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Virtual Jewish World:
Baden, Germany


Virtual Jewish World: Table of Contents | Europe | Germany


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BADEN, part of the Land of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. The former grand duchy was created in 1806 from parts of various territories (including the Palatinate), where until then the Jews had formed no united community or shared a common history. The earliest records of the presence of Jews in these territories relate to Gruensfeld (1218), Ueberlingen (1226), Freiburg (c. 1230), Lauda and Tauberbischofsheim (1235), Constance (1241), and Sinsheim (early 13th century). The Jews had been expelled from several of these areas at various times: the Palatinate in 1391, the margravate of Baden in 1470, Austrian Breisgau in 1573, and the diocese of Basle in 1581. Until 1806 the history of the Jews in the margravate of Baden, which subsequently formed the nucleus of the state of Baden, may be summarized briefly. After the Black Death , 1348–49, few Jews lived there but even these were expelled in 1470, as a result of the blood libel of Endingen (South Baden). Jews were allowed to return to Baden at the beginning of the 16th century. In 1535 the margravate of Baden was divided into Baden-Baden and Baden-Durlach, to be united again in 1771. The Jews were expelled from Baden-Baden in 1614, but readmitted during the Thirty Years' War (1618–48). According to the first legislation concerning the status of the Jews in Baden-Baden in 1714, the territorial organization of the Jewry was headed by two lay officers (Schultheisse) and a rabbi. In Baden-Durlach Jews were first tolerated officially in 1537, but were expelled during the Thirty Years' War and readmitted in 1666. The Jewish population numbered 24 families in 1709, increasing to 160 families by 1738.

After the grand duchy of Baden was created, the position of its Schutzjuden ("protected Jews") improved. In the first constitutional edict of May 14, 1807, Judaism was recognized as a tolerated religion; a year later, the sixth edict afforded the Jews irrevocable civil rights and abolished the marriage restrictions imposed on them (see Familiants' Laws ). Local civil rights, however, remained severely restricted. The ninth edict (the socalled "Judenedikt" of Jan. 13, 1809) granted the Jews an officially recognized state organization, required them to adopt permanent family names, and determined their as yet very curtailed civil status. The constitution of 1818 implicitly confirmed the civil rights granted to the Jews by the edicts but denied them equal political rights. The struggle for emancipation focused on local civil rights and met with fierce and sometimes violent resistance in many villages and towns. Baden's liberal movement failed to endorse the idea of Jewish emancipation, most of its leading figures echoing public sentiment on the matter instead. Anti-Jewish outrages, often connected with the issue of emancipation, occurred in Baden in 1819 ( Hep-Hep ), 1830, 1848, and 1862. Severe and widespread anti-Jewish rioting accompanied the revolution of 1848, especially in Northern Baden, and as a consequence the Diet pulled back from granting full emancipation to the Jews once more. In 1862 local civil rights were eventually granted, and the last of Baden's cities to exclude Jews (Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Constance, and Offenburg), allowed them to settle there. Nevertheless, animosity toward the Jews continued to be expressed in Baden, where Adolph Stoecker 's antisemitic Christian Social Party found numbers of adherents. After the Baden Army Corps was incorporated into the Prussian army, no Jew was promoted to the position of reserve officer or medical officer. Professorships too were granted almost exclusively to baptized Jews.

In 1868 Grand Duke Frederick I appointed the Durlach lawyer, Moritz Ellstaetter , his minister of finance, making him the first German Jew to hold a ministerial position. Theodor Herzl tried to interest the German emperor in Zionism through the intervention of the grand duke. The Jews of Baden also participated in its political life. In 1862 the lawyer R. Kusel was elected to represent Karlsruhe in the second chamber, and Ludwig Frank of Mannheim was elected to the Landtag and later to the Reichstag as Social Democratic member. He was among the 589 Baden Jews who fell in World War I. Two Jews were in the first postwar cabinet of Baden, L. Marum (minister of justice, murdered by the Nazis in 1933) and Ludwig Haas (minister of the interior), who was also active in Jewish affairs.

In the Middle Ages Baden Jewry engaged in commerce and moneylending, later in livestock-dealing (which was the main source of income for the Jews in the countryside) and retail trading. In the 19th century occupational difficulties, the lack of progress in the struggle for emancipation, and anti-Jewish riots resulted in Jewish immigration to America. Baden Jewry was one of the earliest German Jewish Territorial Organizations to establish a state-recognized central organization (1809) – the Oberrat ("supreme council") – which in conjunction with the Synod (established in 1895) represented and directed the affairs of the community. Until its reorganization on May 14, 1923, the Oberrat was under state control. Religious controversy between the Orthodox and Reform factions began in the early 19th century, the Reform later tending to predominate with the decline of the rural communities. When the Karlsruhe community included an organ in its new synagogue (1868) and introduced reforms into the services, the Orthodox Jews, led by B.H. Wormser, established a separatist congregation there, the only one in Baden, which was given state recognition.

In 1806 Baden had a Jewish population of about 12,000, which had risen to 24,099 by 1862. As the result of emigration after the rise of Nazism, it decreased from 20,617 in 1933 to 8,725 by 1939. The Jews of Baden were among the first to be deported from Germany. On Oct. 22, 1940, some 5,600 Baden Jews, along with others from the Palatinate and the Saar, were transported to Gurs concentration camp (southern France), from where they were further deported to Poland from 1942 onward. Approximately 500 Jews from Baden survived in France. The Oberrat was reestablished after the war. In 1962 the cemetery in Gurs was leased to the Baden Oberrat for 99 years. In 1969 there were 1,096 Jews in six communities (66 Jews in Baden-Baden, 248 in Freiburg, 135 in Heidelberg , 260 in Karlsruhe, 387 in Mannheim and Constance), with N.P. Levinson as chief rabbi. After 1989 new communities were founded in Emmendingen, Loerrach, Pforzheim , and Rottweil-Villingen. As a result of the emigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union, the number of community members rose to 4,485 in 2003.


Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.

B. Rosenthal, Heimatgeschichte der badischen Juden (1927), includes bibl.; Gedenkbuch zum 125-jaehrigen Bestehen des Oberrats der Israeliten Badens (1934); A. Lewin, Geschichte der badischen Juden 17381909 (1909); R. Ruerup, in: Zeitschrift fuer die Geschichte des Oberrheins, 114 (1966), 241–300; N. Stein, in: YLBI, 1 (1956), 177–90; P. Sauer, Dokumente ueber die Verfolgung der juedischen Buerger in Baden-Wuerttemberg…, 2 pts. (1966); H. Schnee, Die Hoffinanz und der moderne Staat, 2 (1963), 43–86; idem, Die Schicksale der juedischen Buerger Baden-Wuerttembergs 193345 (1969); F. Hundsnurscher and G. Taddey, Die juedischen Gemeinden in Baden (1968); Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 45–47; Die Opfer der National-sozialistischen Judenverfolgung in Baden-Wuerttemberg (1969). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: M.A. Riff, in: YLBI, 21 (1976), 27–40; J.B. Paulus, Juden in Baden 1809–1984 (1984); H.W. Smith, in: Zeitschrift fuer die Geschichte des Oberrheins, 141 (1993), 304–36; S. Rohrbacher, Gewalt im Biedermeier (1993), 186–201; U. Baumann, in: Protestants, Catholics and Jews in Germany (2001), 297–315; G.J. Teschner, Die Deportation der badischen und saarpfaelzischen Juden … (2002).

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