ANSBACH, city in Middle Franconia, Germany; formerly capital of the Margravate of Ansbach. Its Hebrew designation אנולצבך, אנשבאן, אונשפך retains the older form Onolzbach. Records of a Jewish community in Ansbach date from the beginning of the 14th century and many Jews were massacred during the *Black Death in 1349. A Jews' Street is again mentioned in the second half of the 15th century, but the Jews were expelled from Ansbach in 1561, although readmitted in 1609. The communities in the margravate were organized in a *Landesjudenschaft. During the 17th century members of the Model and Fraenkel families played an important role as *court Jews in the economy and administration as well as leading the Jewish communities of the margravate. Two of these court Jews, however, were dismissed and sentenced to life imprisonment. The synagogue of Ansbach was built by the Italian architect Leopold Retty in 1745–46. In 1836 a conference of rabbis, teachers, and communal leaders was held at Ansbach to oppose liturgical reforms in Bavaria. Rabbis of Ansbach included Abraham Merzbacher and Phinehas (Pinchas) *Kohn, both of *Agudat Israel. The Jewish community declined from 385 persons in 1809 to 220 (1.5% of the total population) in 1880 and 197 (0.9%) in 1933. On Nov. 10, 1938, when the Nazis destroyed many German synagogues, the mayor of Ansbach saved the synagogue there by staging a mock fire. By the outbreak of World War II, after emigration and expulsions, only 10 Jews remained in the city. After the war a displaced persons camp was established at Ansbach. The ancient synagogue was completely restored, but Jewish community life was not reestablished.
Sefer Yovel… Y. Baer (1960), 351–73; S. Haenle, Geschichte der Juden im ehemaligen Fuerstentum Ansbach (1867); D.Y. Cohen, in: Koveẓ al Yad, 6 (19662), 457 ff.; Wiener Library, London, German Jewry (1958), 35; Ger Jud, 2 (1968), 17–18; BJCE; R. Wischnitzer, Architecture of the European Synagogue (1964), 157, 169. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Biernoth, "Die Ansbacher juedische Gemeinde im 19. Jahrhundert," Ms. (1995).
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.