LANDAU, city in Rhenish Palatinate, Germany. Jews were first mentioned in Landau in the late 13th century. A Judengasse is noted in 1329. In 1347 there was conflict between the Jews and the townspeople, and during the Black *Death persecutions of 1349 the community was destroyed. However, there were once more Jews in the town in 1354. The main source of livelihood of the 15th-century community was moneylending and the manufacture of playing cards. Among the rabbis of Landau in the 15th century were Solomon Spiro (1430) and Moses b. Isaac ha-Levi Minz, who served until 1469. In the late 15th and early 16th centuries the Jews of Landau were constantly threatened with expulsion, which finally took place in 1545. Many of the exiles, who were dispersed through much of Central and Eastern Europe, adopted Landau as a family name. In the 17th and 18th centuries there were Jews in the *Palatinate and presumably some in Landau. In 1836 Elias Gruenebaum was appointed head of the district rabbinate of Landau comprising, in 1864, 24 communities. R. Berthold Einstein (b. 1862) was elected to the office in 1894. A synagogue was erected in 1884. There were 377 Jews in Landau in 1840 and 303 in 1871. From then there was a steady increase: 400 (5.03% of the total population) in 1880, 610 in 1890, and 874 at the end of the 19th century. However, the community decreased to 732 in 1925 and 596 in 1933. In 1933 the community had a synagogue, religious school, prayer hall, cemetery, four charitable institutions, and several socio-cultural societies.
With the advent of Nazis to power, a program of terrorization of the Jewish community began. On June 19, 1933, a gang of Nazis invaded the Cafe Central, smashed windows, furniture, and crockery and forced those present to face the wall, beating them with rubber batons until they collapsed. The next day, 12 local Jews were arrested and paraded through the streets with obscene posters around their necks. They were then taken to a house on the outskirts of the town and flogged. A Nazi boycott of Jewish firms was instituted as well as a boycott of non-Jewish firms in which Jewish funds were invested. Under the chairmanship of R. Kurt Metzger, who succeeded R. Einstein in 1935, representatives of 35 communities of the Palatinate convened in Landau in October 1938. The community dwindled through increasing emigration, declining to 385 in 1937 and 94 in 1939. On Oct. 22, 1940, 89 Jews were deported to *Gurs in southern France. In 1946, 20 Jewish concentration camp survivors established a community in Landau.
Through the years most Jews moved from Landau to Neustadt. There are no Jews living in Landau today. Since 1968 a memorial recalls the synagogue destroyed in 1938. In 1987 the "Frank-Loebsches Haus" (Frank Loeb House) was opened. It houses an exhibition on the history of the Jews in Landau and two institutes of the Koblenz-Landau University. The building, parts of which originate from the 15th century, was bought by Zacharias Frank – Anne Frank's great-grandfather – in 1870 and later owned by his granddaughter Olga Loeb, née Frank. It was restored by the city of Landau.
Germ Jud, 2 (19682), 464–6; Fuehrer durch diejuedische Gemeindeverwaltung und Wohlfahrtspflege in Deutschland (1932/33), 316–7; E. Gruenebaum, Israelitische Gemeinde, Synagoge und Schule in der baierischen Pfalz. (1861); idem, Rede, gehalten bei dem Antritte seines Amtes als Rabbiner des Gerichtsbezirks Landau in der Synagoge zu Landau (1838); PK Germanyah; EJ, vol. 10, pp. 579–80; H. Hess, in: Landauer Monatshefte, 16:8–11 (1968). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: C. Kohl-Langer et al., Juden in Landau. Beitraege zur Geschichte einer Minderheit, Schriftenreihe zur Geschichte der Stadt Landau in der Pfalz, vol. 7 (2004); H. Arnold, Juedisches Leben in der Stadt Landau und in der Suedpfalz 1780–1933 (2000); K. Fuechs and M. Jaeger, Synagogen der Pfaelzer Juden. Vom Untergang ihrer Gotteshaeuser und Gemeinden. Eine Dokumentation (1988), 128–37; A. Maimon, M. Breuer, and Y. Guggenheim (eds.), Germania Judaica, vol. 3, 1350–1514 (1987), 703–11; H. Hess, Die Landauer Judengemeinde. Ein Abriss ihrer Geschichte, Kleine Landauer Reihe, vol. 5 (1983); WEBSITE: www.alemannia-judaica.de.
[Chasia Turtel /
Larissa Daemmig (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.