ESSLINGEN, city in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. The sum levied on Esslingen Jewry in the tax list of 1241 indicates that it was one of the largest communities in Swabia, comprising more than 10% of the town's population. In the 13th century the community owned a synagogue, a drinking (or dance) hall, and a cemetery. The "Jews' Street" is first mentioned in 1308, but Jewish residence was not confined to it. Jews were allowed to join the guild on payment; the main Jewish occupation was moneylending. When attacked during the *Black Death persecutions in 1349, the Jews in Esslingen set fire to their synagogue; some committed suicide and others fled. However, in 1366 Jews are again mentioned in Esslingen. There were 14 in 1387, 21 in 1391. Esslingen Jewry loaned 84 hellers to the city in 1384; a Jew named Saecklin lent money to Duke Leopold III of Austria some time before 1385. By 1439 there were no Jews left in Esslingen. In the 16th century several Jews were admitted for short periods at high rents and taxes. However, the city expelled this group in 1543. Later it admitted two Jewish physicians. In 1806 Frederick I of Wuerttemberg allowed five Jewish families to settle in Esslingen, who founded a hardware factory and organized a community. A synagogue was built in 1817–19, a Jewish elementary school opened in 1825, and an orphanage was established in 1842. The Jewish population numbered 88 in 1823; 101 in 1831; 160 in 1860; 145 (1% of the total) in 1892; and 128 in 1930. During the Nazi regime the interior of the synagogue was destroyed (1938) and the building later used as a center for training Hitler youth. The last 34 Jews remaining in Esslingen were deported in 1941–42, including some of the children of the orphanage and the headmaster. There were 12 Jews living in Esslingen in 1965. After 1992 Jews from the Former Soviet Union settled in Esslingen. About 230 Jews who belonged to the Jewish community in Stuttgart were living in and around Esslingen in 2004.
Germ. Jud, 2, S.V.; P. Sauer, Die juedischen Gemeinden in Wuerttemberg und Hohenzollern (1966), 173–78, incl. bibliog.; FJW, 341; R. Overdick, Die rechtliche und wirtschaftliche Stellung der Juden in Suedwestdeutschland (1965), 69–92, 144–150, 169–184. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: H. Hoerburger, Judenvertreibungen im Spaetmittelalter (1981); J. Hahn, Juedisches Leben in Esslingen (1994).