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Aschaffenburg, Germany

ASCHAFFENBURG, city in Bavaria, Germany. Jews are first mentioned as living in Aschaffenburg in 1147. Abraham, a scholar and colleague of *Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg, lived there in the 13th century. A synagogue is mentioned in 1344. Outbreaks of anti-Jewish violence occurred in 1337 and in 1348–49 the Jews were expelled. They were readmitted in 1359, and granted protection by the archbishop of Mainz in 1384. During the 16th century three or four Jewish families were living in Aschaffenburg, which was the home of Simeon b. Isaac ha-Levi, author of Devek Tov (1588) and Masoret ha-Mikra (1572). The number of Jewish households increased to 15 by the end of the century, and to 20 by 1705. A new synagogue was built in 1698 and rebuilt in 1893. The Aschaffenburg community was under the jurisdiction of the *Mainz rabbinate during the early and mid-18th century. Isaac Saeckel Ethausen, author of Or Ne'elam (1765), officiated as rabbi in the early part of the period. A number of restrictions on Jewish trade in Aschaffenburg were abolished in 1732. The Aschaffenburg kehillah was the leading community in the area and regional assemblies of the communities were held there in 1753, 1770, and 1784 to deal with the establishment of Jewish schools. The Aschaffenburg cemetery (near Schweinheim) also served communities in the vicinity, which joined the *ḥevra kaddisha (burial society) of Aschaffenburg in 1719. In 1807 permission was first granted to a Jew to become a tailor. Rabbis serving in Aschaffenburg in the 19th century include Hillel Wolf Sondheimer, who was assisted by Israel Wertheimer, Gabriel Loew Neuburger, Abraham Adler, and Simon Bamberger, and in the 20th century, Raphael Breuer. The Jewish population of Aschaffenburg totaled 35 families in 1803 and 46 in 1807; 172 persons in 1814–16, 286 in 1871, 604 in 1900, 670 in 1910, 643 in 1925, 700 in 1928 (2% of the total population), and 591 in 1933. The synagogue was destroyed in 1938. Around half the Jews emigrated between 1933 and 1941 and another 121 left for other German cities. The remaining 170 Jews of Aschaffenburg were deported to Izbica and Theresienstadt in 1942. Few Jews returned after the war. A park commemorating Aschaffenburg's former Jewish community was created on the site of the synagogue and a museum documenting local Jewish history was inaugurated in the former rabbinate building in 1984.


Germ Jud, 1 (1963), 13–14; 2 (1968), 25–26 (includes bibliography); Deutsches Staedtebuch, 5 (1968), index. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: P. Körner, Biographisches Handbuch der Juden in Stadt und Altkreis Aschaffenburg (1993).

[Ze'ev Wilhem Falk /

Stefan Rohrbacher (2nd ed.)]

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