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Most important commercial city of Bavaria. According to Wagenseil ("De Civitate Norimburgiæ," p. 71), Jews were living in Nuremberg as early as the beginning of the twelfth century. A tombstone bearing the name of Elijah b. Simon and dated Oct. 12, 1129, is said to be still in existence (comp. Zunz, "Z. G." p. 405, and note D). The next earliest tombstones still existing bear the dates 1273 and 1308. Legend declares that the Jews betrayed Nuremberg to Henry V. in 1106, but the historical fact is that he merely took the castle (comp. Aronius, "Regesten," p. 97). They are said to have purchased the favor of Emperor Lothar by the payment of large sums of money and to have sought refuge from persecution in the imperial castle in 1136.

At the end of the twelfth century the Jews were accused of having desecrated the host. The local memor-book refers to the persecutions under Rindfieisch. Moses ben Eleazar ha-Kohen calls the tragedy of Aug. 1, 1298, when 698 Jews were slain, the final act of the fifth millennium ("Maḥzor Saloniki," ḳinah 48, reprinted in Salfeld, "Martyrologium," pp. 343-345). Entire families perished, including R. Jehiel b. Menahem ha-Kohen with his wife Hannah and three children. It is recorded that a certain Jeremiah b. Isaac survived thirteen relatives, slain there, for twenty years. In the same year the emperor Albert issued an edict permitting the Jews to place themselves under imperial protection by payment of a certain tax.

Restrictions by Emperor Henry VII.

Emperor Henry VII. issued an edict in 1310, forbidding the Jews, on pain of expulsion from the city, to sell meat to Christians in the Christian slaughter-houses. Jews and Christians were not allowed to bathe together. Jews were not permitted to purchase eggs or live animals before nine o'clock in the morning; they were not permitted to engage in any trade, and their commerce was greatly restricted. In Nuremberg, as elsewhere, the Jews were driven to engage in usury, but they were not permitted to take more than two heller in the pound a week from citizens, or three heller from strangers.

Legal Status.

Worse befell them under Ludwig the Bavarian. The citizens wished to enlarge the city, but were prevented from doing so by the ghetto; they therefore petitioned the emperor, who decreed, in 1315, that any Jewish houses that were an obstacle to the extension of the city might be forthwith demolished. The ground on which the houses stood was taken from the Jews without compensation. In 1322 their taxes were pledged to the burgrave Frederick IV., who protected them to some extent. About 2,000 Jews, including 212 Jewish citizens, were at that time living in the city. They had come from forty-five different places in Germany, but chiefly from Neustadt, Ansbach, Freystadt, and Baireuth. A foreign Jew was not allowed to remain in the city longer than from one to four weeks (with the exception of a student), under penalty of a fine of one gulden per day. A Jew living in the city and desiring to become a citizen was required to take an oath of loyalty to the justice and the council of Nuremberg. Quarrels among Jewish citizens were adjudged according to Christian and municipal laws. Purely Jewish affairs were adjudicated before the "Judenmeister" and the council appointed by him. A Jewish citizen who wished to surrender his citizenship was forbidden to go outside the limits of the city on pain of a fine of 1,000 gulden, was required to pay the tax for the following year, and was not permitted to take any more pledges in the city; if he still retained a pledge or owned real estate he had to transfer it to a reputable Jew. In 1347 Charles IV. imposed a tax of 200 pounds heller upon the Jews of Nuremberg, payable in the city, to be devoted to furnishing wood for the castle in case of the emperor's presence there.

The Synagogue Demolished.

In the same year an edict was issued ordering the demolition of the synagogue and of some Jewish houses to make room for the Marienkirche. The Jewish citizens of Nuremberg had to pay 1,600 gulden to the burgrave, to the Bishop of Bamberg, and to Arnold of Seckendorf, receiving in return a plot outside the city that had been the scene of a conflagration. Images of saints were affixed to the houses erected on the site of the Synagogue and Jewish homes in order to wipe out all memories connected with the Jews. On the outbreak of the war between Charles IV. and Günther of Schwarzburg, in 1349, the Jews sided with the patricians, and, on Charles IV. proving victorious, were punished by being expelled from the city (though their expulsion lasted only for three years, 1349-52); a number perished at the stake (Dec. 5, 1349; a list of them is given in Salfeld, "Martyrologium," pp. 219-230).

In the Fourteenth Century.

On May 2, 1352, Vischlein the son of Masten, Semelin the son of Nathan of Grefenberg, and Jacob the son-in-law of Liebetraut appeared before the council requesting to be received again as citizens, declaring that, in return, they would remit all debts the citizens owed them and would sell all houses held in pawn; they agreed to settle only where the citizens permitted, and asked merely to be protected against the nobility. The council being satisfied with these conditions, an imperial edict was received, on May 26, 1352, permitting the Jews to settle in the city, while the emperor agreed henceforth not to pledge the taxes and imports of the Jews. But after a short time he pledged the Jews' tax to Berthold Haller for 1,500 gulden, to Paulus von Pensenstein for 2,000 gulden, and to Peter von Wartenberg for 300 gulden. Eight years later one-third of the Jews' tax was pledged to the city, which agreed in return to protect the Jews for fifteen years. In 1371 this agreement was extended for twenty years, the entire Jewish tax being pledged to the city, which in return was to pay 400 gulden a year into the imperial treasury.

The Jews fared much worse under the short, oppressive reign of Wenzel. In 1385 all of them were imprisoned without cause, and were released only on paying a ransom of 80,986 gulden. The emperor then took the Jews' tax away from the city, giving it to Berthold Pfinzing for 3,000 florins. Jews were forbidden to sell their property in any manner, and on the death of a Jewish citizen one-half of his estate went to the imperial treasury and the other half to the city.

Papal Decree of 1451.

In 1451 a synod convened at Bamberg, in the presence of the papal legate Cardinal Nicholas, and decided, among other things, that the Jews of Nuremberg should no longer be allowed to engage in commerce, but might take up trades again on condition of wearing a yellow ring fastened to their outer garment, and a red peaked hat, which could be exchanged for a red cap, while the women were obliged to face their veils with blue material. A foreign Jew staying temporarily in the city had to wear the "gugel," a hood with ends that hung down his back. This time, apparently, the council sided with the Jews, for it sent two embassies to speak for them, one to the pope and one to the burgrave Frederick VI. The envoys explained to the pope that usury would be taken up by the Christians; to the burgrave that the Jews were entirely impoverished, and were unfitted by hunger and illness to engage in any trade. The burgrave promised to intercede, and when he went to Rome, a little later, he succeeded in inducing the pope to recall some of the decrees issued against the Jews of Nuremberg. They were then permitted to engage again in the money-brokerage business, but only for a certain time.

Old Nuremberg Synagogue.(From Andreas Würfel, "Historische Nachrichten von der Judengemeinde zu Nürnberg," 1775.)Taxation.

Apart from the sums which were taken from them without cause, the Jews were obliged to pay every tenth pfennig of their income into the imperial treasury, one-half on Walpurgis day and the other half at Michaelmas. Each Jew, also, had to pay a coronationtax on the day of coronation of a new ruler. Every Jewish citizen, furthermore, had to pay the Opferpfennig—one gulden a year per head (at Nuremberg amounting to 3,000 or 4,000 gulden a year)—and the so-called "canonem" (fief shilling) on the "Oberst" day and on Michaelmas, which every Jew paid into the imperial treasury in token of complete submission. Apart from the wood-tax, mentioned above, the Jews also furnished straw mattresses, feather-beds, bolsters, covers, cloths, and dishes when the emperor was present at the castle.

The Old Synagogue.

The synagogue, which was torn down to make room for the Marienkirche, consisted of two one-story buildings, surrounded by a wall—one structure serving as a dwelling for the rabbi; when this wall was torn down corridors and buildings are said to have been found under it, which formerly were filled with goods. The second synagogue is said to have been at Wunderburggasse, No. 6. A Talmud Torah and a so-called "gymnasium" were connected with it. An office was in the court; in a cabinet in this building there was a board with a Hebrew inscription stating that a Jew was once beheaded there. Below this office was the tomb of a rabbi who was said to have been killed by a steer. When the congregation had outgrown this synagogue the community sought permission, in 1406, to build another, but was forbidden, though even foreign Jews were permitted to erect within the city limits tabernacles for the festival days. The rabbi officiated as principal of the school, and even scholars passing through the city were permitted to teach; Jacob Weil received such permission, as did also Jacob Levi (MaHaRIL; responsum No. 151); a certain R. Israel and R. Koppelmann taught side by side.

Costumes of Nuremberg Jews.(From Andreas Würfel, "Historische Nachrichten von der Judengemeinde zu Nürnberg," 1775.)Disputes of Rabbis.

But controversies frequently broke out among the teachers, as in 1383, between the rabbis of Nuremberg and R. Mende ofRothenburg, the former even going so far as to forbid children to study under R. Mende, on pain of a fine of 100 gulden for every child and loss of citizenship. Another quarrel may be mentioned—between R. Simelin of Ulm and the rabbis Seligmann, Lasen, and Gershom, which was decided by Jacob Weil. When it was planned to introduce the ritual of Nuremberg into the synagogue of Ulm, R. Simelin signed the agreement, but he refused to carry it out afterward, whereupon Jacob Weil sentenced him to entreat the public pardon from the almemar at morning prayer, first at Nuremberg and then at Constance. When a quarrel broke out between the rabbis of Nuremberg, Weil refused to listen to the suit, and the council was obliged to appoint Gottschall Ganz and two assistants to hear it.

Rabbis and Teachers.

The following rabbis of Nuremberg are mentioned: Jehiel ben Menahem ha-Kohen (d. 1298); Abraham ha-Kohen of Frankfort (d. 1298); Mordecai ben Hillel. (d. 1298); Meïr b. Uri (d. 1345); Süssmann and Gershom (at the time of the Black Death); Jacob Levi, teacher of Jacob Weil (1425-56); R. Israel, R. Koppelmann, David Sprintz (15th cent.); Jacob Pollak (from 1470). The following are mentioned as "Lehrmeister": Haimann (son of Kaufmann of Bamberg), who was allowed only twelve pupils (1381); Jacob Meister Meïr of Frankfort (1383; also cantor); Isaac of Salzen (1395); Isaac of Wörth (1435; teacher of children). The following cantors are mentioned, in addition to Jacob Meister: Michael von Weye (1396-1402); Wolfel Vorsinger (1425); Moses Sangmeister (1461).

Internal Organization.

The rabbi presided at the communal council, which was elected every year after Whitsuntide. This council consisted of five members, who pledged themselves, on entering upon their office, not to reveal any of the matters discussed. The council fixed the tax-rate, which, however, could not exceed ten gulden a year. The meetings were held in the office of the council, and the documents were signed by the rabbi and two "parnassim," while the remaining two members acted as treasurers. The council had general jurisdiction over the internal affairs of the community, including questions of marriage and inheritance; it kept account of the prescribed 100 cakes of salt which every Jew was required to have in his possession, on pain of a fine of ten pfennig for each cake lacking. Money matters were adjudged before the district court. In criminal cases the Jews were under the general laws of the state. Several of these cases are mentioned, together with the punishment inflicted. In 1363 a certain Joseph was hanged, but to the outside of the gallows, to indicate that the criminal was not a Christian. Similar sentences are mentioned—in 1420, 1430, 1436, and 1440. In 1436 several Jews were hanged for procuring and lechery. In 1440 the "Schulklopfer" was accused of being a dangerous alchemist, and sentenced to imprisonment and branding on the forehead. In 1467 eighteen Jews were burned on the Judenbühl, on the charge of having murdered four Christian children.

In especially difficult cases an oath was required. This ceremony always took place in the synagogue; the person taking the oath stood with his face toward the east and his right hand up to the wrist in the roll of the Pentateuch; then God was invoked, and the curse of fire, with all the other curses in the Bible, were called down upon his head if the oath were a false one. This oath, which was generally taken in a suit with a Christian, was composed in 1478 and printed for the first time in 1484 (quoted verbatim in Barbeck, "Gesch. der Juden in Nürnberg," pp. 24-26). See Oath.

Communal Buildings.

The slaughter-house was regarded as the property of the community; after the return of the Jews to Nuremberg in 1352 it was situated in the present Judengasse formerly South, No. 1107, S. The communal bath was used by Christians as well as Jews. In the beginning of the fourteenth century the cemetery was situated outside the city, but the enlargement of the latter between 1350 and 1427 brought the cemetery within the corporate limits. It covered so much ground (a consequence of the diseases which ravaged the city in the years 1367, 1407, and 1437) that it blocked the way of the Christians to their gardens.

The Preaching Friars.

In the second half of the fifteenth century an increasing number of attempts were made to convert the Jews. John of Capistrano preached at Nuremberg, and the Jews were compelled to attend his sermons. They were forced also to listen to the Dominican friar Schwarz, who undertook to convince them by proofs from their own writings. In consequence the relations between the citizens and the Jews of Nuremberg grew more strained. The wealthy citizen Antonius Koburger had the anti-Jewish work "Fortalitium Fidei" (Nuremberg, 1494) printed at his own expense in order to arouse hatred among the educated against the Jews. The council, which numbered among its members at that time the famous humanist Willibald Pirkheimer, decided to send a petition to the emperor requesting permission to expel the Jews. Emperor Maximilian, who was at that time at Freiburg, issued a decree (June 21, 1498) permitting the citizens of Nuremberg to expel the Jews, because (1) their numbers had greatly increased through immigration, (2) they had engaged in much usury, (3) they had entered the dwellings of other people, and (4) had aided suspicious persons, leading to thieving and crime. In the same decree the emperor transferred the property of the Jews to the city, or rather to the imperial bailiff Wolfgang von Parsberg. The houses of the Jews were sold to the city for 8,000 gulden, and the synagogue and the dance-hall for 350 gulden. The buildings in the cemetery were either burned or torn down; a street was laid out across the cemetery, and most of the tombstones were used as foundation for a road 65 feet wide by 279 feet long.

Expulsion, 1499.

The day of the exodus was first set for Nov. 6, 1498, then for Candlemas, Feb. 2, 1499, and finally for Lætare Sunday, 1499. The exiles were accompanied by an armed escort on account of the insecurity of the roads. Most of them settled at Neustadt, the residence of the widowed MargravineAnna of Brandenburg; others went to Frankfort-on-the-Main, and a few to Prague. Among Jewish writers this expulsion is mentioned only once, by Naphtali Herz Treves.

Intermittent Visits.

The municipal council of Nuremberg, not satisfied with having expelled the Jews from the city, endeavored to make their sojourn in the vicinity impossible. It protested when a Jew was made a citizen of Fürth. The citizens of Nuremberg were not allowed to buy meat from the Jews of Fürth, and trade with Jews was finally forbidden altogether (1533). Six years later, July 30, 1539, Nuremberg citizens were even forbidden to borrow money from the Jews, under penalty of a fine of ten gulden. These severe measures seem to have been relaxed after a time, however, for the Jews resorted to the gardens outside the city to make purchases and sales. Under-Maximilian II. they were permitted to buy all their food supplies at the public fairs near Nuremberg, though this permission was rescinded on June 17, 1693. They were permitted soon after to deal in the city itself on condition of reporting to the guard on entering the city, whereupon the guard detailed a musketeer to accompany each Jew during the day. The attendance of this escort was called a "lebendiges Geleite"; after a time an old woman was substituted in place of the musketeer. On the Jews' departure from the city the guard levied a toll upon the goods purchased. No Jew was permitted to appear in the market between eleven and one o'clock in the day. The various edicts intended to regulate the behavior of the Jews during their stay in the city were issued in the years 1721, 1723, 1732, 1774, 1777, 1780, 1787, and 1791. The desire is apparent in all these to admit the Jews to the city, although under the most severe conditions; for evident reasons, since the "lebendiges Geleite" system alone brought in an average revenue of 3,589 gulden a year.

New Synagogue at Nuremberg.(From a photograph.)Resettlement.

The first Jew permitted to settle in Nuremberg after the expulsion in 1499 was the lottery agent Simon Wolfkehle, at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In 1824 a Jewish girl named Caroline Levi was permitted to stay in the city to learn fancy-work. In 1839 Joseph Wassermann, who was a veteran soldier and was employed in the postal service as driver, was permitted to live in the city. The year 1852 saw the first divine services, held on the occasion of the great festivals, permission having been given only on the condition of their being observed without noise. In 1857 the Jews of Nuremberg formed themselves into an independent community of six members. The first rabbi was elected fifteen years later, when M. Levin of Zurich was called to Nuremberg as the first preacher; he organized the community and its school affairs. The temple was dedicated on Sept. 8, 1874, in the presence of the burgomaster Stromer, one of whose ancestors had persecuted the Jews while burgo-master of Nuremberg in the fourteenth century.

The community at present (1904) numbers 6,500 members in a total population of 261,083; its rabbi (since 1882) is Dr. B. Ziemlich. Among its institutions may be mentioned the Unterstützungs- und Armenverein, the Israelitische Männer-Wohltätigkeitsverein, the Lazarus und Bertha Schwarzsche Altersversorgungsanstalt, etc.

  • Naphtali Herz Treves, in Diḳduḳe Tefillah, Thingen, 1560;
  • Taussig, Gesch. der Juden in Bayern, 1874;
  • Würfel, Historische Nachrichten von der Judengemeinde zu Nürnberg, 1754;
  • H. Barbeck, Gesch. der Juden in Nürnberg und Fürth, 1878;
  • Aronius, Regesten, pp. 97-98, 213;
  • Ziemlich, Die Israelitische Gemeinde in Nürnberg, 1900;
  • Salfeld, Martyrologium, pp. 32-36, 61-65, 170-180, 341-343;
  • Neubauer, in R. E. J. iv. 15 et seq.;
  • Liebe, Das Judenthum in der Deutschen Vergangenheit, Leipsic, 1903;
  • Kohut, Gesch. der Deutschen Juden, pp. 167, 195, 274-275;
  • Grätz, Gesch. vii. 345; viii. 3; ix. 51, 57, 194;
  • O. Stobbe, Die Juden in Deutschland, pp. 49 et seq., 135-141, 211, Brunswick, 1866.
J. S. O.