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Bavaria, Germany

BAVARIA, Land in S. Germany, including Franconia. Jews are first mentioned there in the *Passau toll regulations of 906. Their settlement was apparently connected with the trade routes to Hungary, southern Russia and northeastern Germany. A Jewish resident of *Regensburg is mentioned at the end of the tenth century. The communities which had been established in *Bamberg and Regensburg were attacked during the First Crusade in 1096, and those in *Aschaffenburg , *Wuerzburg , and *Nuremberg during the Second Crusade in 1146–47. Other communities existed in the 13th century at Landshut, Passau, *Munich , and *Fuerth . The Jews in Bavaria mainly engaged in trade and moneylending. In 1276 they were expelled from Upper Bavaria and 180 Jews were burned at the stake in Munich following a *blood libel in 1285. The communities in Franconia were attacked during the *Rindfleisch persecutions in 1298. The *Armleder massacres, charges of desecrating the *Host at *Deggendorf , Straubing, and Landshut, and the persecutions following the *Black Death (1348–49), brought catastrophe to the whole of Bavarian Jewry. Many communities were entirely destroyed, among them *Ansbach , Aschaffenburg, *Augsburg , Bamberg, *Ulm , Munich, Nuremberg, Passau, Regensburg, *Rothenburg , and Wuerzburg. Those who had fled were permitted to return after a time under King Wenceslaus.

In 1442 the Jews were again expelled from Upper Bavaria. Shortly afterward, in 1450, the Jews in Lower Bavaria were flung into prison until they paid the duke a ransom of 32,000 crowns and were then driven from the duchy. As a result of agitation by the Franciscan John of *Capistrano , they were expelled from Franconia. In 1478 they were expelled from Passau, in 1499 from Nuremberg, and in 1519 from Regensburg. The few remaining thereafter in the duchy of Bavaria were expelled in 1551. Subsequently, Jewish settlement in Bavaria ceased until toward the end of the 17th century, when a small community was founded in *Sulzbach by refugees from *Vienna . During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14) several Jews from Austria serving as purveyors to the army or as moneylenders settled in Bavaria. In this period a flourishing community grew up in Fuerth, whose economic activities helped to bring prosperity to the city. After the war the Jews of Austrian origin were expelled from Bavaria, but some were able to acquire the right to reside in Munich as monopoly holders, *Court Jews , mintmasters, and physicians. Several Court Jews belonging to the Frankel and *Model families

Map of Bavaria showing Jewish population centers from the tenth century to 1932-33. Map of Bavaria showing Jewish population centers from the tenth century to 1932-33.

became prominent in Ansbach and Fuerth for a while in the 18th century, particularly because of their services in managing the state's economy.

In the Napoleonic era Jewish children were permitted to attend the general schools (1804), the men were accepted into the militia (1805), the poll tax was abolished (1808), and Jews were granted the status of citizens (1813). However, at the same time their number and rights of residence were still restricted, and only the eldest son in a family was allowed to marry (see *Familiants Laws ). In 1819 anti-Jewish disorders broke out in Franconia (the " *Hep! Hep! " riots). Owing to the continued adverse conditions and the restrictions on families a large number of young Bavarian Jews immigrated to the U.S. A second wave of emigrants left for the U.S. after the 1848 Revolution, which had been accompanied by anti-Jewish riots notably in rural Franconia. In 1861 the discriminatory restrictions concerning Jews were abolished, and Jews were permitted to engage in all occupations. However, complete equality was not granted until 1872 by the provisions of the constitution of the German Reich of 1871. Certain special "Jewish taxes" were abolished only in 1880. The chief occupation of Jews in 19th century rural Bavaria was the livestock trade, largely in Jewish hands (see *Agriculture ). By the beginning of the 20th century Jews had considerable holdings in department stores and in a few branches of industry.

A number of Jews were active after World War I in the revolutionary government of Bavaria which was headed by a Jew, Kurt *Eisner , who was prime minister before his assassination in 1919. Another Jew, Gustav *Landauer , who became minister of popular instruction, was also assassinated that year. In the reaction which followed World War I there was a new wave of antisemitism, and in 1923 most of the East European Jews resident in Bavaria were expelled. This was the time when the National Socialist Movement made its appearance in the region, and antisemitic agitation increased. Jewish ritual slaughter was prohibited in Bavaria in 1931.

The size of the Jewish population in Bavaria varied relatively little from the Napoleonic era to 1933, numbering 53,208 in 1818 and 41,939 in 1933. A Bavarian Jewish organization, the Verband bayerischer israelitischer Gemeinden, was set up in 1921 and included 273 communities and 21 rabbinical institutions. In 1933 the largest and most important communities in Bavaria were in Munich (which had a Jewish population of 9,000), Nuremberg (7,500), Wuerzburg (2,150), Augsburg (1,100), Fuerth (2,000), and Regensburg (450). At this time the majority of Bavarian Jews were engaged in trade and transport (54.5%) and in industry (19%), but some also in agriculture (2.7% in 1925 compared with 9.7% in 1882). Over 1,000 Jews studied at the University of Bavaria after World War I, a proportion ten times higher than that of the Jews to the general population.

Regensburg was a center of Jewish scholarship from the 12th century. Regensburg was the cradle of the medieval Ashkenazi *Ḥasidism and in the 12th and 13th centuries the main center of this school. The traveler *Pethahiah b. Jacob set out from there in about 1170. Prominent scholars of Bavaria include *Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg (the leading authority of Ashkenazi Jewry, 13th century); Jacob *Weil (taught at Nuremberg and Augsburg, beginning of the 15th century); Israel *Bruna (settled in Regensburg, mid-15th century); Moses *Mintz (rabbi of Bamberg, 1469–1474); and the Renaissance grammarian Elijah *Levita (a native of Neustadt). In the 19th/20th centuries there lived in Munich the folklorist and philologist Max M. *Gruenbaum; Raphael Nathan Nata *Rabinovicz , author of Dikdukei Soferim; and Joseph *Perles , rabbi of Augsburg, 1875–1910.

The Jews in Bavaria were among the first victims of the Nazi movement, which spread from Munich and Nuremberg. Virulent and widespread antisemitic agitation caused the de-population of scores of the village communities so characteristic of Bavaria, especially after the *Kristallnacht in 1938. The first concentration camp was established at *Dachau in Bavaria and many Jews from Germany and other countries in Europe perished there.

After World War II thousands of Jews were assembled in displaced persons' camps in Bavaria; the last one to be closed down was in Foehrenwald. Almost all of the 1,000 Bavarian Jews who survived the Holocaust were saved because they were married to Germans or were born of mixed marriages. A year after the end of hostilities a Nazi underground movement remained active in Bavaria, and the neo-Nazi anti-Jewish demonstrations of June 1965 started in Bamberg. Antisemitic sentiment was also aroused when the minister of Jewish affairs, Philip Auerbach, was prosecuted for misappropriation of funds in 1951.

In 1969 there were in Bavaria about 4,700 Jews, forming 13 communities, the majority from the camps of Eastern Europe. The largest communities were in Munich (3,486), Nuremberg (275), Wuerzburg (141), Fuerth (200), Augsberg (230), and Regensburg (150). There were smaller numbers of Jews in *Amberg , Bamberg, *Bayreuth , Straubing, and Weiden. In 1989 there were 5,484 community members. Due mainly to the emigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union, the number rose to 18,387 in 2003, the largest communites being those in Munich (8,917), Straubing (1,713), Augsburg (1,619), Nuremberg (1,286), and Wuerzburg (1,027).


S. Taussig, Geschichte der Juden in Bayern (1874); Germ Jud, 1 (1963), 22–24; 2 (1968), 57–60; S. Schwarz, Juden in Bayern im Wandel der Zeiten (1963); R. Strauss, Regensburg and Augsburg (1939); H.B. Ehrmann, Struggle for Civil and Religious Emancipation in Bavaria in the First Half of the 19th Century (1948), 199; H.C. Vedeler, in: Journal of Modern History, 10 (1938), 473–95; P. Wiener-Odenheimer, Die Berufe der Juden in Bayern (1918), 131. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: PK Bavaria; B.Z. Ophir (ed.), Die juedischen Gemeinden in Bayern 19181945 (1979); J.F. Harris, The People Speak (1994); R. Kiessling (ed.), Judengemeinden in Schwaben … (1995); G. Och (ed.), Juedisches Leben in Franken (2002).

[Zvi Avneri]

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