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Germany Deggendorf

Deggendorf is a city in Bavaria, Germany. In 1338, local burghers and members of the gentry, under the leadership of the ducal judge, set fire to the houses of the Jewish quarter and slaughtered the inhabitants. Duke Henry sanctioned the massacre by presenting the perpetrators with the Jews' property. As a result, the killing spread to 21 other places in Bavaria. The Deggendorf massacre occurred at a time of severe social unrest, which in previous years had led to waves of anti-Jewish rioting by the Judenschlaeger and Armleder gangs in large parts of southern Germany.

The slaughter of the Jews greatly benefited the impoverished townspeople, and a magnificent church was erected in place of the synagogue. Only at a later stage was the allegation of Host desecration made to justify the massacre of the Jews. From the 15th century, relics of the supposed desecration were venerated in the church, and Deggendorf developed into a major place of pilgrimage in Germany.

The last mass pilgrimage took place in 1843; the pictures in the church depicting the affair were covered up in 1967. In 1992, the pilgrimage was at last abolished. The small modern Jewish community (numbering 17 in 1910) was affiliated to that of Straubing.

Of the 500 inmates of the concentration camp established in Deggendorf on February 20, 1945, 400 were Jews. In 1946, 700 Jewish refugees were temporarily accommodated in a transit camp at Deggendorf. There is no postwar community in the city.

Sources: Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 157; Salfed, Martyrol, 241; M. Eder, Die 'Deggendorfer Gnad' (1992).

[Stefan Rohrbacher (2nd ed.)]

Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.