GIESSEN, city in Hesse, Germany. A persecution of the Jews took place there in 1350. Jews are again mentioned in 1375. In the 17th century the few dozen Jews of Giessen were compelled to listen to missionary sermons by Christian preachers. In 1662 they were expelled from the town. Jews were permitted to return and to settle in Giessen in 1708. Some Hebrew printing took place in Giessen during the 17th and 18th centuries, most of it by non-Jewish printers. The community numbered 200 in 1828, 458 in 1871, and 1,035 (3.3% of the total population) in 1925. In 1933, under the Nazi regime, Richard Laqueur, rector of the university, was dismissed from his office because he was Jewish, as were F.M. *Heichelheim, K. *Koffka, Erich *Stern, and Margarete *Bieber. The synagogues erected in 1867 and 1899 were destroyed during *Kristallnacht in November 1938. By the end of the year 730 of the out of the 1,265 Jews living in Giessen and its environs in 1933 had left. The last Jews were deported in September 1942. There were 27 Jews living in Giessen in 1967 and around 200 at the beginning of the 21st century.
Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 278–9; PK; A. Freimann, A Gazetteer of Hebrew Printing (1946).
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.