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Freiburg im Breisgau

FREIBURG IM BREISGAU, city in Baden, Germany. Jews were imprisoned there in 1230 by the town's overlord, and released by King Henry VII. Rudolf I of *Hapsburg levied taxes from the Jews there in 1281. In 1300 the counts of Freiburg ratified the ancient rights of Freiburg Jewry. The rights to their taxes, which had been given for a short time to a Basle burgher, were restored in 1310 to the counts' authority, who granted the Jews a privilege in 1338. About this time the Jews owned 15 houses, near the synagogue and in other streets, shared by several families. The community, except pregnant women and children, was massacred by burning after one month's imprisonment, during the Black Death (January 1349). Emperor *Charles IV permitted the counts to resettle Jews in Freiburg in 1359. In 1373 a physician, master Gutleben, was admitted. In 1394 the Austrian overlord ordered that Jews should wear a special garb, with a coat and cap in dull shades; prohibited them from leaving their houses during Holy Week and from watching the religious procession; and set the weekly interest rate at 0.83%. In 1401 the Jews were expelled from the city although individual Jews were admitted from 1411 to 1423; the expulsion became final in 1424 but Jews continued to live in the nearby villages and towns. In 1453 they were prohibited from doing business in the city.

Some Hebrew works were printed in Freiburg in the 16th century as the result of difficulties with Hebrew printing in Basle. Israel *Ẓifroni printed a number of Hebrew books for Ambrosius Froben, among them Benjamin of Tudela's Massa'ot (1583), Jacob b. Samuel Koppelman's Ohel Ya'akov, and the first edition of Aaron of Pesaro's Toledot Aharon (1583–84). In 1503 and 1504, editions were issued of Gregorius Reisch's Margarita Philosophica including a page with the Hebrew alphabet in woodcut.

By the early 17th century Jews were able to enter Freiburg on business, accompanied by a constable. The first Jew received a medical degree from Freiburg University in 1791. There were 20 Jews living in Freiburg in 1846. Following the Baden emancipation law of 1862 a congregation was formed in Freiburg in 1863, and a synagogue was consecrated in 1885. It was burned down under the Nazis in 1938. The first rabbi, Adolf *Lewin, the historian of Baden Jewry, was succeeded by Max *Eschelbacher and Julius Zimmels. The legal historian Heinrich Rosen (1855–1927) was active in Jewish community life. Also of note at Freiburg University were the philosopher Edmund *Husserl, the economist Robert Liefmann, the jurist Otto Lenel, Fritz Pringsheim, the classical papyrologist, and the biochemist Siegfried Tannhauser. From 1933 to 1935, along with six other professors, they were dismissed (Pringsheim returned from England in 1945). The Jewish population numbered 1,013 in 1903; 1,320 in 1910 (1.58% of the total), 1,399 in 1925 (1.44%), and 1,138 in June 1933 (1.5%).

After the Nazi rise to power many Jews left the city. All 21 Jewish members of the faculty at the university were dismissed from their positions in 1933–35. Among those dismissed were Hans Adolf *Krebs, who later won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1953. Jewish students were reduced in number from 183 to 54. Most Jewish businesses were Aryanized by November 1938. Polish Jews were expelled to the Polish border in October 1938 and on Kristallnacht the synagogue was destroyed and 100 Jewish men were sent to Dachau. In May 1939, 474 Jews remained. In 1940, 350 Jews were expelled from Germany and interned by the French in the *Gurs camp; another 30 were deported to Theresienstadt on August 23, 1942, as were almost all survivors from Gurs. After the war 15 survivors returned to Freiburg, and 78 displaced persons lived there in 1945. There were 58 Jews living in Freiburg in 1950, 111 in 1960, and 225 in 1968. A new prayer hall was consecrated in 1953. The university acquired the grounds where the synagogue once stood; it is commemorated by a memorial plaque. The Freiburger Rundbrief, a journal dedicated to Christian-Jewish understanding, was published in Freiburg. A new community center with a synagogue and a mikveh was inaugurated in 1987. A door from the old synagogue was integrated into the building, which was sponsored by the City of Freiburg and the Land (federal state) of Baden-Wuerttemberg. The community numbered 214 in 1989. Owing to the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union it increased to 700 in 2005. In 1998 the egalitarian Jewish Chawurah Gescher was founded in Freiburg. It was a member of the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany from 2004. Its membership numbered 30 in 2004.


T. Oelsner, The Economic and Social Conditions of the Jews in Southwestern Germany (1931); Germ Jud, 1 (1963), 108; 2 (1968), 253–7; S.W. Baron, Social and Religious History of the Jews, 11 (1965); A. Lewin, Juden in Freiburg i. B. (1890); A. Marx, Studies in Jewish History and Booklore (1944), 318; G. Kisch, Zasius und Reuchlin (1961), 1–2, 59–60; B. Schwinekoeper and F. Laubenberger, Geschichte und Schicksal der Freiburger Juden (1963); A.G. von Olenhausen, in: Vierteljahreshefte fuer Zeitgeschichte, 14 (1966), 175–206; F. Taddey and G. Hundsknurscher, Die juedischen Gemeinden in Baden (1967); P. Sauer, Dokumente ueber die Verfolgung der juedischen Buerger Baden-Wuerttembergs 1933–1945 (1965). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. Boehme, H. Haumann, Das Schicksal der Freiburger Juden am Beispiel des Kaufmanns Max Mayer und die Ereignisse des 9.–10. November 1938, Stadt und Geschichte, vol. 13 (1983); A. Maimon, M. Breuer, and Y. Guggenheim (eds.), Germania Judaica, vol. 3, 1350–1514 (1987), 395–8; F. Hundsnurscher, "Die juedische Gemiende Freiburg im Breisgau," in: J.B. Paulus (ed.), Juden in Baden 1809–1984 (1984), 243–7.