in Munich who had connections to the court. Of the 20 Jews who made up the community in 1750, there was only one woman and one child, attesting to the temporary and migratory nature of the community in Munich at that time. Except for the Schutzjuden ("protected Jews," i.e Jews holding letters of protection), the only Jews permitted to reside in Munich were those who had made loans to the state or who were otherwise seen as useful to the government; all others were permitted to stay only temporarily and had to pay a substantial tax (Liebzoll) for the privilege. This continued throughout most of the 18th century; it was not until the 1790s that the number of women and children in the town was proportionate to the number of men; in 1794 there were 153 Jews, including 27 men, 28 women, and 70 children, while in 1798 the figures were 35, 33, and 98.

At this time Munich Jews made their living as contractors for the army and the royal mint, merchants dealing in luxury wares and livestock, moneylenders, and peddlers. Since there was no legal basis for their residence in Munich, they did not have the right to practice their religion there, and every year they had to pay a special tax to enable them to observe the holiday of Sukkot. Until the end of the 18th century, Jewish women had to go to Kriegshaber (a neighborhood in the city of Augsburg, about an hour away from Munich by car) to give birth to their children, and it was not until 1816 that Jews were permitted to bury their dead in Munich, rather than transport them to Kriegshaber for burial. In 1805 a "Regulation for Munich Jewry" was issued (it would later form the basis for the Bavarian Judenmatrikel of 1813, the edict allowing Jews to acquire citizenship). Among other privileges, the Jews were permitted to inherit property and to conduct services, though the areas in which Jews were allowed to settle was still regulated.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the number of Jews in Munich was enlarged by immigrants, and by 1814 there were 451 Jews in the town. Two years later, the Jewish community was formally organized. They were given permission to establish a cemetery, and in 1824 a permit was issued for the construction of a synagogue (which was ultimately dedicated in 1827). The first Jewish religious school was founded in 1815, and a private one in 1817. The community played a leading role in Bavarian Jewry's struggle for civil rights, and delegates of the Bavarian communities met in Munich in 1819 and 1821 to present a unified front to the government.

During the second half of the 19th century the community continued growing rapidly, from 842 in 1848 to 4,144 in 1880, and 8,739 in 1900. As a result of increased immigration from smaller communities (especially during the last few decades of the 19th century by Jews escaping persecution in Eastern Europe), by 1910 20% of Bavaria's Jews (approximately 11,000 people) lived in the capital. Jews took on prominent roles in the cultural life of Munich, which itself was a center for German arts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were also more proportionally represented in Bavarian political affairs than in other German states.

After World War I a revolutionary government based on the Soviet model was formed. Kurt Eisner, Eugene Levine, and Gustav Landauer were prominent figures in the newly-formed government. The short-lived revolutionary government was overthrown by the Freikorps and the "White Guards of Capitalism" in 1919, prompting a "White Terror" against communists, socialists, and Jews.

During the interwar era of economic and political upheaval, Munich became a hotbed of anti-Semitic activity; many Jews of Eastern European origin were forced to leave Munich, and the city became the cradle of the Nazi party. There were sporadic anti-Semitic outbursts during this period until the Nazis seized power in 1933.

Dachau, the first concentration camp, was erected near Munich. At that time the Jewish community numbered approximately 10,000, and included an independent Orthodox community and many cultural, social, and charitable organizations. Munich's Jewish community was subjected to particularly vicious and unceasing acts of desecration, discrimination, terror, and boycotts, but it nonetheless responded with a Jewish cultural and religious revival.

Between 1933 and May 15, 1938, 3,574 Jews left Munich. On July 8, 1938, the main synagogue was torn down, on Hitler's express orders. During Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938, 2 synagogues were burned down, 1,000 male Jews were arrested and interned at Dachau, and one man was killed. The community center was ransacked. During the war a total of 4,500 Jews were deported from Munich, 3,000 of them to Theresienstadt; only about 300 returned from the camps. Meanwhile, approximately 160 people survived the war while living underground in Munich.

A new community was founded in 1945 by concentration camp survivors, refugees, displaced persons, and local Jews. The following 5 years also saw about 120,000 Jewish refugees and displaced persons passed through Munich on their way to the newly created State of Israel.

The Jewish community of Munich grew from about 1,800 people in 1952 to 3,522 in January 1970 (70% of Bavarian Jewry). In 1966 a Jewish elementary school was opened, the second such school in Germany. The Munich library contains a particularly valuable collection of Hebrew manuscripts.

In spite of this progress, the postwar community continued to be repeatedly victimized by acts of desecration and vandalism, mainly against the synagogue and the cemetery. In March 1970, the Jewish Home for the aged was burned down, and 7 people lost their lives. It is particularly important to mention the Summer Olympics of 1972, which were hosted by Munich, in which 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team—coaches and players alike—were massacred by Palestinian terrorists. German and Olympic officials were criticized for the mistakes and security breaches that allowed the attacks to happen.


In 1997 there were 5,000 Jews living in Munich.
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The boy Arie Volchonok taking the oath of a Zionist youth movement in Ainring DP camp in Germany, 1946

The boy Arie Volchonok (later Itamar) taking the oath of a Zionist youth movement in Ainring DP camp in Germany, across the border from Salzburg, Austria, 1946. On the wall behind him are photos of H.N. Bialik and Dov Ber Borochov.

The Oster Visual Documentation Center, ANU - Museum of the Jewish People, courtesy of Arie Itamar.

Image Purchase: For more details about image purchasing Click here, make sure you have the photo ID number (as appear above)

Munich
Munich
(German: Muenchen)

Capital of Bavaria, Southwestern Germany

The first record of a Jew in Munich is from 1229, in a deed that mentions a Jew named "Abraham from Munich" who appeared as a witness at a trial in Regensburg. In the second half of the 13th century, Munich appears to have had a sizable Jewish community; the Jews lived in their own quarter and had a synagogue, ritual bath, and hospital. But life was not peaceful for the Jews of Munich. On October 12, 1285, in the wake of rioting following a blood libel levied against the Jews, 180 Jews who had sought refuge in the synagogue were burned to death; the names of 68 of the victims are listed in the Nuremberg Memorbuch, which dates from 1296. The Jews obtained permission to rebuild the synagogue in 1287, but for several centuries they remained few in number and suffered from various restrictions, and the hostility felt towards the Jewish community occasionally boiled over. During the Black Death, the community once again was the victim of a pogrom. However, by 1369 there were Jews once again living in the city, and in 1375 Duke Frederick of Bavaria granted them (and other Jewish residents of Upper Bavaria) the privilege of paying customs duties at the same rate as their Christian neighbors. Some years later, the Jews planned the construction of a synagogue and a hekdesh (consecrated property), but their plans do not seem to have been realized. The remission of debts owed to Jews ordered by Emperor Wenceslaus resulted in Munich's Jews losing all of their assets. They also suffered severely in 1413 when they were accused of host desecration. In 1416 the small community was grated some privileges, including permission to buy a lot for a cemetery.

The clergy succeeded in having all of the Jews of Upper Bavaria expelled in 1442, and 8 years later they were also driven out of Lower Bavaria, where many had taken refuge. Duke Albrecht III gave the Munich synagogue (located on the modern-day Gruftgasse) to Johann Hartlieb, a physician, and it was subsequently converted into a church. Jews were excluded from Munich and Bavaria for nearly three centuries (although there may have been some periods when their residence was permitted, as may be deduced from a renewal of the ban, announced in a 1553 police ordinance).

During the Austrian occupation after the War of the Spanish Succession, Jews were readmitted into Bavaria, and some presumably found their way to Munich. However, a new decree issued on March 22, 1715 again ordered them to leave the country. About 10 years later, a few Jews who had business dealings with the Bavarian count began to resettle in Munich, and by 1728 several Jews resided in the town. In 1734 the Court Jew, Wolf Wertheimer, took up residence in Munich and was joined by his family in 1742; in 1750, all Court Jews and Jews in possession of passes granting them freedom of movement were officially excluded from the general ban on Jewish entry into the town. A community was subsequently formed by Jews in Munich who had connections to the court. Of the 20 Jews who made up the community in 1750, there was only one woman and one child, attesting to the temporary and migratory nature of the community in Munich at that time. Except for the Schutzjuden ("protected Jews," i.e Jews holding letters of protection), the only Jews permitted to reside in Munich were those who had made loans to the state or who were otherwise seen as useful to the government; all others were permitted to stay only temporarily and had to pay a substantial tax (Liebzoll) for the privilege. This continued throughout most of the 18th century; it was not until the 1790s that the number of women and children in the town was proportionate to the number of men; in 1794 there were 153 Jews, including 27 men, 28 women, and 70 children, while in 1798 the figures were 35, 33, and 98.

At this time Munich Jews made their living as contractors for the army and the royal mint, merchants dealing in luxury wares and livestock, moneylenders, and peddlers. Since there was no legal basis for their residence in Munich, they did not have the right to practice their religion there, and every year they had to pay a special tax to enable them to observe the holiday of Sukkot. Until the end of the 18th century, Jewish women had to go to Kriegshaber (a neighborhood in the city of Augsburg, about an hour away from Munich by car) to give birth to their children, and it was not until 1816 that Jews were permitted to bury their dead in Munich, rather than transport them to Kriegshaber for burial. In 1805 a "Regulation for Munich Jewry" was issued (it would later form the basis for the Bavarian Judenmatrikel of 1813, the edict allowing Jews to acquire citizenship). Among other privileges, the Jews were permitted to inherit property and to conduct services, though the areas in which Jews were allowed to settle was still regulated.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the number of Jews in Munich was enlarged by immigrants, and by 1814 there were 451 Jews in the town. Two years later, the Jewish community was formally organized. They were given permission to establish a cemetery, and in 1824 a permit was issued for the construction of a synagogue (which was ultimately dedicated in 1827). The first Jewish religious school was founded in 1815, and a private one in 1817. The community played a leading role in Bavarian Jewry's struggle for civil rights, and delegates of the Bavarian communities met in Munich in 1819 and 1821 to present a unified front to the government.

During the second half of the 19th century the community continued growing rapidly, from 842 in 1848 to 4,144 in 1880, and 8,739 in 1900. As a result of increased immigration from smaller communities (especially during the last few decades of the 19th century by Jews escaping persecution in Eastern Europe), by 1910 20% of Bavaria's Jews (approximately 11,000 people) lived in the capital. Jews took on prominent roles in the cultural life of Munich, which itself was a center for German arts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were also more proportionally represented in Bavarian political affairs than in other German states.

After World War I a revolutionary government based on the Soviet model was formed. Kurt Eisner, Eugene Levine, and Gustav Landauer were prominent figures in the newly-formed government. The short-lived revolutionary government was overthrown by the Freikorps and the "White Guards of Capitalism" in 1919, prompting a "White Terror" against communists, socialists, and Jews.

During the interwar era of economic and political upheaval, Munich became a hotbed of anti-Semitic activity; many Jews of Eastern European origin were forced to leave Munich, and the city became the cradle of the Nazi party. There were sporadic anti-Semitic outbursts during this period until the Nazis seized power in 1933.

Dachau, the first concentration camp, was erected near Munich. At that time the Jewish community numbered approximately 10,000, and included an independent Orthodox community and many cultural, social, and charitable organizations. Munich's Jewish community was subjected to particularly vicious and unceasing acts of desecration, discrimination, terror, and boycotts, but it nonetheless responded with a Jewish cultural and religious revival.

Between 1933 and May 15, 1938, 3,574 Jews left Munich. On July 8, 1938, the main synagogue was torn down, on Hitler's express orders. During Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938, 2 synagogues were burned down, 1,000 male Jews were arrested and interned at Dachau, and one man was killed. The community center was ransacked. During the war a total of 4,500 Jews were deported from Munich, 3,000 of them to Theresienstadt; only about 300 returned from the camps. Meanwhile, approximately 160 people survived the war while living underground in Munich.

A new community was founded in 1945 by concentration camp survivors, refugees, displaced persons, and local Jews. The following 5 years also saw about 120,000 Jewish refugees and displaced persons passed through Munich on their way to the newly created State of Israel.

The Jewish community of Munich grew from about 1,800 people in 1952 to 3,522 in January 1970 (70% of Bavarian Jewry). In 1966 a Jewish elementary school was opened, the second such school in Germany. The Munich library contains a particularly valuable collection of Hebrew manuscripts.

In spite of this progress, the postwar community continued to be repeatedly victimized by acts of desecration and vandalism, mainly against the synagogue and the cemetery. In March 1970, the Jewish Home for the aged was burned down, and 7 people lost their lives. It is particularly important to mention the Summer Olympics of 1972, which were hosted by Munich, in which 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team—coaches and players alike—were massacred by Palestinian terrorists. German and Olympic officials were criticized for the mistakes and security breaches that allowed the attacks to happen.


In 1997 there were 5,000 Jews living in Munich.