TRIER (Treves), city in Germany and formerly also a bishopric. Archaeological evidence seems to point to the presence of Jews in Trier as early as the end of the third century C.E., although the existence of a Jewish community there at the time is uncertain. Traces of Jewish commercial activity in the sixth century suggest the possibility of Jewish settlement. The first definitive evidence for the presence of a Jewish community dates from 1066, when the Jews were saved from an attempted expulsion on the part of Archbishop Eberhard through his sudden death at the altar. The Jewish community was accused of the use of black magic in order to bring about his death. On April 10, 1096, the first day of Passover, Peter the Hermit appeared before the gates of Trier armed with a letter from the Jewish communities of France to their coreligionists in Germany, requesting that they provide provisions for Peter and his crusaders for their expedition to the Holy Land. The Jewish community responded to the letter, and Peter and his followers went on their way. Sometime later the burghers of the city rose against the Jews; they discovered the community's Torah scrolls, which had been placed in a building for safekeeping, and desecrated them. In panic the Jews fled to the palace of Archbishop Egelbert; somehow they rescued their desecrated scrolls and took them along. The archbishop did his best to protect them, and the Jews hoped to remain under his protection until the imminent return of Emperor *Henry IV to Germany. A number of Jews were murdered and others committed suicide; the archbishop and his retinue were themselves attacked for shielding the Jews. Under increasing pressure from a mob outside the palace, the archbishop prevailed upon the remaining Jews to convert, including their leader, Rabbi Micah, who was converted by the archbishop himself. One year later, however, with the return of Emperor Henry IV to Germany, all of them were permitted to return to Judaism.
Other Jewish communities in the bishopric were also severely affected by the First Crusade; soon, however, the Jews of Trier returned to their homes and rebuilt their community life. The Gesta Trevarorum tells of a Jew named Joshua who served as a physician in the retinue of Archbishop Bruno of Trier (d. 1124). Joshua, who later converted to Christianity, was also a mathematician and astronomer. During the Second Crusade (1146), R. Simon of Trier fell as a martyr in the vicinity of Cologne; the community as a whole, however, remained undisturbed. During the course of the 12th-century, its economic position was strengthened considerably. The communal organization, known as universitas Judeorum Treverensium, had as its leader a so-called "Jewish bishop" (*Episcopus Judaeorum) with considerable authority. The community possessed a cemetery, and in 1235 a synagogue and community building (domus communitatis). A Judenstrasse is mentioned at the beginning of the 13th century. The Jews occupied themselves mostly in trading and moneylending, although other occupations were known. They reached, in fact, such a level of economic well-being as to arouse the cupidity of Archbishop Henry (1260–86), who extorted a considerable amount of money from the Jews in 1285. There was some measure of cultural contact between Jews and gentiles. Lambert of Luettich, a monk at the monastery of St. Matthew in Trier, was taught Hebrew by a Jew and with the aid of his teacher succeeded in deciphering a rare Hebrew manuscript. Sources dating from the 14th century indicate that Jews continued to own houses and vineyards outside the Jewish quarter and that Christians were living on the Judenstrasse. The community profited from the liberal and energetic administration of Archbishop Baldwin (1307–54), who entrusted a considerable portion of his financial administration to Jewish hands. Although Jews suffered during the *Armleder uprising of 1336, its effects were limited by the prompt action of the archbishop. In 1338 he was forced to guarantee to the burghers that the number of Jewish families in the city would not rise above 56. During the *Black Death persecutions of 1349, the burghers attacked the Jews, murdering some, stealing their property, and desecrating their cemetery. The community fled in panic, although Baldwin and his successor Boehmund sought to compensate them for the expropriation of their property. It was only in 1356 that King *Charles IV gave permission for the Jews to return, although in 1354 Bishop Boehmund made Simeon b. Jacob of Trier his court physician.
By 1418, however, the Jews were expelled once more from the entire bishopric of Trier; among the properties of the Jewish community in the city that were disposed of in 1422 was a hospital. Jews did not reappear again in the bishopric until the beginning of the 16th century; in 1555 they were permitted the services of a rabbi to care for the needs of all who were
In 1675 Jews were accused of giving aid to French troops quartered in the city; after the French surrendered, Jewish homes were plundered and the Jewish community sustained overwhelming losses. A fast day was declared in perpetuity for the 15th of Elul to mark the event; a *Memorbuch also dates from the period. At the head of the community at the time was David Tevele b. Isaac Wallich (d. 1691), a physician. In 1723 Elector Franz Ludwig limited the number of Jews in the bishopric to 160; in addition to some highly restrictive provisions, legislation of that year reaffirmed the authority of the rabbinate in the bishopric. A synagogue was constructed in 1762, formerly a house occupied by R. Mordecai Marx, grandfather of Karl *Marx. The French conquered the city in 1794, bringing with them civic equality for the Jews, a measure acknowledged fully by the Prussian administration only in 1850. Among the rabbis who served the community in the 19th century were Moses b. Eliezer Treves (d. 1840) and Joseph Kahn, who was rabbi at the time of the dedication of a new synagogue in September 1859. The modern community also developed a number of philanthropic organizations and an elementary school. There were 568 Jews in the city in 1871; 823 in 1893; 802 in 1925; 796 in 1933; 400 in 1938; 210 in 1939; and 450 in 1941.
The onset of Nazism brought with it accelerated emigration, aided by the efforts of Adolf Altmann, rabbi in Trier, who helped to develop a program of adult Jewish education that involved many other communities in the area as well. On Kristallnacht, Nov. 9–10, 1938, the synagogue was destroyed. Almost all the Jews remaining in the city in 1941 were deported to Poland and *Theresienstadt, never to return.
[Alexander Shapiro /
B. Mordechai Ansbacher]
Post Word-War II
A new community of displaced persons was established after the war, and a new synagogue was erected in 1957. In 1971 there were 75 Jews living in Trier. The Jewish community numbered 61 in 1984; 54 in 1989; and 457 in 2004. The increase is explained by the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union after 1990. The house where Karl Marx was born has housed a museum of his life and work since 1947. In 1996–97 the Arye Maimon Institute for Jewish History was founded at Trier University. The institute's work is focused on the research of Jewish history in central and Western Europe.
[Alexander Shapiro and
B. Mordechai Ansbacher /
Larissa Daemmig (2nd ed.)]
Aronius, Regesten, 160, 22, 439, 773; Germania Judaica, 1 (1963), 376–83; 2 (1968), 826–33; 3 (1987), 1470–81; Salfeld, Martyrol, index; F. Haubrich, Die Juden in Trier (1907); A. Altmann, Das frueheste Vorkommen der Juden in Deutschland – Juden im roemischen Trier (1932); A.M. Habermann, Gezerot Ashkenaz ve-Ẓarefat (1946); K. Duewell, Die Rheingebiete in der Judenpolitik des Nazionalsozialismus vor 1942 (1968), index; Die Feier der Einweihung der neuen Synagoge zu Trier (1859); K. Baas, in: MGWJ, 55 (1911), 745–6; 57 (1913), 458; S. Schifress, in: ZGJD, 3 (1931), 243–7; ibid., 7 (1937), 156–79. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. Laufner and A. Rauch, Die Familie Marx und die Trierer Judenschaft (Schriften aus dem Karl-Marx-Haus in Trier, vol. 14) (1975); J. Jacobs, Existenz und Untergang der alten Judengemeinde der Stadt Trier (1984); R. Nolden (ed.), Juden in Trier (Ausstellungskataloge Trierer Bibliotheken, vol. 15) (1988); idem (ed.), Vorlaeufiges Gedenkbuch fuer die Juden von Trier 1938 – 1943 (1994); A. Haller, Der juedische Friedhof an der Weidegasse in Trier und die mittelalterlichen juedischen Grabsteine im Rheinischen Landesmuseum Trier (2003).
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.