Jews in Wuerttemberg
Settlement in the Middle
Ages - impoverishment an expulsion decree of 1521 - new
settlements and equality - Holocaust
from: Wuerttemberg; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971), vol.
presented by Michael Palomino (2008)
state in [[South West]] Germany.
settlement in the Middle Ages - impoverishment due to
heavy taxation in the 15th century - ban from towns -
expulsion decree of 1521 and expulsions]
There is evidence that the Jewish community of *Heilbronn in
Wuerttemberg was one of the earliest in Germany. An
inscription bearing the name of "Nathan the Parnes", on the
entrance of the mikveh
[[ritual bath]], apparently dates from the latter half of
the 11th century.
Information on Jewish settlement in Wuerttemberg becomes
more definite in the early 13th century. Jews are known to
have settled in 65 localities there before the *Black Death
persecutions. These settlements suffered during the
*Rindfleisch massacres of 1298 and against in the *Armleder
uprising of 1335-37 but soon recovered. At that time the
more important Jewish communities were centered in
Heilbronn, *Ulm, *Esslingen, and Schwaebisch Gmuend.
At first the Jews paid their taxes directly to the (col.
king, the count of Wuerttemberg, or to a nobleman to whom
the king had granted taxing privileges; from the middle of
the 14th century, however, most cities acquired taxation
rights over the Jews living within them. Jews in positions
of financial responsibility were helpful to many cities
during a period of territorial expansion in the 14th
During the 15th century, however, many Jews in Wuerttemberg
became impoverished due to heavy taxation and the official
cancellation of debts that were owed to them. Throughout the
15th century the Jews were alternately enabled to settle and
expelled by the nobles, and by the end of the century they
had been banished from most of the towns. In 1521 a decree
was issued expelling the Jews from the entire duchy.
Nevertheless, some of them managed to remain in many of the
small villages during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Jewish settlement since 18th century - commerce - more
liberal regulations step by step]
Jewish settlement in Wuerttemberg was substantially renewed
only in the 18th century when Jews were first allowed to
visit fairs and trade in cattle; later they were allowed to
settle permanently in the duke's private lands and several
other limited areas. With the aid of Joseph Suess
*Oppenheimer several Jews were granted residence in
*Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg.
The dukes subsequently enacted more liberal regulations
concerning Jewish settlement, such as the Hochberg
Regulation of 1780. During the 18th century they retained a
number of *Court Jews who aided significantly in the
economic development of the duchy.
times with new rights - development of equality (1828) and
When Napoleon added large areas to to Wuerttemberg in 1806
the Jewish population rose from 534 to 4,884, and by 1817
there were 3,256 Jews living in 79 localities. Jews were
permitted to live in cities such as Ulm, from which they had
previously been excluded. The body tax (*Leibzoll) was
abrogated and Jews were accepted in the army.
The improved attitude toward the Jews did not deteriorate
after Napoleon's downfall. In 1828 a law was issued obliging
Jewish children to receive a secular education; this,
however, applied only to shopkeepers and craftsmen and
discriminated against peddlers, cattle traders, brokers, and
moneylenders. The law recognized the organization of local
communities, and in 1831 a central Jewish executive was
created in Stuttgart that functioned under governmental
supervision. The constitutions of the local communities were
drawn up along similar lines to those applied to the
Christian communities. The chief rabbi was a government
official; but when the chief rabbi Joseph Meir, who was of
Reformist bent, tried to introduce the 60 Hymns of Israel, mostly
of his own composition, into the traditional liturgy, most
congregations refused to adopt the proposal, although it
came from an official source.
However, the Jews did not gain full civil equality in
Wuerttemberg until April 25, 1828, and their religious life
still remained subject to governmental supervision. Full
autonomy was granted in 1912, and supplemented by additional
legislation approved in 1924.
The Jewish population increased from 8,918 in 1928 to 11,916
in 1925, organized in 51 communities. By 1933 the number had
dwindled to 10,023, in 43 communities.
- boycott day - emigration of many Jews, partly to
Palestine - deportation of Jews in 1938 - deprivation -
Anti-Semitism was already a significant political factor in
Wuerttemberg at the end of the 19th century. With the growth
of Nazism from 1925 to 1933, the party became increasingly
active in its propaganda campaign against the Jews
[[financed mostly by foreign persons as a gift against
After the rise of the Nazis to power [[on 31 January 1933]]
the boycott of Jewish goods as well
[[there was a boycott day, but the worldwide Jewish
organizations organized a big counter boycott against
Germany all the time from 1933-1945. Many Germans followed
the boycott day but went to make their purchases the day
as general harassment led many Jews to emigrate from
Wuerttemberg, and 9,000 left there in 1935. While the
[[racist]] Zionist movement had not been generally strong in
Wuerttemberg, 200 Jews from the village of Rexingen
emigrated to Palestine in 1939 to found the settlement of
[[The emigration was well organized by the Jewish
organizations in collaboration with the Nazis. The Jews
could bring German goods to Palestine, see *Haavara.
But at the end Palestine was projected to be occupied by the
Nazi troops and the Jews would have been victims again...]]
In October 1938 Jews of Polish extraction were deported back
to Poland. On Nov. 9-16, 1938, 18 synagogues in (col. 674)
Wuerttemberg were burned to the ground, and 12 others
severely damaged; 875 Jews were imprisoned. Jewish
enterprises were "aryanized"
[[the Hitler regime gave the enterprises to his political
"friends" in Germany and abroad, also in "neutral"
and a systematic plan put into action to rid Wuerttemberg of
its Jewish communities.
From 1941 to 1945, 12 deportations totaling 2,500 Jews
deported from Stuttgart; 260 committed suicide before
deportation. Only 180 survived the war; 200 Jews who had
intermarried were spared deportation.
After the Holocaust a few Jews returned to Wuerttemberg. The
community of Stuttgart was reconstituted and a new synagogue
built;for the most part what is left of the Jewish community
in Wuerttemberg are unused synagogues and abandoned
-- P. Sauer: Die juedischen Gemeinden in Wuerttemberg und
Hohenzollern [[The Jewish communities in Wuerttemberg and
-- Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 928
-- L. Adler, in: YLBI (1960), 287-98
-- Juedische Gotteshaeuser und Friedhoefe in Wuerttemberg
[[Jewish prayer houses and cemeteries in Wuerttemberg]]
-- A. Taenzer: Die Geschichte der Juden in Wuerttemberg
[[The history of the Jews in Wuerttemberg]] (1937).
[Z.AV.]> (col. 675)
Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): Wuerttemberg, vol. 16,
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