BERNE (Ger. Bern),
capital of Switzerland.
Jews in Berne, engaged in moneylending,
are first mentioned in a document of 1262
or 1263. In 1293 or 1294 several Jews were
put to death there in consequence of a
, and the remainder expelled from the city.
However, an agreement was made with the
citizenry through the intervention of Adolf
of Nassau permitting the Jews to return,
against a payment of 1,500 marks and a
moratorium on debts owed to them. During
(1348) the Jews in Berne were accused of
poisoning the wells, and a number were
burnt at the stake. The Jews were expelled
from Berne in 1392 after Christians were
permitted to engage in moneylending (1384).
Although between 1408 and 1427 Jews were
again residing in the city, the only Jews
to appear in Berne subsequently were transients,
chiefly physicians and cattle dealers.
After the occupation of Switzerland by
the French revolutionary armies and the
foundation of the Helvetian Republic in
1798, a number of Jews from Alsace and
elsewhere settled in Berne. They required
a special license to engage in commerce
and were obliged to keep accounts in German
or French instead of their customary Alsatian
Judeo-German. These restrictions were removed
in 1846. An organized Jewish community
was officially established in 1848: a synagogue
was consecrated in 1855, and a cemetery
M. Kayserling, in: MGWJ, 13 (1864), 46–51; Tobler, in: Archiv des historischen Vereins des Kantons Bern, 12 (1889), 336–67; Festschrift zur Jahrhundertfeier der juedischen Gemeinde zu Bern (1948), ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: E. Dreifuss, Juden in Bern. Ein Gang durch die Jahrhunderte (1983).
[Zvi Avneri /
Uri Kaufmann (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.